Whether it’s for school or work, packing a lunch box can be a bit of a challenge as you try to keep the meal as tasty, balanced and perhaps even as easy to whip up as possible. To avoid falling into a rut and to make lunch a time of the day worth looking forward to, here are some ideas that can easily take you from Monday to Friday.
1) Monday: Leftover food
This is perhaps the easiest option and one which most people tend to explore. Simply cook more than enough for Sunday dinner such that you can easily pack it into your lunchbox on Monday morning. Alternatively, if you had something like chicken for supper then you can simply make it into a salad or sandwich, while plain rice can be fried with a variety of vegetables or made into this delicious shrimp fried rice. Your imagination really is the only limit to new recipes you could come up with from leftover food.
2) Tuesday: Green power smoothie
On Tuesday, why not drink your lunch instead by simply blending yourself a power smoothie? You can carry a side of extra fruits if you like. Here’s a quick recipe to get you started:
- 2 cups fresh spinach
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup mango
- 1 cup pineapple
- 2 bananas
-Use at least one frozen fruit to chill your smoothie.
- Tightly pack 2 cups of leafy greens in a measuring cup and then toss into blender.
- Add water and blend until all leafy chunks are gone.
- Add mango, pineapple and bananas and blend again until smooth.
- Pour into a mason jar (I prefer these because they make me feel hipster but you can carry yours to work in whatever bottle you prefer)
- Sip this healthy deliciousness like a boss! Unless you’re not the boss in which case, sit quietly at your desk and sip like an employee.
3) Wednesday: Dijon potato salad
I love potato salads and one of my favourites is the Dijon Salad which is quite easy to whip up. I got the idea for this from Martha Stewart a while back, so you can bet your taste buds that it’s quite fancy! When steaming a lot of veggies, do them in batches. I find it easier that way. There’s your Wednesday lunch all sorted! Here’s the recipe:
- 1/2 Kg red potatoes, scrubbed and halved or quartered if large.
- 1 tablespoon white-wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- Coarse salt and ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
Place a steamer basket in a saucepan filled with very little water. Bring to a gentle boil. Add potatoes. Cover, and cook just until tender, 15 to 20 minutes, tossing occasionally.
In a serving bowl, combine vinegar and Dijon; season with salt and pepper. Add hot cooked potatoes; toss. Let cool, tossing occasionally.
Add oil and parsley to cooled potato mixture. Season with salt and pepper, and toss.
4) Thursday: Sandwich of choice
Ever built a sandwich so big you sat back starring at it hopelessly, not sure what end to tackle first? Don’t carry that to the office. It will only mess up your lipstick (if you’re a lady, that is). As you strive to perfect the fine art of sandwich-making, you will run out of fingers counting the many options available for a sandwich ranging from grilled bacon, lettuce and tomato, and ham to chicken. You can even draw inspiration from these 10 great sandwich restaurants in Nairobi. Carry all the ingredients separately and assemble them over lunch to ensure the sandwich is fresh.
5) Friday: Prawn and sweet chilli noodle salad
This will literally only take about 10 minutes to make in the morning.
- 3 nests medium egg noodles
- ½ large cucumber
- bunch spring onions, finely sliced
- 100g cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 green chilli, deseeded, finely chopped
- 200g cooked king prawns, defrosted if frozen
- zest and juice 2 limes
- 4 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
- 100g baby spinach leaves
- 25g roasted cashews
- Boil the noodles for 4 mins, then drain. Cool under running water, then drain again. Put into a large bowl, then using scissors, cut into shorter lengths.
- Halve cucumber lengthways, then scoop out the seeds. Slice into halfmoons and add to the noodles with the onions, tomatoes, chilli and prawns.
- Mix the lime zest, juice and chilli sauce to make a dressing and fold through noodles. Put a handful of spinach onto each serving plate, top with the noodles and cashews.