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Top Ten Healthy Desk Lunches for Adults

Top Ten Healthy Desk Lunches for Adults

 

Most of us today are aware of the need to eat healthy food throughout the day. But how many of us are able to follow through on it? At work, we give in to fried snacks like samosas and kachoris, scavenge for vending machine junk, or attend a corporate conference serving catered food. None of this is ideal if you have resolved to follow a nutritious diet. After all, you cannot survive on caffeine alone. What is the solution? If you have healthy food at hand, you are less likely to grab the first option which comes to hand. The first thing you can do is to start carrying lunch from home to eat at your desk.

 

Here are some great desk lunch recipes to get you started:

Sweet Potato and Spinach Salad

Ingredients

Sweet potatoes: 2

Fish: 2 fillets of your favorite fish

Cherry tomatoes: 10

Pumpkin seeds: ¼ cup

Spinach leaves: 1 and ¾ cup

Olive oil: 3 tablespoons plus extra for drizzling

Whole grain mustard: 2 tablespoons

Lemon juice

Sea salt

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into chunks, irregular-sized pieces. Place in a pan with a pinch of salt, cover with water and bring to a boil. Simmer for 3 minutes.
  2. Drain and place on a baking sheet with a splash of oil and another pinch of salt. Bake for about 20 minutes until golden. Shake the tray every few minutes so the sweet potatoes don’t stick.
  • While the sweet potatoes are in the oven, place the fish on another baking sheet lined with foil, drizzle over a little oil and season with a pinch of sea salt and a squeeze of lemon. Bake for 12 minutes.
  1. Meanwhile, put the eggs in a pan and cover with cold water by 1 inch. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then cover, remove from heat and set aside 8–10 minutes to a hard boil. Drain and place in a bowl of cold water to cool quickly, then peel and cut in half.
  2. Cut the cherry tomatoes half. Whisk the mustard with the 3 tablespoons oil, a squeeze of lemon juice and salt to taste.

To pack: Allow the sweet potatoes and fish to cool. Arrange the sweet potatoes, fish (whole or flaked), eggs and tomato halves in the lunchboxes and top with the pumpkin seeds and spinach. Pack the mustard dressing separately. This recipe is protein rich.

 

Carrot, Kale and Chickpea Salad with Honey Dressing and Feta Cheese

Ingredients

Chickpeas: 1 cup

Carrots: 4

Kale: 2 cups

Cumin/fennel seeds: 2 teaspoons

Fresh parsley: 1 tablespoon freshly chopped

Feta cheese: As you wish

Honey: 1 and ½ tablespoons

Coconut or olive oil: 1 tablespoon

Cider vinegar: 2 teaspoons

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Drain and rinse the chickpeas, then spread out on a baking sheet. Mix with a little oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 10–15 minutes until crisp, shaking the baking sheet every 5 minutes or so. Cool.
  2. While the chickpeas are roasting, peel the carrots and cut into matchsticks. Set aside.
  • Toast the cumin/fennel seeds in a dry, medium-sized frying pan for about 3 minutes over medium heat until fragrant. Smash into a powder with a mortar and pestle or the back of a rolling pin. Tip the spice powder back into the pan and add the carrots, kale and a little oil. Fry for 10–15 minutes until the carrots and kale are softening but still crunchy. Keep stirring as they fry.
  1. Whisk together the dressing ingredients with a fork.

 

To pack: Toss the chickpeas and carrot mix with the dressing and parsley and season with salt and pepper then pack into the lunchboxes. Crumble the feta on top.

 

Ribolata Salad

Ingredients

Kale: 2 and ½ cups, chopped

Carrots: 2

Zucchini: 1

Leek: 1

Cannellini beans: 1 can’s worth

Cherry tomatoes: 2 handfuls

Red pepper: 1 teaspoon, crushed

Mixed fresh herbs: 4 tablespoons, chopped

Olive oil: As required

Method

  1. Boil a large pot of water. Place the kale in a bowl, cover with boiled water and leave for 5 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water.
  2. While the kale is blanching, peel the carrots and slice into very thin rounds. Slice the zucchini into very thin rounds. Slice the leek into ¼-inch-thick rounds.
  • Put the leek in a frying pan with olive oil, a pinch of salt and the crushed red pepper flakes and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes until soft. Tip into a bowl and add the carrots and zucchini. Season.
  1. Add the kale, drained and rinsed beans, herbs and sliced cherry tomatoes. Toss together gently.

