Three of my favorite lunches to pack during the week.
I don't know about you, but lunch has always been a meal that's tough for me to get excited about. In the past, I would make the same turkey sandwich each morning, grab a handful of chips, and call it good. When I started to cut out some of the processed foods from my diet (in hopes of trying to heal my stomach), I started to pack more exciting (to me) lunches that were just as easy as slapping together a sandwich, but more nourishing. Here are three of my current favorite recipes that don't require a huge time investment, but are delicious, healthy, and don't upset my stomach.
1. Quinoa & roasted veggie bowl (with tahini sauce)
This one is just about as easy as it sounds. You'll need...
- One cup cooked quinoa or salad mix: I usually made a large batch of Trader Joe's white quinoa in our rice maker at the beginning of each week. I occasionally mix in a bag of Trader Joe's organic frozen spinach at the tail end of the cooking process to increase my veggie consumption without noticing a change in texture/taste of the quinoa. Sometimes I'll use chopped spring mix (something about chopped salads are so much better than normal ones IMHO) as my base instead of quinoa, but totally up to you!.
- Roasted veggies of your choice: I've been enjoying roasted potatoes, sweet potatoes (I keep these to a relatively small amount because too much are high-FODMAP...more on FODMAPS later), brussel sprouts, and roasted carrots. Sometimes I'll also do broccoli, but I actually don't LOVE broccoli as much as these other options.
- Tahini sauce: Guys, this sauce is a game changer. I tried this recipe from Andrea Bemis's cookbook Dishing up the Dirt which is awesome -- all about eating locally and seasonally, which I think is something that most of us can get behind! Combine the following ingredients and add water until you can whisk them all together easily. I put a generous amount of this on top of my quinoa bowl and the healthy fats keep me satisfied for much longer than if I were to skip it. You need it in your life!
- Salt/Pepper to taste
- 1 TB dijon mustard
- 1 TB honey
- 1/2 squeezed lemon
- 1/4C tahini (Trader Joe's brand is my hands-down favorite)
- 1 clove of garlic (I use garlic infused olive oil #FODMAPlife)
2. Bahn-Mi bowls
I saw this recipe on Skinny Taste and was immediately sold because 1) it uses the crock pot, and I love cooking with the crock pot (I hesitate to call it cooking because it's so easy) and 2) I am obsessed with Bahn Mi sandwiches, but they are too heavy for me to eat for a full week's worth of lunches. Here is the link: https://www.skinnytaste.com/slow-cooker-banh-mi-rice-bowls/. Most of these ingredients (aside from the pork), are ingredients that I typically have on hand or already buy each week. I also appreciate that this recipe features pork, because we've overdosed on chicken recently and it's always good to mix it up. You have to make the pickled carrots - they are so easy and completely make the dish. Love this lunch option!
3. "Unstuffed" peppers
Have you ever made actual stuffed peppers? If not, I'd say skip the time-intensive pepper cutting and make this version instead. We made this recipe recently and it was astonishingly simple/easy but so delicious. I really underestimated how good this was going to be, but I ended up eating it for four lunches straight, which is a true testament! I don't eat red meat frequently, but when I crave it, this recipe really hits the spot. Just a note: I always make sure to buy clean/organic protein, but I tend to pay even more attention with ground beef. Recipe is from Gretchen McKay (from a random Pittsburgh Post-Gazette newspaper clipping - love you mom!) You will need:
- 2 cups instant brown rice
- 12 ounces lean ground beef
- 1 tsp. olive oil
- One red and one yellow pepper cut into thin strips (you could easily use frozen peppers)
- 2 C bottled marinara sauce (I love Rao's sensitive formula for #FODMAPPERS!)
Directions: Cook instant rice and set aside. Cook ground beef until there is no pink remaining. Once cooked through, mix in peppers and cook until the peppers are slightly charred. Add marinara and spices to taste. Spoon this over some of the cooked rice in your lunches for the week and you are good to go!
I hope you one of these recipes sparks some creativity in the lunch department -- I find that the more I mix it up, the more I actually look forward to lunch. Now tell me, what are your go-to lunch recipes for during the work week? Always looking for more inspiration and ideas!