I had the pleasure of working with Mercedes-Benz on their She's Mercedes campaign this month. It's all about work lunches & how to survive them without losing your mind. Whether working in an office or freelance, lunch has always been a point of tension personally. I felt like I was spending a small fortune eating out and not even really getting what I actually want or eating something weird (and usually cold) out of my fridge on a deadline. Not cute or fun. I think we can do better.
It doesn't require hours of "batch cooking" or whatever people say they do on Sundays. It requires a little prep, a little patience and some hope that lunch actually can be great. Read below for my "tips" ;)
5 essentials for a perfect work lunch
A healthy, convenient and inspiring work lunch sounds like a paradox, but it doesn’t have to be. If the phrase conjures up images of heavy restaurant pastas, long lines and ticking clocks, it’s time to rethink your routine. While make-it-at-home lunches may seem daunting at first, it means you’re eating wholesome nutritious food that will give you enough energy to breeze through your late afternoon meetings. Whether it’s a hearty, protein-packed salad or a nourishing grain bowl, it’s time to recreate the homemade meals we love at home and enjoy them at the office, too.
It doesn’t take a ton of effort--just a little inspiration, some simple tips and a bit of prep. Once you get the formula, you’re golden. Now, you’ll have a meal you’re actually excited to break for
MAKE IT AHEAD | PROTEIN
Grains, legumes, baked tofu - you name it. Making ahead is the key to having perfect lunches all week long. Make a big batch of lentils, quinoa or baked tofu - the most important part is making sure you have enough protein to keep your hunger at bay. Without enough, you might be susceptible to brain fog or blood sugar drops, so always make sure to include at least one hearty source. Use last night’s baked salmon or a serving of lentils for an instant boost to any salad. Why not make a full on grain bowl? Add it all to a mason jar for a perfect lunch vessel (which will naturally toss your ingredients for you).
A SPLASH OF CITRUS
There’s truth to the healing powers of citrus. Whether it’s adding a slice to your Pellegrino, or squeezing a wedge over your salad, citrus benefits everything from your skin and gut to your immune health. Citrus, especially lemons, can aid in digestion and help naturally flush toxins out. It’s the easiest way to add a little “detox” to your lunchtime. Besides the nutritional aspects, lemon adds the necessary “pop” of acid that almost every meal needs. A squeeze of lemon over a salad or grain bowl goes a long way. Plus, your fizzy water will feel a little extra special.
Green is the true color of health, so make sure your lunch has got some of it. Whether it’s zucchini or swiss chard, think outside the box when it comes to your “greens”. Most dark, leafy greens are considered superfoods, so you really can’t go wrong here. Just because you don’t have baby kale in the fridge does not mean you can’t make a salad. Shaved asparagus and broccoli stem are two of my favorite non-lettuce salads that are hearty enough to last you all day.
BRING YOUR OWN SALT
Sea salt, the purer, less refined option to the usual table salt, is actually not something you should be avoiding. Because it’s produced through evaporation of ocean water, it can leave trace minerals and elements that actually help your body function better (like cell cleansing and balancing your pH). Himalayan sea salt, the pink-hued cousin to sea salt, is actually known to help detoxify the body. Not to mention, salt truly enhances flavor, so a pinch of flaky sea salt will help intensify your already delicious lunch. So, salt your salad and sandwiches with (almost) no abandon.
AVOCADO ON EVERYTHING
What dish isn’t better with avocado? It’s no secret that avocado is a nutritional powerhouse. They’re full of omega-3 fatty acids (keeps your hair, skin & nails glowing), stabilises your blood sugar and is full of too many nutrients to list. Luckily for us, the creamy, nutty “fruit” is the tastiest way to bump up any everyday meal. Add avocado to salads, sandwiches, or grain bowls for a little bit of decadence and a lot of nutrition.