To pack: Spoon into lunchboxes.

 

Babaganoush on Rye

Ingredients

Eggplants: 2

Red peppers: 3

Rye bread: 4 slices

Arugula: 2 and ½ cups

Coconut/olive oil for drizzling

Garlic: 1

Cloves: 1

Lemon: 1

Tahini: 2 tablespoons

Parsley: 2 tablespoons, chopped

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  2. Peel the eggplants. Roughly chop into large chunks. Place in a pan, cover with water and bring to a boil, then simmer over medium heat for 3–4 minutes. Drain and place on a baking sheet. Toss with a drizzle of oil and sprinkle of salt, then roast for 5–10 minutes until golden.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the red peppers. Remove the core and seeds, then slice into ½-inch wedges. Place on a separate baking sheet, drizzle over some oil and season with salt. Roast for 10 minutes.
  1. Toast the rye bread. Very finely chop the garlic; zest and juice the lemon.
  2. Once the eggplant is ready, blitz it in a food processor until just smooth but still with some texture. Stir in the garlic, lemon zest, and juice, tahini, and parsley. Season.

To pack: Spoon the Babaganoush into a small container. Pack it, the oven-roasted red peppers and arugula separate from the rye bread in the lunchboxes to prevent it from going soggy. To eat, top the rye with the Babaganoush and serve the red pepper and arugula alongside.

 

Ratatouille Salad

Ingredients

Eggplants: 2

Zucchini: 3

Cherry tomatoes: 2 handfuls

Onion: 1

Mixed greens: 2 and1/2 cups

Red peppers: 2, roasted

Mixed herbs: 4 tablespoons, chopped

Balsamic vinegar: 2 tablespoons

Olive oil: As required

Method

  1. Heat a griddle pan over very high heat. Meanwhile, slice the eggplants lengthways into thin strips, and cut the zucchini into thin rounds. Sear the zucchini and eggplants, in batches, for about a minute until charred on each side. As they are charred, remove them to a bowl. Add a drizzle of olive oil and pinch of salt.
  2. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half. Drain the red peppers and slice into strips. Place these in a separate bowl and season with a pinch of salt.
  • Peel and finely slice the onion. Add to the tomatoes and red pepper strips along with the chopped herbs.

To pack: Put the charred zucchini and eggplant in one-third of each lunchbox, the greens in another third and the cherry tomato mix in the final third. Pack the balsamic vinegar separately, to be poured over the tomatoes, pepper, and red onion before eating.

 

Stuffed Peppers with Tomatoes, Couscous, Kale and Walnut Pesto

Ingredients

Red Bell peppers: 3

Couscous: ½ cup

Kale: 2 and ½ cups, chopped

Cherry tomatoes: 2 handfuls

Walnuts: ½ cup

Kale and walnut pesto: 2 portions

Olive oil: As required

Lemon juice: Optional

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Cut the peppers in half vertically and scoop out the seeds and white ribs. Place the halves skin side down on a baking sheet and drizzle over a little oil. Season. Bake for 25 minutes until soft.
  2. While the peppers are in the oven, put the couscous in a bowl and cover with boiling water (the water level should be about a ¼ inch above the couscous). Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for at least 5 minutes until soft.
  • Meanwhile, place the chopped kale in a bowl, cover with boiling water and leave for 5 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water.
  1. Halve the cherry tomatoes. Lightly crush the walnuts, then toast in a dry pan until golden.
  2. Fluff up the couscous with a fork. Mix together the couscous, kale, tomatoes, walnuts and most of the pesto. Season and add lemon juice and/or olive oil to taste. Spoon into the pepper halves.

To pack: Cool the peppers before placing 3 halves in each lunchbox, in one layer. Top each with a little extra pesto.

 

Spiced Cauliflower with Pistachios and Mint

Ingredients

Cauliflower: 1 (small)

Chicken breast: 2, skinless and boneless

Pistachios: 1/3 cup, crushed and unsalted

Fresh ginger: 1 small piece

Turmeric and cumin: 2 teaspoons, ground

Honey: 1 and ½ tablespoons

Coconut oil: As needed

Lemon juice: As needed

Mint leaves: Fresh

Method

  1. Boil a small amount of water (about 1 inch) in a saucepan. Remove the thick core and outer leaves from the cauliflower. Chop the cauliflower into small florets and the stalks into similar-sized chunks. Place in the pan and add a pinch of salt. Boil for 3 minutes. Drain well.
  2. Slice the chicken into thin strips. Peel the ginger and grate into a frying pan. Add a little coconut oil and the turmeric along with the cauliflower and fry over medium heat for 3–5 minutes until starting to crisp up. Add the chicken and cook, stirring regularly, for another 5–7 minutes until cooked through.

