Friday, February 13, 2009

Bring Your Lunch to Work Day

I go through periods of time where I'm reallllyy good about bringing my lunch to work ... well, this period of time hasn't been one of those periods of time. Despite the cold weather, I find myself hoofing it to various lunch places near my office, as a treat to (a) leave the office and (b) to get something delicious as a midday treat.

But who is to say that you can't have something delicious made from home? I think it is time to get back on track. Inspired by the Modern Girls Kitchen, I asked around to friends about their bring from home lunch ideas and tried to brainstorm a few of my own. Here are the highlights:

Two Meals in One!

Often some of my favorite lunches come from dinner the night before. We'll often make a bit too much for dinner just so we can have some for lunch the next day. Some "leftover" ideas from my friends and me:

  • Fried Rice! -- So easy and perfect for all those leftovers hanging out in your fridge. Just put a little oil in a pan, throw in your rice, some diced up veggies/meat, a teeny bit of soy sauce, maybe a little bit of black pepper for good measure, and a must ingredient (in my mind) -- an egg. Cook it all up together and you're good to go! Warms up well the next day, the day after that, the day after that, and the day after that...

  • Dirty Rice -- A variation on "fried rice" -- Rice cooked with ground meat, stock, and spinach.

  • Polenta with meat sauce

I'm a big soup fan and one of my favorites to make in bulk is chicken noodle soup -- I love the Barefoot Contessa's recipe -- I've posted about this recipe in a separate entry. I often cook up a large pot of it if someone gets sick and then we can all enjoy the leftovers for days. But also just warm and comforting for any time of year, especially now when it is quite cold out.

No Leftovers? Try this salad formula: My friend RH suggested a "salad formula" to me that encompasses some of those good for you nutrients with very tasty items. Do not be like me and be tempted by Chop't when you can make your own salads at home! (Although, I recently discovered that Chop't delivers... I like that).

Yummy salad = Whole grain + Lean protein + Diced veggies

  • Grain ideas: whole wheat pasta, whole wheat couscous, lentils, quinoa, bulgur, barley

  • Protein ideas: canned tuna, hardboiled eggs, black beans, white beans, leftover pork chops, low fat feta cheese, avocados (yes, not lean, but healthy fats!), Babybel cheeses

  • Veggie ideas: green onions, salsa, parsley, bell peppers, cucumber, blanched broccoli, mushrooms, baby spinach.

All drizzled with olive oil, flavored rice vinegar, sprinkle of furikake, or whatever else fits with the ingreidents.

Her particular fave is brown rice with avocado, fake crab meat, cucumber and furikake -- like a California roll salad (inspired by Teaism).

Another suggested combination, with a Mexican flare, is quinoa, black beans, salsa, shredded cheddar, and green onions.

Summer Ideas

So yes, still many months until summer (although perhaps some of you reading are enjoying summer right now...), but a simple summer idea (also courtesy of RH): white beans, black beans, diced tomatoes, olive oil, and salt/pepper.

So, I hope that these ideas are helpful to you in your quest for bringing lunch to work... it certainly was helpful to me to ask around and be inspired by my friends' ideas.

I'd love to hear about any of your successful lunch ideas!


Tangled Noodle said...

Great post! The advantages of bringing lunch on wallet and waistline are tremendous. I love the simple formula for salad, and rice is so versatile. For those who'd like something sandwich-y: rice, veggies or meats can be wrapped in small corn tortillas or mini pita which tend to have less cals and (sometimes) less additives than sliced bread.

Anonymous said...

Great lunch ideas! I have to do meat-free for my daughter's preschool lunch and always have to come up with a variety of ideas which is not always easy.

Sophie said...

Great lunch ideas! There are a lot of things that I eat a lot! salads & rices!!! MMMMM.... I cook a lot with grains & low GI fruits & vegetables & brown rice?.... So that I loose weight on the same time,.....Thanks!

Jackie said...

Thank you for your feedback! I'm hoping that all these lunch ideas get me back on track to bringing lunch to work on a regular basis. Maybe I'll try keeping track of the lunches I bring from home for a week...