I’m not one of those people that cook and prep lunches or dinners for the whole week on Sunday. As much as I love food and cooking, the idea of spending hours prepping on a Sunday and eating the same food all week just doesn’t excite me. What does though is a more simple approach for workday lunches. Here’s my guide for quick, healthy work lunch ideas.
In the weekends, I do spend a little time making some options that I can freeze and grab out on the day if it tickles my fancy. Some days I’ll have leftovers or prep something the night before. For the other days, I keep a well-stocked fridge of options that includes Dairyworks cheeses, boiled eggs, bread, avocado, nut butters, tomatoes and fruit which gives me throw together options if I need them so I don’t have to buy my lunch. This is saving me money and time. I love it!
Here’s my routine for quick, healthy work lunch ideas
Shopping and Prepping:
To get organised for lunches and snacks, there are some key items I usually buy.
At the moment, these include:
- Wholegrain bread (I’ll keep a loaf or half a loaf in the freezer at work, or just take what I need for the day)
- Dairyworks mini cheese blocks. These are a great size to keep in the fridge at work and I love how the packet is resealable. They also do cheese slices (already cut) which is super handy too, as well as pre-grated mixed cheeses.
- Avocado and tomato (I’m making the most of it before they go too crazy in price)
- Vegetables such as carrots and celery
- A bag of baby spinach
- Nuts – usually a mixed variety.
- Dairyworks Rice Crackers and Cheese. These are perfect for when you need something on the run. Because I’m on the road for work sometimes, these are easy to grab along with a piece of fruit for something to eat when I’m at a clinic at a different location to my normal office.
- Nut butters – eg peanut butter/almond butter.
With these few bits and pieces you can create quite a few lunch ideas, and these are some of my regulars when I haven’t had time to organise anything else.
- Wholegrain toast with tomato, egg and cheese
- Toasted sandwich with tomato, baby spinach and cheese
- Wholegrain toast, avocado, tomato and egg
- Sandwich with cheese, baby spinach and avocado
- Wholegrain toast with peanut or almond butter and banana
- Fruit and yoghurt with a generous sprinkle of nuts
With my supplies, some of my favourite options are:
- Cheese slices with carrot sticks
- Carrot and celery sticks dipped in almond butter/peanut butter
- Dairyworks cheese and rice crackers
Very little preparation is involved for the quick and easy lunch items. What I do do though is boil some eggs at the start of the week to have on hand. These can go on toast, or otherwise make a good high protein snack. According to The Kitchn, boiled eggs will keep for up to a week in the fridge after they’ve been boiled. Write the date on them so you know if they’re good or not.
In the weekends I do a little bit of food prep, but in general I try to make it something I’m going to eat in the weekend and use the leftovers for the week ahead. Currently these options are frittatas and vegetable soups, both nourishing and filling options which you can freeze and grab as you need.
Sure they take slightly longer than grab-and-go options, but a little bit of prep is all that’s required to make 5-6 days worth of lunches. Here’s two of my current favourite recipes that you can freeze.
Pumpkin and parmesan soup
Pumpkin soup is a go-to favourite for the cooler weather and the addition of parmesan cheese really ups the flavour of this recipe. I use the Dairyworks brand which comes in a resealable container which I love. Otherwise I tend to end up with crusty, hard cheese!
1.5kg of pumpkin
1 large onion
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped1 L of vegetable stock (use 1 cup less if you prefer a really thick soup)
¼ cup Dairyworks parmesan cheese
To Serve: Natural yoghurt, extra parmesan cheese and chives.
Deseed the pumpkin and cut into chunks. To make peeling the pumpkin easier, place the pieces in a microwavable bowl and heat for 5 minutes.
While the pumpkin is heating, roughly chop the onion into chunks. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over a medium heat then add the onion. Cook for 2 minutes, then add the smoked paprika and garlic and cook for another 3 minutes.
Take the pumpkin from the microwave and cut off the skin. It should be much easier to remove as the pumpkin will be slightly cooked.
Add the pumpkin to the pot and heat for around 5 or so minutes. This helps caramelise the outside of the pumpkin and adds to the flavour. Add the vegetable stock and bring to a simmer.
Cook for between 15-20 minutes, until the pumpkin is soft.
Take off the heat. Add the parmesan cheese and stir through. Blend with a stick blender being very careful not to splash yourself with hot soup.
To serve, stir through some natural unsweetened yoghurt, extra parmesan and top with chives.
Pour the soup into individual serving size containers and freeze for a later date. I poured mine into a pyrex jug from the pot to make this job less mess.
Smokey kumara and vegetable frittatas
These vegetable packed frittatas use a delicious mix of three different Dairyworks cheeses all conveniently packaged into one pack. This Dairyworks cheese blend contains a blend of smoked parmesan, colby and cheddar to give these frittatas an amazing flavour. There are other options available too. You can check out the range here.
1 medium kumara
1 wedge of pumpkin (about the same size as the kumara)
1 red onion
½ tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons worcestershire sauce
4 blocks frozen spinach, defrosted.
Approximately 100g Dairyworks Smokey Joe grated cheese
2 tablespoons of milk
Salt and pepper to season
Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celcius. Either grease a 6 hole texas muffin tin, or line with baking paper.
Peel the kumara and pumpkin and cut into thin slices. Place these in a glass bowl and microwave for 5 minutes. This will slightly cook them to ensure they don’t end up undercooked when you bake the frittatas.
While the kumara and pumpkin are precooking, core and chop the capsicum and cut the onion into slices. Heat the oil in a medium fry pan over a medium heat. Cook the capsicum and onion mix for 5 minutes, then wash and chop the mushrooms and add these along with the worcestershire sauce. Cook for a further 5 minutes. Add the spinach, stirring well to combine with the other ingredients and heat for 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper then take off the heat and set aside.
Beat together the eggs and milk. Season with a little salt and pepper.
Now get ready to layer up your frittatas. Take your muffin tins and add piece of kumara then some pumpkin. Add a spoonful or two of the other vegetable mix. Top with a good spoonful of grated cheese. Add another layer of kumara and pumpkin. Add some extra grated cheese. Repeat this with all the muffin tin hole. Next, pour over the egg mixture evenly between the frittatas. You can top with a little more cheese if you wish.
Bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until lightly golden and cooked through.
Store in the fridge or freeze in an airtight container.
For a workplace lunch, serve with a salad made with the baby spinach, tomato and avocado and any other vegetables you might have on hand.
I hope this inspires you to get sorted for some delicious, quick, healthy work lunch ideas and makes your life that wee bit easier.
This post was made possible thanks to Dairyworks.