Back To Work With A Bounce In Your Step! Yes Really!!

Beef & Pork Ragù Tagliatelle

For those of you who didn’t go back to work last week, today is the day of reckoning. It’s going  to be hard to return to a routine, after all the fun and relaxed feel of the past few weeks. The New Year is underway. For many, that might mean a new approach to eating at work, to save a few bob on take aways and get a bit healthier in the process.  
A homemade lunch is the best way to feed yourself during your working day. It’s the one way you can guarantee to know exactly what you are eating. Which, if you are trying to lose some weight, is highly important. Also when you have set yourself the goal of embracing a more ‘clean eating’ diet, being sure of what is in your lunchbox is a big plus toward achieving it.

A few tips below may help you on your way to eating for good health and wealth in 2018.

As the dietary experts will say, a good lunch box should be balanced. It should contain carbohydrate in some form – bread, rice or pasta. Follow this with protein from meat, fish, eggs or pulses. Add dairy like yogurt or cheese and finish with  fresh veggies in a salad or fresh fruit. Preferably both! When you abide by these basic rules, creating a perfect lunch box for work is easy. Try this delicious Bolognese Pita Pockets recipe from Ballymaloe Foods!
 

Pita Pockets with Ballymaloe Bolognese Sauce

Top tips for a good work lunch box:

1. For sandwiches, choose wholemeal bread rather than standard commercially made white bread. It’s tastier, more filling and way more nutritionally beneficial than your average sliced white pan.
2. If you’re having a supper with pasta or rice, cook a bit extra to use for a pasta or rice salad for your lunch box the next day. Kill two birds with one stone.
3. Make sandwiches more sustaining by adding an extra layer. Double decker sandwiches made with three slices of bread allow you to change it up by putting the protein of meat or cheese in one layer and salad bits in the other layer.
4. Choose oily fish like smoked mackerel or tuna which contain important Omega 3 fatty acids. Mix with cold pasta or rice and fresh veggies for a quick salad.

5.  Lay off the chocolate and biccies and make yourself a healthy yogurt pot instead. You can opt for a ready done one with natural yogurt layered with fruit puree, like those from Glenilen Farm and Killowen Farmhouse. Or else, choose the natural yogurt that both these producers make on their farms, and layer it with chopped fresh fruit and crunchy granola. Makes a great mid-morning snack, in place of the Kit Kat or other commecial confectionary you might normally be eating with your coffee!

choose yogurt pots from glenilen or killowen

6. Make soup or stews in bulk to keep you going a few days. Invest in a decent vacuum flask and food flask to keep your soup or stew hot till lunch time.

7. For special diets requirements like gluten free items, look to Foods of Athenry for superb range of quality crackers and toasts to eat with cheese, dips and fruit at lunch time. Great quality that even those who don’t need to choose them, will choose the anyway, especially for the tastes.

8.  Pulses and beans make great additions to winter salads to add bulk and protein in your lunch box. Canned pulses like chickpeas and butterbeans are versatile and convenient. Dried pulses are more economical, but need to be soaked before cooking.

9. Make the most of all the food leftovers you have at home to make up a lunch box. For example, if you roast a chicken, always boil the carcass for a wholesome chicken broth, with the addition of a few veggies like carrots, onions and celery. Bulk it out with noodles or barley. Delicious.

10. Constructing a healthy and nutritious lunch box is not that difficult, once you get into the rhythm of it. Like all menu planning, it just needs a bit of advance thought and awareness of what you are going to be eating during the week. Do as the housewives of old did, make a list of ideas for the week ahead and stick to the plan! Make life as easy as possible for yourself by doubling up on cooked main courses for dinner so you will have leftovers for a lunch box. This works particularly well for cooked meats, pasta and rice dishes. Who wouldn’t want to tuck into last night’s Chilli Con Carne for lunch, on a nippy winter day?!

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