Work Week Lunch Ideas: Homemade, Easy, Quick and Healthy

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“I’m so busy I don’t have time to eat make myself a healthy lunch.”

I’ve heard this comment so many times. It’s a disempowering statement and puts you at the mercy of fast food which leads to weight gain, feeling like crap and accelerated aging. Yikes!

In our world today, we are all very busy and it’s so easy to grab and go, but what’s actually in that food you grab and eat? Extra fat, salt, and sugar that you don’t need.

Lunchtime can be a real challenge when you want to keep your food choices healthy. There are tantalizing treats scattered throughout your office break room and your desk is in close proximity to the vending machines that can easily tempt you and quickly veer you off of your path leaving you feeling disappointed and defeated. To avoid these negative feelings, it's crucial to be proactive about your meals for the work week.

What I think works best in this situation is to prepare your lunches, but you might have no idea what to make or feel that's too time-consuming. After all, do you really need one more thing to add to your to-do list? I hear you loud and clear.

I want to share with you some of my best and easiest lunches you can whip up in mere minutes so you can enjoy healthy lunches all week long.

Quinoa Lunch Bowl:Quinoa is a food that is easy to prepare, very nutritious and that is incredibly easy to take to work with you. Of course, you want a little more in your bowl than just quinoa, but you can add anything you want to make your bowl delicious and filling. You can steam or sauté vegetables that you enjoy - broccoli, zucchini, onion and a sauce of your choice, such as tahini or balsamic. Don’t forget to add your bean of choice for a fiber blast.

Pssst… If you don’t like quinoa try forbidden black rice, brown rice or even zucchini noodles.

Ready-To-Go Mason Jar Salads: These are so simple, delicious and you can prepare them for the whole week in one sitting. Use mason jar's to hold your salad ingredients so when you empty your jar into a bowl, it creates the perfect lunch salad for you. Start by putting dressing in first, then your toppings & veggies, and finish off your jar by adding your greens last. This will keep your dressing away from your greens, so they won't get soggy. You can store these in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Wrap It Up: Think outside of the box for this one and skip the flour tortilla and try a lettuce wrap. Simply, toss your favorite chopped veggies and any fitting leftover ingredients from your fridge in a lettuce leaf. Drizzle with a complementing sauce, wrap it up and call it a day. Wraps pair well with soup, so keep that in mind as you meal prep for the week.

Italian Style Spaghetti Squash This is definitely one of my go-to quick, affordable and healthy lunches. I always have a spaghetti squash on hand as they're so versatile. This is another great option for tossing in any leftover veggies from the fridge, mix with some marinara sauce and you've got yourself a pasta-free spaghetti that won't disappoint.

Some other ideas are soup, salads, leftover casserole, and hummus sandwiches with veggies. These are just a few examples of all the delicious meals you can quickly prepare at home and take to work without too much of a hassle. Some take a little more time than others, but you can always use Sunday to meal prep for the entire week, so you don’t have to wake up extra early on your work days. If possible, you could even leave all the meals you created at work so you can grab it during lunchtime, and you don’t have to take anything to work all week.

Do you have a lunch idea that supports your weight, wellness and time? Please leave a comment below and share.

4 Simple Healthy Lunch Ideas For Your Busy Lifestyle (and more ideas for back to school)

If lunch isn’t planned ahead of time, it can be the easiest meal of the day to resort to convenience foods, which are generally junk foods. The vending machine in your office building is just one button away from a quick lunch when you’re pressed for time, right?

Luckily, it doesn’t take a ton of time to plan meals ahead of time! It only takes a commitment and a few minutes each day. I’m going to share with you some of my favorite ideas for simple, healthy lunches that I plan my meals around.

Here we go…

 

A Healthy Twist On Sandwiches

Although it’s not hard to spruce a sandwich up to be fairly healthy, you can make them even healthier by substituting any meat and cheese for vegetables of your choice. You can add things such as spinach, tomato, onion, avocado and more. Ditch the mayo and use hummus or guacamole. If you choose to use bread, be sure to choose a healthy, sprouted option, and a gluten-free option if needed.

