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Tuesday, 17 November 2015

FOOD | HEALTHY LUNCH IDEAS

So I don't know about you, but I've never been good at cooking/baking/experimenting with food. I've tried to be, but it just doesn't work. I don't know what flavours work well with others (and usually I'm too scared to experiment and try) and I've had my fair share of embarrassing cooking stories including mash potatoe, salad and, um, £200 in cash hidden in the microwave. But the less said about that the better...

The one thing I do feel I'm getting better at though (with the help of Pinterest anyway) is lunches! I've always been pretty content with a sandwich for lunch and if I add a packet of crisps to the ensemble, then, well, I feel like the Mary Berry of the lunch world. Move over British Bake Off lot, I've just had a ham and tomatoe sandwich with cheese and onion crisp! WHOA. CALM DOWN THERE. THAT'S ONE HELL OF A CRAZY MIX.


But in all seriousness, since working in an office (oh yes, that old gem again, I have my dream job now, so sue me for bragging) means a) I'm sat on my arse all day b) I'm so, so far away from takeaway places.

I suppose it's swings and roundabouts really. In my old job, I could walk to Mcdonalds, Burger King (in fact Burger King was practically right across from our shop), Subway and this yummy Chinese place in less then five minutes. And me and my work colleagues would often pop down to Ed's diner or the Whitehouse for a long lunch (and a well deserved glass of wine). But in my old job, despite my shoddy eating habits, I was on my feet all day.

Now I'm sitting down a lot but also because I can't yet drive legally, I have to bring my own lunch to work with me everyday regardless, because I don't have any means of leaving the office to grab something from a nearby shop. The office is well out of the way of MK central and the closest places to get food is at Sainsbury's by the pub (still a five minute drive away, and I'd totally choose the pub over Sainsbury's any day) or a M&S garage...somewhere or other.

So it's safe to say I've been relying a lot on Pinterest for quick and easy healthy lunch ideas. Some have been delicious and some have been a hit and miss - so I'm going to share a few of these with you. 

Inspire Magazine Online - UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle blog | Food | Healthy lunch ideas; Inspire Magazine; Inspire Magazine Online; Healthy Food; lunch ideas; career

This tomatoe cucumber salad with olives and feta is super yummy and is something I've made a few times now. It strays away from your typical 'leafy' salad but is also quite healthy because although you're skipping out on the lettuce and such, you're also skipping out on the pasta which, to me, seems to be the usual alternative to a green salad. The olives are what really make it and add the flavour and I would have never of thought of adding these into a salad. It's real easy to do - just throw it all together in a bowl and season with a dash of olive oil and some salt and pepper if you so wish.

The actual recipe uses a dill and garlic dressing but I found it had enough flavour just with the olives and the seasoning so chose not to add the dressing. All in all this took me less then five minutes to make and cost me less then a fiver for a large bowl of it, meaning it could probably do me for lunch two or maybe even three times a week. 

Next, the wraps.

Oooh, I do love a good wrap. They seem just that tad more healthy to be then bread and it eliminates the possibility of soggy bread too *shudder*. 

These Italian wraps I've actually made today and they are GIANT. But, again, they've been quick and easy to make and have tons of flavour. And I love salami also, which is another thing I never thought about adding to a wrap. I don't actually know what provolone is, and roasting peppers just seemed like so much effort to me so I swapped these for sun dried tomatoes. I saved money this way too as I got a little mixed pot in tescos with some mozzarella (which I'll use for another lunch) mixed with the tomatoes. It meant the pot gave me just enough for these ingredients too, so I wasn't paying out extra for full jars of sun dried tomatoes for example that wouldn't get used. BOOYA. Saving money.

And the ones that didn't work...

Inspire Magazine Online - UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle blog | Food | Healthy lunch ideas; Inspire Magazine; Inspire Magazine Online; Healthy Food; lunch ideas; career

These mini bread things I was probably most disappointed about because it looked SO yummy and just tasted...well, so not. First of all it was quite fiddly to make for and eat in work but I don't doubt that it would be better for a side order or a starters when having dinner at home, or even an evening snack. And second of all, I felt it didn't taste particularly nice because I didn't manage to find any garlic salt so had to substitute it for something similar. This is one of those instances where I found you have to be quite spot on with your ingredients and I think that's one of the things I struggle about with cooking - if I don't have something in, I don't know what to substitute it for or even if I CAN swap it with something else. Whereas with the salad, I chose to forgo the dressing and add my own seasoning - that worked well - but with this one, the seasoning for the bread I used just didn't work at all.

So what I'm trying to say here with the ones that went wrong is I'm no way saying these particular ideas aren't very nice altogether, I'm just saying that by attempting to make them my own, I've discovered which ones need to be spot on with the ingredients and which ones you can have a bit more creativity with. 

This spinach feta wrap (not pictured) just didn't work for me and I don't know why. I think maybe I didn't cook the eggs properly (they weren't very fluffy) and the mushrooms had no flavour which is a shame cause I really love mushrooms. I did use all the right ingredients and, admittedly, the whole thing wasn't horrible, it still tasted okay and not nasty, but it didn't taste nice either. I'd probably try making this one again though as maybe it's just an example of experimenting with a recipe until you get it right.

Please don't ask me what that other photo is because honestly? I don't know. I think its an avocado salad thing but who knows. The point is, it tasted as bad as it looked. That's all you need to know...

Do you experiment with your lunches? Or do you just grab something quickly from the shops? Let me know!

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4 comments:

  1. The feta salad looks delicious.
    Most of the time I have a sandwich or a wrap for lunch. Occasionally I'll have a salad type lunch, something like tuna nicoise,
    I don't usually have problems putting tastes together. You'll sometimes find that if something isn't quite coming together a tiny bit of salt is all that's needed.
    Keep experimenting your taste skills will grow!!

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    1. Thanks! That's a good idea actually, salad tends to go with so much! x

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  2. I hardly ever buy lunch at the store. Most days we just prepare something quick and easy... and healthy and nutrition ;-)

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    1. You're clearly a natural at eating healthy haha x

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