Most of us at work often ask ourselves the same question everyday – “What shall we have for lunch?”. Taking a breather from our desks, catching up with our colleagues and enjoying a satisfying meal make lunch hour a mid-day break we all look forward to.
However, the options for nutritious and healthy lunches may be limited and sometimes, you wish you could prepare home-cooked meals (if only you had the time!). Here, we would like to share with you how you can easily prepare healthy lunchboxes with the simplest ingredients available!
Grocery Shopping List
To prepare the lunchboxes (or any meal), think of the three main components: carbohydrates, protein and vegetables. Choose your carbs from wholegrain tortillas, brown rice, sweet potatoes or noodles. Alternatively, experiment with these carbs-titutes if you’d like to go easy on carbs.
I would strongly recommend that you choose brown rice or wholegrains instead of white and refined carbohydrates. Also, purchase a variety of vegetables to get your fill of fibre and add colour and texture to your meal! I’ve come up with these lunchbox ideas using the above 10 easy-to-get ingredients and am happy to share them with you - try them out! Do feel free to switch them around with your preferred ingredients.
The Korean wave is growing stronger as ever – their dramas, movies, music… and their food! One of their traditional signature dishes, Bibimbap, is the favourite of many. Bibimbap is made of a bowl of rice, topped with ‘namul’ – an array of sautéed and well-seasoned vegetables. Traditionally it comes with two servings of proteins and eight types of vegetables. For a healthy diet, consume at least three to four servings of vegetables daily. For this, I used brown rice, an egg, stir-fried chicken strips and the ‘namul’ of carrots, cucumbers and lettuce.
- 2 tablespoons of Gochujang (Korean Red Chili Paste)
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vinegar
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- Mix the above, and serve.
2. Chicken Soup Noodles
A warm bowl of soup can be deliciously nourishing and easy to make. You just need to throw all the ingredients into a pot with the right amount of water and leave to simmer on the stove. Remember to not leave the stove unattended! Pour the soup into a glass jar – this is a good alternative to the bulky thermos flask; plus it looks fashionably cute, too!
Traditional Chicken Soup
- 1 whole chicken bone
- 1 medium carrot
- 1 medium potato
- 1 medium red onion
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon anchovies
- Salt to taste
- Boil all the above ingredients in 1.5L of water in a pot over low heat for at least 1.5 hours.
- Season with salt to taste.
3. Chow Mein with Chicken Chop/>
When you have less than half an hour to prepare your lunchbox the night before, grab whatever vegetables you have in your fridge and stir fry them with noodles for a quick meal. Try sweet potato noodles - it has a springy texture, doesn’t carry a strong aftertaste like the over-processed ones, and doesn’t require much oil or condiments. Grill a marinated chicken chop to go with the noodles, or you can opt for fish fillet, egg, tofu or tempeh. It’s entirely up to you!
- 1 small bowl of sweet potato noodles
- ½ medium carrot
- 5 tablespoons of corn kernels
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- Minced garlic
- A pinch of salt
- Pepper to taste
- Boil the noodles until cooked (translucent when done) and drain them.
- Sauté the garlic, followed by the carrots and corn kernels with olive oil.
- Add in the noodles. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Chicken Wraps
If you’re bored of rice, noodles, or the Asian staples, tortillas are a good option. They’re easy to create healthy meals with and easy to pack. Instead of drenching the ingredients in loads of sauces high in fat consisting of unpronounceable chemicals, make time to marinate your protein. You can do it on the weekends when you have more time!
- Wholegrain tortillas
- Chicken slices
- Grated carrots
- Butterhead cabbage
- Onions, sliced
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- Sauté the sliced onions and leave them aside.
- Pan fry the marinated chicken slices in a non-stick pan with olive oil.
- Arrange the ingredients in the centre of the tortilla and wrap them up. Cut diagonally to serve.
Photo credit: Claire Wong