 

A Simple Salad

Ditch those heavy salads drenched in Ranch dressing and create your own salad made up completely of raw vegetables and possibly and simple dressing like apple cider vinegar with fresh herbs.

Some great in season veggies to toss in your salads include:

  • Beets
  • Radish
  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumber
  • Bell Peppers

 

A Healthy Wrap or Pinwheel

These are quite simple to make and easy to transport as a lunch. Toss all of your healthy ingredients into a sprouted tortilla or even a lettuce leaf as a wrap. Enjoy it as a simple wrap with a side of your favorite fruit, or spice it up and create your wrap into a pinwheel.

Pinwheels are made by rolling your ingredients in the tortilla and cutting it into bite-sized slices. Another option is to use thinly sliced zucchini as an alternative tortilla option for pinwheels. Use fewer ingredients than for wraps to create an easier to eat and less messy pinwheel.

 

Veggie Sushi Is All The Rage

Have you ever tried to make your own sushi? It’s a lot of fun and actually quite simple. There are loads of tutorial videos online, so give it a quick search one weekend when you have some free time to experiment.

Regardless if it’s homemade or purchased at a grocery store, veggie sushi is a great, light lunch that is quick and easy.

If available, try sushi with brown rice or even quinoa instead of white rice. Enjoy!

Not only are these simple recipes ideal for lunches, but they’re also perfect for picnics. Before summer comes to a close, make sure you enjoy a picnic in your favorite outdoor area. Bring along some freshly sliced watermelon and any other fruits you love to enjoy as a refreshing dessert afterward.

 

Back To School

Back to school is my favorite time of year. The possibilities of what’s’ to come as the summer comes to an end is fun and exciting. As autumn transitions into winter, delicious foods such as soups and stews bring us back to the kitchen for goodness for our souls!

If you have kids here’s some help for the back to school.

Sometimes it’s a struggle to get back into the groove of making lunches every day, and often you can hardly think of anything other than a sandwich to make.

I know exactly what it’s like to have your mind go blank when trying to be creative with lunches, so here are a few options in each category (main dish, veggies, fruit, etc.) to choose from, so you can create many lunches to come!

Main Options:

  • Zucchini & Carrot Muffins
  • Pasta with Olive Oil & Pesto
  • Mayo-free Egg Salad
  • Zucchini boats

Veggie Options:

  • Carrot & Celery Sticks
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Broccoli
  • Bell Pepper
  • Green Beans
  • Cucumber

Fruit Options:

  • Apple (maybe handpicked from an apple orchard)
  • Banana
  • Orange
  • Peach (Get the end of summer produce now)
  • Grapes
  • Pineapple

Miscellaneous Options:

  • Hummus for Veggies
  • Trail Mix
  • Protein Balls
  • Popcorn
  • Lara bar

I would love to hear your awesome back to school healthy lunch ideas. Leave a comment below and let's share recipes.

 

Roasted Cauliflower with Pesto and Quinoa

RFSpring17 Roasted Cauliflower with Pesto and Quinoa Move over kale! Cauliflower is the hot new veggie these days, although this amazing vegetable has been keeping people healthy for centuries. You can make a vegan cheese sauce with it, make soups creamier with it, and make pizza crust, mashed “potatoes,” and buffalo wings with cauliflower.

It’s so much fun to get into the kitchen and see what you can create, but sometimes you just want to cook something simple and quick that you know is going to be delicious. That’s when I turn to the good old standard of roasted vegetables—in this case, cauliflower.

In the recipe below, I layer this amazing white vegetable with an herb pesto that assists your body in its daily detox job and quinoa for protein.

Personally, I love pesto and any variation of this green sauce is always exciting to me. If you don’t prefer any of the herbs used in my recipe, just change it. That’s the beauty of pesto—it’s a playground of tasty creativity.

