As we're all heading back into the office and back to the routines of our busy working lives, the return of meal prepping and packed lunches is upon us. For the past year, we haven't had the hassle of the Sunday night meal-prep, or the need to incorporate dedicated lunch ingredients on our weekly shopping list, as we've just been able to grab whatever is out of our kitchen cupboard.
So, to make this transition as easy (and as healthy) as possible, the Innermost team have put together their five favourite on-the-go lunch ideas, ranging from delicious homemade soups for those cold early mornings, to our nifty no-heat recipes.
1. Speedy Pasta Dishes
The great thing about pasta dishes is their versatility. Whether you choose a Penne or Tagliatelle shape, pesto or tomato sauce, or vegetable or meat filling, you're sure to be able to create a delicious meal that's perfect to batch cook and store in the fridge ready to enjoy hot or cold.
The Innermost team love a Chicken and Pesto Pasta dish, and we've got a great recipe for your inspiration below:
- Whole-Wheat Pasta (your shape of choice)
- Pesto (Green or Red)
- Chargrilled Chicken Pieces
- Chicken Broth
- Green Beans
If this wasn't quick enough for you, you can even make this delicious dish in one pot (because who wants to create a huge pile of washing up on a week night? We definitely don't.)
- Prep and chop your chicken pieces and bring to the pan. Cook until brown in olive oil and add herbs and seasoning of your choice to taste.
- Once browned, add in your uncooked pasta shapes and your chicken broth. Cover until cooked and let the pasta simmer.
- Depending on your tastes, add your green beans.
- Add your pesto of choice and stir until the ingredients are covered. Add spinach and tomatoes for extra flavour and nutrients.
Now you're ready to portion out for the week and enjoy!
2. Homemade Vegetable Soup
Soups are great on-the-go option. Just like pasta dishes, this lunch option is hugely versatile, easy to batch cook and low maintenance, as you can bring this meal into work in a flask to make transport to the office easy and reduce any waiting times in the staff room for that communal microwave.
Homemade soups are also a great affordable option as you can take advantages of in-season vegetables. These are really easy to freeze for use later down the line, and who doesn't love a heart-warming homemade soup on a cold day, too?
- Your Vegetables Of Choice
- Vegetable or Chicken Stock
- Tomato Paste
- Add proteins like Chicken and Beef to bulk out your meal and add extra nutrients.
- Reduce your vegetables of choice. To do this, you can either fry, boil or blend your veggies. However you see fit.
- Add these to a deep pan and cover with your stock. Bring to the boil and cover until the veggies are smooth. Add your seasonings! You could mix-up your lunch by adding some spices.
- Blend what is left to smooth out any lumps, and add your tomato paste to add some sweet flavour.
- It's that easy - you're done! Portion out and refrigerate or freeze, depending on when you want to use your batch.
3. Nutrient-Packed Smoothies
Smoothies can be made with your favourite fruits and vegetables, protein powders, seeds and yoghurts. If you're really tight for time, trying to integrate more nutrients into your diet, or just prefer a lighter lunch option, smoothies are a great (and really speedy!) option. They can also be really great for weight-loss, if that's your current fitness goal.
Need some inspiration? Here's one of our favourite recipes...
- Add all the ingredients into your blender.
- Pour your milk or milk alternative over the top, around half way up.
Yeah... it's that simple!
Use frozen fruit to add thickness and keep the cost of the recipes down. This also makes prep super easy and keeps the time down, making this great as an on-the-go affordable lunch option. This also means that you don't have to use your ingredients up before they go bad!
4. Tasty Protein Wraps
If you're a bit bored of sandwiches, a tasty chicken wrap is a great healthy and quick alternative! These also require no prep time in the office - no heat, no hassle!
- Chicken Pieces
- Whole-wheat Wraps
- Sliced Tomato
To make this prep even easier and to stay in the spirit of the ultimate on-the-go lunch, you can buy pre-cooked chicken pieces.
- Place your wrap on the plate and spread the hummus through the middle.
- Layer your lettuce, slice tomatoes and any other vegetable of choice.
- Place your chicken pieces over the top.
- Fold and roll to create the perfect wrap.
5. Overnight Oats
Popular for their slow energy release, tasty flavours and easy prep, if you're not making overnight oats yet, where have you been? Whilst these are a great breakfast option, we think that they are perfect for a quick and nutritious lunch, too.
Overnight (let the oats do the work for you).
- Milk or Milk Alternative
- Chia Seeds
- Toppings of Choice
- The Fit Protein
- Keep it simple. Pour 1 part oats and 1 part milk into your cup.
- Optional extra: add a tea spoon of seeds. We love Chia seeds.
- Add your yoghurt.
- Add some more milk, to your chosen consistency.
- Mix. Now pop in the fridge overnight ready to grab in the morning.
- The next morning, add your toppings of choice. We recommend some strawberries, honey and peanut butter. Yum!
Bonus - Protein-packed Snacks
To really spice up your lunchtimes and add an extra element to your lunches, why not add a snack? From homemade protein bars and pieces of fruit, to vegetable sticks mixed nuts, there are plenty of health-conscious snack options you can incorporate into your lunch routine.
Packed lunches don't have to be dull or a chore to make. Making yourself a healthy, delicious lunch not only gives you a midday reward to look forward to and motivate you through the morning, but allows you to save money and prioritise your healthy eating goals.