So, since I’ve started posting regular pictures of my lunches a funny thing has happened….at least 3 people came up to me last week and said ‘dude, you inspired me. Check out my lunch - it’s just like yours’ This is both a humbling thing, (yay! people are packing their lunches) and slightly terrifying thing (oh my god people actually read what I write here). Now people have been telling me that my lunches look fantastic for years - between workmates at jobs, study mates at uni and lazy housemates who want to steal my lunches, people have been asking me how I put these things together.
And yanno what…it’s really not hard. Honestly, those lunches that I pop together take about 90 seconds of planning (while at the fruit n’ veg market), 10 minutes of prepping/chopping, 1 episode of Offspring/3 chapters of my book/40 mins of knitting while everything cooks and then 10 mins to pack everything up and do the washing up. That’s not very long, amiright?
So the process goes a little something like this….
STEP ONE: Pick a grain
STEP TWO: Pick a protein.
STEP THREE: Pick a roast veggie
STEP FOUR: Pick a salad mix
STEP FIVE: Pick a dressing.
STEP SIX: Mix it up and shove it in your face.
Well….not quite…there’s a bit more to it than that. But not that much.
Mix & Match Ideas
GRAINS: brown rice, barley, quinoa, wholemeal pasta,couscous.
PROTEINS: boiled eggs, tinned tuna/salmon, feta, left-over roast meat, tins of chick-peas or butter beans, lentils.
ROAST VEG: pumpkin, sweet potato, capsicum, eggplant, zucchini, onions, carrots, mushrooms, broccoli, green beans, brussel sprouts – basically, anything that is a vegetable.
SALAD MIX: roquette, baby spinach, mixed lettuce, witlof, cabbage, micro herbs, chard, radicchio.
DRESSINGS: EVOO, any other delicious oil, tahini, miso paste, minced herbs, lemon juice, ACV, S+P vinegars.
Tip #1 - make sure you pick a mix that you ACTUALLY will like and eat.
Tip #2 - Plan ahead by knowing roughly what you’ve got planned for the week. I generally make enough for 2-3 days at a time so that everything is fairly fresh. In the past I have made 5-7 days of lunches in one big hit. Honestly though, I prefer them to be fresher. And also, if an impromptu lunch date pops up you can just leave your home-made lunch in the fridge and carry on without worrying too much about waste.
Tip #3 - keep everything that you’ve cooked in separate tupperware in the fridge and then pop into your lunch box the night before.
Tip #4 - The order you put things in your lunchbox matters. Grains are often fine on the bottom as they soak up excess juices/flavours well. Harder veggies work well in the middle but leaves should only sit on the top of the container (unless you like soggy salad leaves) and definitely keep dressings in a seperate container (a tiny jar or round tupperware work well).
Tip #5 - Add a pickle if you fancy. A bit of sauerkraut or kimchi or any fermented goodie will help to up the value of your lunch by adding some probiotic goodness and extra deliciousness.
Tip #6 - Get a bit spicy! If you fancy add some different flavour bombs to your roasted veg. I often add dried herbs (oregano, rosemary, thyme) or lemon and garlic or a mixture of spices (turmeric, cumin and smokey paprika are good) over the whole lot to add extra flavour.
Tip #7 - MIX IT UP. Just because you hit a bonza mix one week doesn’t mean you should do it every week. Believe me, you’ll get bored. Just play around with flavours and see what happens. Some weeks you’ll get an amazing week, and others may be less so but you’ll soon find what works for you.
Tip #8 - Make is seasonal. Make sure you follow the seasons and use produce that is right for the time of year. I also try to match my cooking techniques to the seasons. This means including less raw foods during the colder months, while in the summer months eating more uncooked foods.
Tip #9 - Enjoy!
Here are a couple of examples to get you started.....
Roasted sweet potato + zucchini with quinoa, feta and radicchio.
Roasted pumpkin + brussel sprouts with turmeric, cumin + cinnamon plus quinoa, spinach and radicchio.
Brown rice, roasted carrots, mixed green leaves, cucumber, radish and boiled eggs.
Cous cous, grated carrot + radish, fresh capsicum and cucumber, mint + parsley, roquette.
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PLEASE NOTE: In saying all of this, its super important to listen to your body. What does it want? What is it telling you? Is it saying that you need something in particular? It’s really important to gather information to make the choices that are right for you and your body. This information isn’t personal medical advice – rather it’s a guideline on ways that could help you to live a healthier, happier lifestyle. It is always wise to consult with a qualified health practitioner before starting any new herbs, supplements or dietary and lifestyle programs.