This recipe is a perfect summer dinner with not so much time in the kitchen and plenty of time for an after-dinner walk or play. Enjoy!

 

ROASTED CAULIFLOWER WITH PESTO AND QUINOA

SERVES 2

1 large head of cauliflower, chopped

2 tablespoons coconut oil

1 teaspoon garlic powder

2 tablespoons Detox Pesto (see below)

1 cup cooked quinoa

2 cups mixed greens

Sea salt and black pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

Preheat your oven to 425 or 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Add chopped cauliflower to a large roasting pan. Massage with coconut oil, garlic powder, sea salt, and black pepper. Roast for about 30 minutes until tender. Remove from the oven and coat with Detox Pesto. Serve on top of quinoa and mixed greens.

 

QUINOA

SERVES 2

1 cup uncooked quinoa

2 cups water or vegetable broth

DIRECTIONS

Add quinoa and liquid to a pot over a medium flame. Bring to a boil, then lower the flame and cover. Simmer the quinoa for about 15 to 20 minutes. The quinoa should be tender.

 

DETOX PESTO

MAKES 2 CUPS

1 cup cilantro

½ cup parsley

½ cup mint

½ cup pumpkin seeds

1 garlic clove

1 lemon, juiced

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt and black pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

Combine the cilantro, parsley, mint, pumpkin seeds, and garlic in a food processor or high-speed blender. Blend until finely chopped. Add the lemon juice and slowly add extra virgin olive oil in a steady drizzle. Blend until the mixture becomes a smooth, light paste. Add enough olive oil to keep it moist and spreadable. Season with sea salt and black pepper. Cover tightly and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before serving. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 to 4 days.

Did you try the recipe? Leave a comment below, and let me know what you think!

 

Rockstar Vegetable: Cauliflower Rice with Thyme

CauliflowerRicewithThyme Cauliflower is the hot new vegetable lately. There are so many things you can do with this white wonder of goodness. I’ve used cauliflower in a vegan Alfredo sauce, as a thickener in soups and roasted with other veggies.

Today, I want to share a wonderful, simple dinner recipe to help you with your weight loss goals and keep you slim and trim.

Cauliflower is an antioxidant powerhouse helping you look young and healthy. Its fiber acts as a digestive aid to keep thing flowing and has sulfur-containing nutrients that help your body detox.

This heart health- boosting vegetable is very versatile, filling and easy to make.

CAULIFLOWER RICE WITH THYME

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

1 large head of cauliflower, grated

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1 teaspoon thyme*

Sea salt and black pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

If you are preparing your cauliflower rice from scratch, simply chop the head into smaller florets. Use a box grater to grate the cauliflower into smaller granules of “rice.” Alternatively, you can chop the florets in a food processor or blender in batches until you get the consistency of rice. Many stores also sell raw cauliflower “rice” in a package in the produce aisle if you are looking for a shortcut.

Add the coconut oil to a large sauté pan on high heat. Once the oil is melted, add the cauliflower and sauté for about 5 to 8 minutes. Add the thyme, sea salt, and black pepper. Serve with your choice of salad or other sautéed vegetables.

* If you don’t like thyme, try another spice. Make it Italian with basil and oregano or add cumin for a Mexican flavor.

**Please add any side veggies or beans to make this a full meal.

Did you like this recipe? Leave a comment below and let me know what you served with the Cauliflower Rice.

Get Off Packaged Foods (Pumpkin Cream Soup recipe)

CreamyPumpkinSoup Happy February! If you think about it, spring is just around the corner. I’ve spoke to many women in the past month who are still struggling with their weight. They’ve tried the packages and frozen food programs that are available promising wonderful results.

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you already know that I DO NOT like boxed foods or boxed food weight loss programs.

I must admit, I went through a phase where I counted calories and fat grams. However, I always seemed to lose track and would get frustrated with my lack of note taking and worry that I would gain a pound that day. So, to take care of my less than stellar food records, I thought it was a great idea to eat protein bars as a meal because I knew the exact calories and fat grams were. It was easy and fit my on-the-go lifestyle in NYC. It was so easy to walk and eat a protein bar.

