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Now that we all work from home, those corporate kitchens and lunchtime chains adjoining the office – with $ 16 salads, Pret A Manger sandwiches, or sack bowls to take away – are a distant reminder of the day of the week. In theory, working from home offers endless lunch options, but in practice planning what to prepare another mid-day meal can be pretty low on your priority list. I've seen coworkers at Zoom swallow everything from peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to trail mix bags and energy bars to leftovers from their children's lunch. It's completely understandable – we're all just trying to get through one more day in this new normal. The problem with these quick, mindless meals, however, is that lunch can be crucial to our productivity throughout the day. Given the scheduling problem that can sometimes arise when working from home, you might be tempted to reach for sugary energy bars, processed meats with chemicals and man-made ingredients that affect our health, or even skip lunch altogether. In my opinion, these convenient but non-nutritious meals do not add to your health, happiness, or productivity.
After many conversations with coworkers and dietitians about what to eat when you're on the phone in a row and don't have time to cook, I've compiled a list of quick, nutritious solutions.
So, WTF should you have lunch while doing WFH? Below are seven healthy, tasty, and easy lunch ideas that can be quickly prepared the night before and take 10 minutes or less. Put on your headphones, join the three-hour conference call, or listen to a podcast while you prepare.
Related: Eat healthier and save time with these meals
Some quick, thoughtful meals
1. Scrambled eggs. They're high in protein and have good fats (especially if you add leftover meat). Get creative with a spice or two (think chili powder, paprika, nutritional yeast for the "cheesy" effect). You might be impressed! Scrambled eggs are known as the "Breakfast of Champions", but let's make it the "Lord of Lunches" too. If you prefer hard-boiled eggs, serve them with egg whites or avocado toast.
2. Overnight oats. There are hundreds of flavor options for overnight oat recipes. If you do this the night before, all you have to do is open the fridge. From peanut butter to pumpkin, here are 50 recipes from a content editor that has gone into depth on nutrition for women's prevention and health.
3. Smoothies. If you're more into smoothies or on the go, you can prepare these ahead of time, but be careful as many people load their smoothies with too much sugar, too many calories, and not enough fiber, protein, and fat that we need.
4. Tuna. It's high in protein and so versatile. I love the pre-seasoned cans and bags of low mercury tuna from SafeCatch or Wild Planet. And they also have sardines (don't knock them until you try them!), Salmon, and other products. Open a bag and place it on bread, over a salad or eat it with raw vegetables.
5. Loaded sweet potato. No baking necessary. Just wash it, prick it a few times with a fork, put it in the microwave for five minutes (or until it's soft), and you can open it up and make it palatable by adding black beans, cheese or fill up leftover chicken, or go sweet and add peanut butter, almond butter or honey to it. These inexpensive taters are high in fiber, anti-inflammatory, immune boosting, and satisfying.
6. Potpourri or snack plates. That's what I call them anyway. It's basically a mix of many things, including leftovers, and they're simple and delicious. Try a plate of these crackers, cheese, meat, hard-boiled eggs, and sliced vegetables. If you feel like ordering figs or dried apricots, or if you love avocado, add half an avocado to your plate with a handful of tortilla chips. Apples, pears, melons, or nuts are nice touches as long as the plate has some carbohydrates, some protein, and some fiber.
7. Quinoa, chicken breast, and vegetables. Have the chicken breast and quinoa cooked in advance (cook over the weekend or the night before) and then add vegetables. Here are some quinoa inspirations, from adding pesto to plant-based bowls with garbanzo beans and roasted vegetables.
You can always google for “quick and easy recipes for lunch”. However, if you prefer to have the work done for you, give something like this a try.
Below are some nutritious options that taste really good from companies I admire. You can find all of this in stores or on Amazon. If you don't use Amazon Fresh, Instacart, or any other online grocery delivery service, I highly recommend this.
Related Topics: How To Add Self-Care To Your Crazy, Busy Entrepreneur Days
Support entrepreneurs with these meals
1. Healthier ramen? Yes it exists. While I may have grown up with cup-o-noodles, Vite Ramen is more of a full diet ramen. Each pack contains up to 31g of complete protein, 9g of pre-biotic fiber, ALA omega-3 fatty acids and is formulated with a calculated approach to macronutrients and fiber to help us maintain energy. No deep frying or preservatives and it cooks in three minutes after your water is boiled.
2. Are you trying to cut carbohydrates? Jeanne David, founder and CEO of Outer Aisle, cut processed carbohydrates from her own diet and was one of the pioneers of the cauliflower-carb swap in 2013. As a mother of four, Jeanne's mission was to help people add more anti-inflammatory, low-blood sugar vegetables to their diets without the fuss of mealtime. Your keto avocado toast takes five to seven minutes and hits the spot. Personally, I'm a sucker for cauliflower pizza crust.
3. Make smoothies a chore. Helen Hall's Blender Bombs don't disappoint. The basic ingredients of all of Blender Bombs' flavors are the same and include superfoods like chia seeds, almonds, hemp seeds, flax seeds, walnuts, pecans, dates, bee pollen, local honey, cinnamon and vanilla pod. This energizing spirulina smoothie makes a refreshing lunch.
4. Healthier pre-made burritos? Very few will oppose this. EVOL Foods makes a great burrito as well as breakfast bowls and single servings – so good that the small business was acquired by Boulder Foods for $ 48 million back in 2013. These also work on the go.
5. Chef Jennifer Scism slapped Mario Batali on Iron Chef, which means her meal is at least worth a try. Scism, a retired restaurateur in New York, co-founded the Good To-Go brand for gourmet dehydrated dishes. It offers worldly meals, including Thai curry, pad Thai, bibimbap, and mushroom risotto. She has toured the world studying local foods for over a year and definitely considers it interesting for those who want more of an international torch at lunchtime.
6. If you're on a Paleo-friendly, Whole30-approved, keto, dairy-free, or gluten-free diet and still want some taste, get some of the Frozen Bowls and Skillet Meals from Primal Kitchen Foods. The founders are good friends and we use their oils, sauces and spices with every meal – from salad dressing to mustard and mayo to BBQ sauce and even a delicious and guilt-free Alfredo sauce. It's no surprise they sold for $ 200 million in Kraft.
7. Chips and guac? Oh yes you can! The Siete Foods team somehow managed to make grain-free tortilla chips, cheese sauces, hot sauces, and even taco clams that I swear they are crispy and taste amazing. They're great for "Taco Tuesday" hoes and my kids even love their chips.
8. While bars across the country aren't yet open, protein bars seem to be more popular than ever. If protein bars are your thing, look for bars with at least 10g of protein, less than 5g of sugar, and 3g of fiber. Some of my personal favorites from small businesses are herbal IQBAR (really a brain boosting bar!) And BHUfit bars. Avoid sugar alcohols as these can lead to gas and digestive problems.
Related: The Busy Business Owner's Guide to High Performance Lunches
Try a meal subscription
If you're curious about meal plans that make great dinners too, there are plenty of inexpensive meal plans to check out. Or surprise your team or your top executives with a one-week subscription. Entrepreneur recently posted a great list of food delivery companies here. If you're plant based, here are some options with honest reviews from The Beet.
I encourage you to put the quarantine banana bread in the back seat or on the weekends and try some of these quick lunches. How we refuel directly depends on how we work physically and professionally.