Sack Lunch: Part I

Last week I wrote a post about avoiding the dreaded weight gain that often happens to those who’ve been in the corporate world too long. I’m surprised by how many love handles and pot bellies I see when I look around my office and, frankly, it scares me. I spent years working to get the pounds off and a few office birthday bashes aren’t going to undo all of that.

One of my biggest tips to avoiding weight gain at work is to bring ALL of your own food. My co-workers have Ramen out of the vending machine at least few days a week. Sometimes they choose a bag of chips and a diet coke and then congratulate each other because that’s the lower calorie choice. If I’ve learned anything over my weight loss journey it’s that, yes, calories matter. They matter so much that you can’t waste three hundred of them on a bag of chips with no nutritional value when you could have chosen an option full of vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein and other nutrients. And the latter option will not only make you feel better, it will keep you more satisfied so that you don’t end up reaching for another bag of chips in an hour.

I’ve had a desk job for about two years and getting the most out of my sack lunches without spending hours to prepare them has become a specialty of mine. I’m not sure if others will find it useful but I suspect there are plenty of cubicle workers who would love to eat better but just aren’t sure where to begin.

Well, this week I’d like to help with that! Through Friday, I’m going to be posting my lunches and how/when I prepare them to give others a model to follow for eating well during the 9-5.

Let’s begin, shall we.

For Monday: Sweet Quinoa Fruit Salad

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(Oh, by the way, I am obsessed with Instagram right now. I promise not to let it take over the blog too much.)

Every Sunday I try to use some of my extra time to prepare a larger meal that will be used for my lunches. Some weeks I make a soup or casserole. Others, I prepare some “base” item to use in a couple of lunches.

Yesterday I made a base – a big pot of quinoa, which I planned to split into two different recipes. Half for a sweet fruit salad and half for another item I’ll show you later this week. I usually make something large and eat it for a few days but, in order to show you more meal ideas, I split it.

For the salad:

* 1 C uncooked quinoa
* 2 C water
* 1 red apple
* 1/4 English cucumber
* 2 clementines
* 1/3 C raisins

While the quinoa cooks in the pot, seed your cucumber and cut into slices. Dice the apple and peel the clementines and cut each section in half.

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For the dressing:

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* 2 TBS orange juice
* 2 TBS apple cider vinegar
* 1 TBS agave nectar

Whisk together and set aside.

Meanwhile your quinoa should be about done. I separated half and put it aside for another time. In the pot, I mixed the remaining quinoa with the mix-ins.

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Fold the ingredients together and add the dressing slowly. I also stirred in some nutmeg and cinnamon.

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Ta-da!

One of the nice things about making this for the next day is that it gives it time to marinate over night. Grain salads usually taste best after sitting for a bit. And since this salad is intended to be chilled, it’s a good option for those who can’t reheat during the day.

All together:

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Quinoa salad with a banana and sliced bell peppers.

The bell peppers are actually in an adorable bell pepper Tupperware.

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This is a filling salad! Quinoa is a complete source of vegetarian protein, so it knocks out both grains and protein for this meal.

I used to pack smaller main courses and more snacks but as I’ve been getting busier, I like to pack a substantial main with a few small things to nibble on. If I don’t eat the extras, they get used the next day.

Happy eating! Back again tomorrow with another meal idea and general tips on eating well at work.

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2 thoughts on “Sack Lunch: Part I

  1. This looks so good! I love your bell pepper container…super cute! Excellent advice for bringing your own meal to work. I find it best to bring your own meal, pretty much anywhere. I couldn’t believe the high caloric non-nutritional starbucks afternoon treats I used to frequent, blek! It’s no wonder we all battle the bulge. We just don’t know unless we’re savvy foodies 😉

  2. Pingback: Sack Lunch: Part III « Creature of Habit

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