Here’s the thing y’all, your body knows how to use the nutrients in an apple, kale, or avocado. Your body gets stressed when you put man-made foods into your body that, to be honest, shouldn’t be ingested.

When you put a chemical laden protein bar or fill in the blank of your choice of packaged food (candy bars, processed frozen or boxed foods from weight loss companies), your body has to go into overdrive to figure out how to breakdown and assimilate the nutrients, if any. That’s’ a lot of work for your precious digestive system and it’s taking all of your needed energy to get through your day. Are you feeling lethargic, tired and have no energy? Drop the processed packaged foods

AND, when your body is spending all its’ time “trying” to digest the crappy and addictive foods, it has no time or power to remove toxins, which can lead to weight gain, illness or possibly disease.

Just to let you know, after studying more about nutrition and deep personal work through journaling, yoga, meditation and giving myself a big talkin’ to, I decided to let go of the wrapped tasteless bars covered in plastic chocolate and eat real food and that is what I’m suggesting you do to…EAT REAL FOODS!

So easy, right? I know, I know. It’s not always easy. We put everything else before our health. I’m guilty as charged.

With some preplanning and batch cooking (cooking many meals in one afternoon and freezing or packaging for weekly meals) you can be ultra prepared for a week of homemade foods that were form the earth full of everything your body needs to thrive.

I can’t tell you how much better I feel mentally and physically with this change in my lifestyle. You have to try it for yourself. I double dog dare you.

To help you on your journey off of food wrapped in plastic and cardboard, I’m offering you a pumpkin soup to get you started. It’s so easy to make and full of nutrients. Having fresh prepared meals is your tool to success in staying away form packaged foods, getting all your vitamins and minerals in and weight loss.

Pumpkin Cream Soup

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

2 cups chopped pumpkin

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 onion, chopped

2 cups vegetable broth

1 13.5-oz can of coconut milk

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg

Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Pumpkin seeds to garnish

DIRECTIONS

Add the chopped pumpkin, garlic, onion, vegetable broth, coconut milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, sea salt, and black pepper to a large pot over high heat. Cover and let it boil. When the soup begins to boil, turn down the heat to medium and allow the pot to simmer until the pumpkin is soft (about 20 minutes). You can serve the soup as is, or you can blend the soup using an immersion blender or high-speed blender. Serve topped with pumpkin seeds.

Leave a comment below and share how you’re treating yourself to amazing cuisine you cooked yourself.

 

Who says you can’t eat salad in the winter?

red-beets-1725799_1280 It’s cold outside and you probably have a mug of hot tea or hot chocolate by your side.

This time of year, you don’t often read winter and salad together, but I’ll tell you this is the secret to staying happy and nourished all winter long. Raw vegetables are rich in enzymes and vitamins that are easy to absorb and make digestion a breeze.

Sticking to seasonal vegetables for your winter salads is challenging, but very impossible. Both beets and kale are hearty winter vegetables that retain their tastiness and nutritional worth even through the harsh winter months. Pair with that some healthy fats from avocado and vitamin C from fresh lemons and you’ve got yourself a salad fit for a queen in the middle of January!

Here’s my absolute favorite winter salad recipe.

Chopped Red Beet and Kale Salad

Serves 2

1 to 2 large beets, steamed (Tight on time? Use BPA FREE canned beets in water)

1 bunch of kale, chopped (baby kale is perfect for this salad)

handful of fresh basil leaves (OR 1 teaspoon dried basil)

1 avocado, chopped

1 lemon, juiced

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

sea salt and black pepper to taste

¼ cup pumpkin seeds

Optional: 1 teaspoon of nutritional yeast

If using raw beets, place a large pot with an inch of water on the stove over high heat. Place a metal steam basket inside. Wash and chop the beets into quarters and place in the steam basket. Cover and steam the beets for about 10 to 12 minutes until they can be easily pricked with a fork. Remove from heat and serve on top of the salad.

