Healthy food at work!

Three lunch containers with Shepherd's Pie, a salad and pureed tomato soup with baguette crackers.

It’s so hard to eat well at work sometimes. The cafeteria and fast food options are always the quickest and easiest, it seems, so sometimes it’s easy to forget about having a good, balanced meal at work. But a little bit of planning on the weekend might help through the week, if you’re lucky! See the image above? This was my lunch at work today. In fact, I’m just finishing up the soup now. (Sorry that the image is a bit blurry but by the time I realized, most of the food had already been devoured!)

Make-ahead meals are not only better on your pocketbook, but also on your morning prep and your waistline. I sometimes find it hard to plan my day’s meals nutrition-wise if I know I’m going to grab “something” at the cafeteria later because I didn’t have the foresight or time to pack something before work.

Today’s lunch consisted of things I prepared this weekend. Let’s take a look at each one and how easy it was to make each one…

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Hoisin beef stirfry

A white rectangular plate shows off a beef and vegetable stirfry meal with a pair of black chopsticks resting on the napkin beneath the plate.I think I posted something very similar to this a while back, but I’m revisiting it. I’ve changed up the ingredients a bit, including the amount of hoisin sauce and spices, as well as adding a can of water chestnuts (which were a fantastic addition!).

Stirfry lunch or dinner is a nearly no-guilt meal for me. So long as I watch the sodium, don’t add much in the way of oil, and am careful with what sauces I add (and how much), I think it’s a pretty healthy way to eat. And loading it up with veggies but just a little bit of meat allows you to spread out a small portion of meat (especially if that’s all you have) between more people/portions.

You see, I’m not much of a raw-veggie fan, but stirfry needs to be crunchy. Warmed through but still undercooked enough to have that crunch. A floppy, mushy stirfry is just nasty, so the key here is a high enough heat to warm quickly while preserving the crunch of the veggies, but not so high that it burns, along with cooking it very quickly. Cooking it on a lower heat just boils or simmers it in whatever you’re cooking it in. I am by no means a master at this. I just kind of eyeball it and judge by how the food feels against the spatula.

So I had some strips of an Eye of Round roast in the freezer that I hadn’t cooked up yet and decided that was going to be the meat of the dish. Here’s what I did…

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Low-carb adventures: quick sweet beef stir-fry

A bowl of veggies, beef and egg noodles.

I was craving Chinese food one lunch-hour while I was on vacation. But Chinese can get expensive and I’ve been trying to cut back on MSG (which gives me migraines), sodium, and extra spending. 😉 So I raided my fridge and freezer to see what I could do. Before long, I had drummed up the fixings for a really quick stir-fry for lunch. Here’s what I did…

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Low-carb adventures: cauliflower for breakfast!

A baked patty made out of mashed cauliflower topped with a dollop of ketchup.

This endeavour to make healthier meal choices has really opened up a lot of new foods for me. One thing I’ve discovered is that I really enjoy cauliflower. I used to prefer broccoli, but now I’m finding that I prefer cauliflower. I love both, however! But this story is about cauliflower, so let’s focus on that.

Earlier in the week, I had made up a pureed curried cauliflower soup, as well as some garlic/lemon roasted cauliflower for a different meal. They both needed to get used up and I was looking for an alternate to the potato hash I used to make for brunch for hubby and I on the weekends. I still wanted something similar to potatoes and had even considered some kind of potato/tuna patty, so that I wouldn’t get so much potato. You see, I love potatoes, but I know they’re not ‘the best’ food to have a lot of. So I had heard you could mash up cauliflower like potatoes, so I got cracking and ended up experimenting. Here’s what I did…

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Christmas leftovers stew

A bowl of stew with a spoon sticking in it.We all end up with leftovers at Christmas (or whatever holiday you celebrate!), don’t we? I know I do. Not only did we have leftover chicken from our Christmas-Day-at-home this year, but also turkey that Mom sent home with us the night before.  We had an entire veggie tray that was just going to waste, too. So, I put  on my thinking cap, set my big stew pot on the stove and started to clean out the fridge. Here’s what I did…

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Making something coherent out of scraps

Stir fried chicken and veggies on pan-fried noodlesIt happens to us all at some point or another: looking into the fridge is suddenly akin to a train wreck or horror film — truly gruesome but impossible to ignore.

Science experiments and unidentifiable lumps are hidden in every corner and you have to dig through questionable containers and ziplock baggies before you find what you’re looking for.

It could be in the form of one single red pepper just starting to look a little worse for wear, but still edible, if  cooked.That half an onion which is beginning to dry out but would do well if heated up.Oh look, the green onions are starting wilt on the ends, but those can be chopped off and the rest salvaged.

Sounds pretty bleak, doesn’t it?

There’s hope yet!

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Bored with leftovers? Make butter chicken… pizza??

Pizza made out of naan bread, butter chicken, cauliflower and roasted garlic havarti.Over the weekend, I found myself craving Indian cuisine and with my husband’s birthday needing a proper dinner, I thought I’d treat us both to a great meal. Sadly, our usual choice of delivery restaurants has been disappointing as of late. You see, I love Indian seasonings, but being a “super-taster”, I cannot handle really spicy foods. So I tend to purposely order things like butter chicken, which tends to be a milder dish (maybe not traditionally, but a lot of restaurants we’ve been to tend to make it rather mild). The one we’ve been ordering from for years has gradually made theirs more and more spicy until it’s gotten to the point that it is downright painful for me to eat. My hubby has enjoyed it, but I’ve literally given up on it after a few bites.

As a result, I have begun trying several of the Indian-inspired sauces made by VH. Continue reading