GUEST BLOG BY FAB GIOVANETTI
When it comes to January, it’s undeniable that everybody looks at the new year as a blank slate. However, the pressure we put on ourselves - including a list of resolutions that would put to shame a checkout car during online sales- inevitably leads to us not following through after February at the latest. When talking about changes, we should remember it’s all about incremental steps, and making sure we tackle each area of our lives in the most effective way. If improving your overall health is among your new year priorities, then your packed lunch should be the place for you to start with.
Approximately thirty meals every month are spent at - or preferably away from - your desk. Most times however, a healthy lunch option is off the cards for one of two reasons:
- The amount of time required to prepare the lunch the night before
- The undeniable truth: nobody wants to whip up an Instagram-worthy lunch at 6am (if you are out there, you rare specimen, I salute you)
TOP TIPS FOR LUNCH PREP
- Opt for bowls and salads you can easily store in jars. Leak-proof and easy to carry in your bag, when it comes to presentation, it’s undeniable that jars are way prettier than plastic boxes.
- The reason people use store-bought dressings is that their salad lacks of flavour. If you add a handful of toasted nuts and seeds, and one fresh herb, that’s sure to add flavour and texture. Store an olive oil and lemon juice combination in a small containers (I like to reuse old vanilla essence bottles) and you are good to go. Double win.
- Batch cook your grains: buckwheat, quinoa or lentils are my best picks. They all keep really well in an air-tight container for around three days in the fridge. The night before, take a few spoonfuls to make up your bowl or add to your salad - quinoa is best cold and at room temperature.
- If you are looking to go vegetarian or vegan for the month of January (check Veganuary online for more info), then as far as your protein goes nuts and seeds and grains give you plenty.
Today we’ll put this all info practice with a very simple salad with lentils, avocado, tomato and optional halloumi for a tasty final touch. You can make the lentil mix the night before, and add watercress and avocado in the morning. This makes three portions of lentil mix - will last two to three days in the fridge.
LENTIL AND HALLOUMI SALAD
WHAT YOU'LL NEED:
100g dried or canned green lentil, rinsed
Juice 1/4 lime
Juice 1/4 lemon
1 tbsp cider vinegar
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp ground cumin
1 small garlic clove, crushed
Handful mint, roughly chopped
250g cherry vine tomato, halved
3 halloumi slices (vegans simply omit halloumi)
Toasted pistachios to garnish
TO PREP THE NIGHT BEFORE
- Boil the lentils following pack instructions, rinse well, then drain thoroughly. Meanwhile, mix the citrus juices, vinegar and a pinch of salt in a salad bowl, then toss in mint. Let it sit for 10/15 minutes.
- Whisk together the oil, cumin, garlic, then toss into the onions with the cooked lentils and tomatoes.
- Cut 3 slices of halloumi, and have them marinating in lemon juice and mint. Cook the slices accordingly (I usually use a non-stick frying pan for 2 minutes on each side). Store in a container overnight.
In the morning simply add a bed of watercress in a Tupperware and half avocado - top with lentil mix and halloumi - despite what you may think, halloumi tastes delicious the day after.
Garnish your salad with pistachios for an extra wow-factor.
Photo Credit: Fab Giovanetti