1. THINK BEYOND THE SANDWICH
So you’re back on the carb-free wagon but stuck for creative ideas? Stock up on individual portions of smoked trout. Make a salad the night before and add the trout at the last minute for a substantial lunch.
2. KEEP A STASH OF CONDIMENTS AND BASIC INGREDIENTS
Here’s a handy checklist for your personal office larder (keep it under lock and key!)
● A range of salad dressings ● Cans of lentils and chickpeas ● Cans of tuna and salmon ● Disposable cutlery ● Pretzels, dried fruit and nuts ● Sardines in tomato sauce ● Sea salt and black pepper ● Sriracha sauce ● Wholegrain mustard ● Woolworths’ noodle boxes ● Your favourite crackers
3. INVEST IN GOOD OFFICE UTENSILS (AND TRY TO HOLD ONTO THEM!)
4. START A LUNCH CLUB
Get a group of colleagues to commit to sharing a meal together once a week. Everyone picks one ingredient to bring to work. Roll out a sheet of brown paper on a meeting table, lay out the mouthwatering spread and build your own lunch – and the team spirit.
BRING-AND-SHARE CLUB SANDWICHES
- Raisin bread
- Double-cream Camembert
- Vine-ripened tomatoes
- Baby herb leaves
- Sliced salami
- or any seasonal fruit
5. STOCK UP ON CLEVER STAPLES
Avos aren’t called “superfoods” for nothing. And aside from hardboiled eggs, you can’t beat an avocado as an office-lunch stand-by. If you’ve got a couple of these guys ripening in a drawer, lunch will always be above average. Try this:
NEW AVO TOASTS: Smash ripe avocado onto rye or ciabatta toast, sprinkle with charred corn kernels from last night’s braai, diced red onion, green chilli and tomatoes.
ASIAN AVO SALAD: Make a quick coleslaw of cabbage, red onion and carrot. Dress with Woolworths’ oil-free mango-and coconut dressing, top with toasted cashews or sesame seeds, a diced avocado and canned salmon or smoked chicken. Add noodles too if you like.
CREAMY GREEN SOUP: Sprinkle diced avocado into fresh creamy baby spinach soup, top with croutons and feta and enjoy.
6. WARM UP ON COOLER DAYS
Who doesn’t love a mood-boosting bowl of noodles when Monday hits? Add a little broth or fresh veg for an instant pick-up that’ll help you tackle your inbox.
TRY: Pot-luck noodles
7. AVOID THE AFTERNOON SLUMP
A high-energy, protein-based lunch will save your day. Make enough burger patties for dinner, a work lunch or two and the freezer.
TRY: Lettuce lamb burger with tzatziki (psst…Time saver! If you’re not up for making your own patties, Woolies stocks juicy thick dhania lamb burgers (no judging.)
8. LOVE YOUR LEFTOVERS
Reinvent last night’s veg stir-fry as today’s good-for-you chicken-and-veg wrap. Not a wrap fan? Make crystal rolls or toss the ingredients with rice or noodles instead.
9. DRESS TO IMPRESS
Sure, olive oil and balsamic do the trick but why limit yourself when there’s a whole world of home-made dressings to explore? Up your salad dressing game with one of these easy salad dressing recipes, featuring the likes of buttermilk, anchovies, coconut cream, fish sauce, soya sauce, tahini paste, yoghurt, cucumber juice and even leftover papaya seeds!
10. COOK AHEAD
If there’s one job you do on Sunday evening, let it be cooking a great base ingredient, such as quinoa, that’ll set you up for three days of meals. And don’t worry, you won’t get bored if you think creatively – try these tasty suggestions to get you started.
Fold 1 t good-quality olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice, sea salt and black pepper through ½ cup cooked quinoa, top with 2 spring onions, shredded baby spinach and 3 T cottage cheese. Eat with a sliced rotisserie chicken breast. Warning: you may have to be prepared to share.
THE BACON SAVER
Mix last night’s broccoli with ½ cup cooked quinoa, ¼ chopped avo, fresh coriander, pea shoots, 8 chopped almonds and 3 rashers chopped crispy bacon. Serve with yoghurt dressing.
THE FAST AND THE FABULOUS
Mix roast butternut-and beetroot salad with ½ cup cooked quinoa, drizzle with the included balsamic dressing and voilà!
HANDY TIP: If you’re lunching late and all the plates are in the dishwasher, keep a roll of brown paper in your drawer for emergency crockery situations.