Work Lunch + Quinoa and Chicken San Choi Bow Recipe
Wanna know the secret to cutting the office afternoon snack attack?
Eat an amazing lunch!
So simple, but so crucial.
When we eat the same ol' unsatisfying meal day after day, or simply don't eat enough, for lunch, it's no wonder we find ourselves raiding the kitchen in the break room or, worse, the vending machine come 3 o'clock. Instead, if you make your mid-day meal delicious and satiating by including some good fats and protein, those heavy eyelids and uncontrollable sugar cravings will become distant memories.
This was the case for me, at least. I used to eat some unexciting salad or vegetarian wrap every day for lunch. Two hours later, I'd be hungry, tired, and preoccupied with what I was going to have for my afternoon snack. At this stage, making, or going out to get, something healthy was all a bit "too hard" and I would end up reaching for something sweet (like a granola bar or chocolate) or filling (like nuts). In either case, I would overeat and then, soon after, feel queasy and bloated. Then I wouldn't look forward to cooking or going out for a yummy dinner. Quite the vicious cycle!
Now I bring my lunch to the office at least 4 out of 5 days per week, usually 5 out of 5 days. While there are plenty of cafes near my office, I much prefer cooking and bringing my own lunch because I like to eat clean and know what is going into my food. I make my work lunch as gourmet, delicious and filling as possible with quality ingredients and I rarely, if ever, need that afternoon snack or caffeine pick-me-up.
Yes, this does take forethought, time and preparation. We can get caught up in the "I don't have time" excuse but it all comes down to making feeling and looking better a priority in your life. If you are really committed to cleaning up your diet, cutting the afternoon sugar binge, and/or no longer feeling like you have to pry your eyelids open with toothpicks every afternoon, then you aren't too busy to do a bit of prep work in the kitchen.
Set yourself up for a healthy and nourishing week by dedicating some time on Sunday afternoon, Monday evening after work, or whenever you can carve out a little window, to do some slicing, dicing, steaming, boiling, roasting....whatever it takes. I'm not saying you have to spend hours on your precious weekend slaving over the stove when it's beautiful and sunny outside; I'm just making the point that allocating a little time to planning and preparing for the week ahead will do wonders for your health and your work productivity (since you won't be falling asleep at your desk every afternoon!). And you'll save money to boot!
If you're out of town on the weekend or just having one of those weeks where you just can't get yourself organised, that's ok! It happens. Just try to seek out a healthy lunch option that you will really enjoy. Order something new at the local cafe or go check out a new spot that you've been meaning to try and treat yourself to something delicious.
So, what should you pack for your yummy office lunch? Things like eggs and avocados are awesome lunchtime additions because they are quick and easy while providing good fats and protein that will stay with you for hours. I also love grain-like seeds such as quinoa, millet and amaranth which are all gluten free and high in protein, vitamins, and minerals. You can make these in big batches at the start of the week and use in a variety of different meals throughout the week.
Here is a great recipe that you can throw together and bring to the office to keep in the fridge for lunch during week:
Quinoa and Chicken San Choi Bow
- 500 grams / approx 1 lb organic ground chicken
- 1 cup raw quinoa
- 230 grams (about 1 can) water chestnuts, drained and chopped
- 1 medium knob of ginger, chopped
- 1 hot chili, chopped
- 1/4 cup tamari
- 1 tbsp coconut oil or macadamia nut oil
- 1 tsp sesame oil (optional)
- 10 iceberg lettuce cups
- 5 sprigs coriander/cilantro, chopped
- some diced carrot and capsicum/red bell pepper
- lime wedges
What to do:
Soak quinoa in water for at least eight hours, and preferably overnight. [This step is optional but highly encouraged as soaking helps deactivate the enzyme inhibitors that coat all grains/seeds/nuts/beans and will make them easier to digest]. Rinse soaked quinoa and cook in a saucepan with 1 and 3/4 cups water. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes until all the water has been absorbed. Heat coconut or macadamia nut oil in a wok/fry pan, add mince, chilies and ginger and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring constantly to break up any lumps. Add tamari and cook until the chicken is cooked through. Add to large bowl, mix in the cooked quinoa, diced carrot and bell pepper. Check seasoning, and add a dash of sesame oil if desired. Fill mixture into washed and trimmed lettuce cups and garnish with coriander/cilantro. Serve with lime wedges on the side.
YUM. I have thoroughly enjoyed these for lunch a few times this week, so I hope you do too! They could also be made for healthy appetizers if you're having people over for a lunch or dinner party.
Want to try some other recipes with quinoa as the star? How about this yummy warming recipe for breakfast!
What do you have for lunch that keeps you firing on all cylinders throughout afternoon? Share in the comments below!
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