1. Find the right lunch vessel. For me, it’s been the EcoLunch Box. I wanted a lunchbox that utilized safe materials, but wasn’t bulky. This lunch box is the perfect size, and makes packing lunch easy and pretty.
2. Create a lunch formula that works for you. I don’t have specific diet restrictions, but aim to eat a plant-based diet with small amounts of high-quality organic dairy and meat. My main lunch “course” tends to be veggie heavy with a bit of whole grains, beans or lentils and a tasty dressing. For sides, I typically include fresh fruit, nuts and dark chocolate. I also try to include something fermented.
3. Make it fun. I truly enjoy cooking and grocery shopping, but it can be a challenge with a busy schedule. When my boyfriend and I have a free weekend morning we love to explore farmer’s markets, specialty markets, and locally owned shops. Our grocery adventures provide the opportunity to explore new neighborhoods, while still checking something off our to-do list. We have also made it our Sunday tradition to prep for the week ahead. We’ll make big batches of rice, lentils, beans, granola and roasted veggies to integrate into the week ahead. I usually make a loaf of life-changing bread to have on hand for meals and easy snacking.
4. Be easy on yourself. If I don’t have time to go grocery shopping, I’ll oftentimes do a FreshDirect order. FreshDirect has a local CSA option, which I do a couple of times a month. Many cities have grocery delivery services, and they can save a ton of time for extremely busy weeks.
We made a frittata for breakfast on Sunday, so leftovers are the main attraction today. Frittatas are a perfect, portable lunch and also a simple way to utilize extra vegetables. Today’s variety includes local, organic eggs from my CSA, kale, mushroom, green chili and garlic, topped with micro watercress. I’ve been feeling green for Spring so added pistachios and kiwi. Lucky for me, my boyfriend’s really into doing his own ferments these days, and this is his red cabbage and carrot concoction. Lastly, I can’t go a day without eating a bit of chocolate. I made up some raw chocolate truffles a few days ago for a dinner with some lady friends. They took less than 15 minutes to make and include Cacao, Anandamide, Coconut Butter and Honey, topped with Pink Mountain Salt.
I made a rice and veggie “plate” with wild rice, heirloom beans, homemade kraut, roasted carrots and mushrooms. Topped with a spritz of lemon, tahini, sea salt and micro watercress, this has everything I want in a mid-day meal. On the side, I added dried seaweed and a goji berry, almond, cashew trail mix. I order most of my healthy snacks and dried goods from Thrive Market (another time and money saver). Lastly, I threw in another raw chocolate truffle.
CAP had a work event last night, so I got home late and didn’t want to do much of anything aside from hanging with my sweetie and kitties. Hence, picnic lunch today. I packed blueberries, Castelvetrano olives (my jam!), watermelon radish slices from my CSA and a bit of goat cheese from a local cheese shop. I added simply roasted cauliflower that I cooked on Sunday. Lastly, a slice of life-changing bread topped with avocado, lemon and the best hot sauce. Ever. It has probiotics and is damn tasty.
Last night I had dinner with my lady friends, so packing lunch today was a bit of a challenge to be honest. I had roasted a few sweet potatoes earlier in the week for dinner, so mashed a leftover one with ghee, salt, pepper and topped with sunflower seeds. So simple, so good. I had zucchini on hand so shaved one with my mandolin (best gift I’ve received in a long time). I tossed the shaved zucchini with olives, pistachios, olive oil, sea salt and lemon. This salad is ridiculously satisfying and the mandolin made putting it together a breeze. I added a kiwi and a ZenBunni chocolate bar from the store for a little treat.
It’s Friday, so I threw caution to the wind and made breakfast for lunch. We had a bunch of very overripe bananas so I made a quick batch of banana, sweet potato, spelt muffins last night. The recipe is inspired by Amy Chaplin’s breakfast bread recipe from At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen. It’s one of my all-time favorite cookbooks. I also put together a mini coconut yogurt and granola parfait, topped with blueberries. I like making my granola very seed and nut heavy, tossed with just a bit of olive oil, spices and honey. The strawberries looked amazing this week, so I added a few. Lastly, I included a medium-boiled egg from my CSA. I usually make up a few boiled eggs at some point throughout the week to add to breakfast or lunch.