Add the kale, basil, avocado, lemon juice, olive oil, sea salt and black pepper to a large bowl. Use clean hands to massage the kale until all the ingredients are well mixed and the kale is wilted. Top with pumpkin seeds and beets.

Want even more great tips to help you lose weight, improve your digestion and increase your energy? Check out my new Winter Renewal Detox program details here.

To your wellness!

 

Warming Lentil Soup

lentil-soup Temperatures are crisp and cool in the evenings and vibrate colors are starting to explode on the trees. Fall has finally arrived! With the arrival of cooler weather, thoughts of delicious, homemade soup come to mind. I have a great lentil soup recipe to warm your body and soul.

Take time this week to get in your kitchen, chop a few veggies and watch your lentils turn into a delicious and nutritious brew of goodness. This lentil soup recipe is a great meal as the weeks get cooler. It will keep you full and satisfied while keeping your body slim and healthy.

Enjoy!

LENTIL SOUP

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 small onion, minced

1 large celery rib, minced

4 large garlic cloves, minced

1-inch piece of ginger, shredded

1 large carrot, chopped

1 bay leaf

1 cup brown lentils

3 cups broth of your choice (or water)

½ teaspoon sea salt

½ teaspoon black pepper Spinach or kale (optional)

CREATE YOUR SOUP BASE: In a large pot, add coconut oil. When the oil is hot, add cumin seeds and cook until fragrant (about 1 minute). Then add your minced onion, celery, garlic, ginger, carrot, and bay leaf. Sauté until soft (about 2 to 3 minutes).

ASSEMBLE THE SOUP: Add brown lentils and broth (or water) along with sea salt and pepper. Cover and cook on medium-low heat for 30 to 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. The soup is done when the lentils are tender but still holding their shape.

SERVING SUGGESTION: Add greens like spinach or kale at the end if you would like. Allow the soup to settle for about an hour before eating for the best flavor. I add the greens in when the soup is done cooking and stir for 30 seconds to allow the greens to soften.

Leave a message below and share your favorite way to warm the body during the changing seasons.

Renew Rainbow Salad

f6-with-copy This salad is quick and easy to make for anyone short on time.

Here's my favorite dressing that is delicious with this salad recipe:

Ingredients

1/4 cup olive, flax or hemp oil (cold-pressed)

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1 Tbs Dijon mustard

1TBS maple syrup

2 tsp miso (I use chickpea mis to make it soy free)

 

Directions

Place all ingredients in a mason jar and shake. Wa-la!

*This recipe is a variation from a salad dressing recipe in The UnDIet Cookbook by Meghan Telpner.

Quick and Easy Mock Tuna Salad

sweet-and-savory-mock-tuna-2  

When I was young my Mother would make salads of all sorts. Tuna salad, egg salad and chicken salads are the ones I remember the most. These meals were a quick and easy lunch for a family on the go.

I have recreated the tuna salad to make it vegan. Leaving out the mayo and adding in some seaweed for a tasty nutrition boost, this recipe is delicious and much healthier. It’s a also a wonderful recipe if you’re detoxing or wanting to lose weight.

Enjoy!

Mock Tuna with Sliced Green Apple

Serves 4

1 cup sunflower seeds, soaked and drained

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Juice of 1 lemon

1 teaspoon cumin

Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

2 nori sheets, torn into small pieces

1 tablespoon dulse flakes

1 celery stalk, chopped

1 cup grapes, halved

1 green apple, sliced

BLEND THE “TUNA”: Add the sunflower seeds, olive oil, lemon juice, cumin, sea salt, and black pepper to a high-speed blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Remove and place the tuna into a bowl. Add nori sheets, dulse flakes, chopped celery, and grapes. Mix until well incorporated. Serve on top of green apple slices.

What recipe form your childhood would you like recreated into a nutrition powerhouses? Leave a comment below and give me some ideas.