To pack: Divide between the lunchboxes.

 

Coconut, Chicken and Tamarind Salad

Ingredients

Chicken breasts: 2, skinless and boneless

Green beans: 2 cups, cut

Peas: 1 cup

Coconut: ¼ cup, shredded

Basil leaves: 20, fresh

Tamarind dressing: 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, 2 tablespoons tamarind paste and juice of 1 lime

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the chicken on a baking sheet, drizzle with a little oil and season. Bake for 18–20 minutes until cooked through. Allow to cool, and then slice into strips.
  2. While the chicken is in the oven, trim the green beans and bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the beans with a pinch of salt. Cook for 5 minutes until al dente. Drain and rinse under cold water.
  • Put the peas in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave for 2 minutes, then drain and rinse under cold water. Mix the peas with the green beans and torn basil.
  1. Toast the coconut in a dry pan over medium heat until golden brown.
  2. Whisk the dressing ingredients together with 1 tablespoon water and seasoning to taste.

To pack: Spoon the salad into the lunchboxes, top with the chicken slices and sprinkle the toasted coconut on top. Pack the dressing separately.

 

Mushroom and Pea Pasta with Broccoli Sauce

Ingredients

Shell pasta: 2 cups

Broccoli: 1, medium

Mushrooms: 2 cups, mixed

Peas: ½ cup, frozen

Garlic cloves: 2

Crème Fraîche: 1/3 cup

Parsley: 1 tablespoon, finely chopped

Lemon: 1

Vegetable oil: As needed

Method

  1. Boil a large pot of water. Add the pasta with a pinch of salt and cook 12–14 minutes or according to package directions until al dente. Drain, reserving a ½ cup of the pasta water.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, boil another pot of water. Cut off the broccoli florets and cut the stalk into similar-sized pieces. Put the stalk pieces in the pot with a pinch of salt. Cook for 1 minute, then add the florets and cook for another 2–3 minutes until al dente. Drain and rinse under cold water.
  • Peel and finely chop the garlic. Quarter the mushrooms. Put the garlic in a pan with a splash of oil and fry over low heat for 2 minutes. Add half the broccoli, the mushrooms, and peas. Cook over high heat for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat.
  1. Combine the crème fraîche, reserved pasta water, parsley and remaining broccoli in a food processor. Blitz until smooth to make a thick sauce. Stir the sauce into the pasta along with the peas and mushrooms. Zest the lemon into the pasta and season to taste with the juice, salt, and pepper.

To pack: Spoon into your lunchboxes.

 

Sambol Rye

Ingredients

Red onion: 1

Coconut: 4 tablespoons, dried and shredded

Tomatoes: 2

Rye bread: 2 slices

Spinach leaves: 3 cups

Giner: 2 teaspoons, ground

Chilli powder: 2 teaspoons

Lemon: 2 wedges

Coconut/olive oil: As needed

Method

  1. Peel and finely dice the red onion. Place in a pan with a splash of oil and cook over medium heat for 3–4 minutes. Stir in the ground ginger and chili powder and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  2. In another pan toast the shredded coconut over medium heat until golden. Add half of the coconut to the onions.
  • Roughly dice the tomatoes and add to the onions. Return to the heat and cook for 3–4 minutes until the tomatoes start to break down. Season and cool.
  1. Slice the cherry tomatoes in half.

To pack: Place the rye bread on the bottom of the lunchboxes. Top with a layer of half the arugula/spinach, followed by the onion and tomato mixture (this arrangement prevents the rye from going soggy). Scatter the halved cherry tomatoes and the remaining toasted coconut and arugula/spinach over the top. Tuck a wedge of lemon into each lunchbox, if using.

 

These are some delicious recipes for an unforgettable lunchbox. Always prepare your ingredients beforehand and plan ahead to ensure you have all your materials.

Good luck and healthy happy living to you!

 

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