Lunch in the workplace is an opportunity to eat something healthy. Yes, you heard me right. You don’t have to eat out for lunch everyday. Use the opportunity to bring something healthy!
I recently started doing some work for an organization and am at their main office for part of my week, usually over lunch time. I haven’t had to pack lunches for awhile, so with this new opportunity, I’ve started to try to incorporate more salads into my week. I’ve some up with a way to pack a salad with a lot of healthy items, using a 7-layer method. You may recall the “7-Layer Smoothies” I use as my first breakfast most days of the week…well, this is a similar concept.
Here are my layer guidelines for building a healthy and tasty salad:
Layer 1 (bottom of container): this layer acts as the dressing, so it is something moist. I use cottage cheese or hummus drizzled with olive oil and add some spice in place of an actual dressing, but you could use a bottled dressing (watch the sugar, fat and processing chemical content) or homemade one (i.e. one made with tahini.)
Layer 2: cut up fruit, i.e. apples, grapes, or peaches. You’ll generally want a firmer fruit, not something like a banana.
Layer 3: protein – cooked chicken, steak, tofu, sandwich meats without nitrates, salmon, tuna, boiled egg, cubed cheese. This also adds a protective layer from the moist dressing and fruit.
Layer 4: cut or shredded accompaniment veggies (not the greens yet) like lentils, broccoli, carrots, peppers, onions, cut up small or shredded
Layer 5: seeds and nuts (which form another dry layer) and grains (i.e. quinoa or grain mix.)
Layer 6: mixed greens, towel dried and chopped
Layer 7: crunchy toppings such as Ezekiel bread croutons or granola, or if you want to indulge, some type of crushed chips or crackers (try to find less processed ones), and sprinkle of whatever spices you like.
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Keep in their layers until lunch and then mix well for a filling and healthy meal!
I prefer my food chopped or shredded small so all the textures and flavors mix but you could do it as you like!
I typically bring a small additional container of olive oil (a flavored one would be great) to add additional moisture
I often have some other side like a healthy dessert, or maybe some type of multigrain cracker, just because I like to eat more than one item with my meals.
I suggest drinking water or perhaps a pressed juice with this meal and avoid soda. Also avoid covering it with unhealthy, calorie-laden dressings!
Your turn: what healthy lunch items do you bring or keep at work?
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