Healthy, Easy Lunchbox 10/05/11
The busy school and work season can really drain motivation. Make some of these healthy convenience foods to ease your meal-planning workload.
The ever-looming barrier to eating a healthy vegetarian or whole foods diet has always been, for me, convenience foods. The stuff that you can just grab on the fly is always loaded with junk, and it inevitably makes me want more of it and less of the real stuff. Now that the busy school season has started and dreary weather has my motivation going about as far as my mug of hot tea, packaged food is looking friendlier and friendlier.
Not to worry though. Carnivores and junk food connoisseurs don’t corner the market on convenience foods. Plan ahead of time to make double batches of these lunchbox-friendly gems that can be portioned out individually and set aside for a rainy, cloudy, sunny, hot or cold day. (Come on…do you really need a reason to fall back on healthy, homemade convenience food?)
Chickpea Salad (and Stuffed Peppers)
Stuffed peppers can be filled and cooked again as a hot meal, sure, but if you are sticking them in a lunchbox or bento box, they’ll be soggy and weird by the time you get to them later.
Instead, I like to make a big batch of chickpea salad and keep it in the fridge for a week or so. It is fabulous on a sandwich, dipped with celery or stuffed in peppers.
Tip: Instead of cutting your pepper truly in half, make it slightly deeper so that it is less likely to tip and spill the filling.
Hummus and Veggies
Sure, you know about hummus, but do you really use it to its fullest potential? Try making a new kind of hummus each week – the combinations are endless. You can try it with different kinds of beans, with different flavours, different mix-ins and as a dip or spread for a variety of vegetables and crackers. Put a small portion of hummus in a small container in your lunchbox with the complimentary veggie or crackers in a separate container to prevent any sogginess.
Muffins of All Shapes and Sizes
Don’t have much room in your lunchbox? Try mini-muffins! From savoury corn to sweet desserts, muffins never get old. And the best part is, muffins are some of the sneakiest convenience foods out there. You can make double or triple batches at a time, put them in the freezer, and then you can have just one or two whenever you need a quick breakfast or snack. Wrapped in foil, it’s a great lunchbox companion and will be thawed by lunch.
You don’t even have to plan for these foods. Make them up on a whim and then plan them in. You can never have too much of them in your fridge, freezer or lunchbox!