What I Ate Wednesday – Lunch Lately

Wellcoooooome Wednesday!!!

Sorry. I’m just excited that it only feels like Tuesday, but it’s already Wednesday! Best Feeling Ever.

Since I started work again and put myself on a budget, I’ve been a little worried about what I’d be eating, whether it’d be healthy, and whether I’d be able to avoid eating out and spending too much money. {For the record, I have been keeping to my $30/week grocery budget! I’m still under my overall budget, but have been slipping in certain areas…I’ll be sure to give you all an update at the end of the month!}

Luckily, it was super easy to get back on the healthy workweek lunch wagon. I do miss the leisurely breakfasts and lunches I was enjoying at home, but my lunches haven’t been too shabby! So this week I’m linking up with What I Ate Wednesday to share my first week of work lunches.

As Jenn at Peas & Crayons puts it:
WIAW is about food and fun! It’s about making new friends, breaking out of a food rut, noting changes in your diet/lifestyle, inspiring yourself & others, embracing fruit & vegetables, nourishing your body with the foods that work for you, finding new ways to eat your favorite foods, and so. much. more. ❤
Be sure to check out Jenn’s post to see who else is linking up today.
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The first “Sunday food prep” meal I made for lunches last week was a curry quinoa. I sauteed kale, celery, ginger, garlic & onions in a bunch of Indian spices (curry powder, coriander, cumin seeds, & turmeric) then stirred in cooked quinoa. It made 3 servings – one I ate at home with a tortilla (see above) and the other two I brought in a tupperware to work!
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Didn’t think I could say bye to my breakfast for lunch meals forever, did you? I am super thankful that my new office is just around the corner from my old one, AKA only 8 blocks from my apartment! I have plenty of time to bike or walk home for lunch and cook up a quick simple, healthy, clean meal…like avocado & toast + eggs & salsa 🙂
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Pretty much the exact same meal, except I loaded my eggs up with goat cheese instead of salsa because I had run 5 miles that morning and wanted some extra protein! That bread is whole wheat flaxseed bread I found at the Farmers Market and it is AMAZING. Small slices so they’re only 70 calories a pop, and it’s got a great texture since it’s loaded with flaxseeds – hello protein and Omega-3s!
This week, I went super ultra cheap for my lunches. I use the Safeway Just For U app pretty regularly to find deals at the grocery store (it even gives you personalized deals based on the items you buy the most!) and this week, I noticed that they were offering a free bag of chopped salad with your purchase. I checked out the ingredient list and it actually didn’t seem too bad, so I picked up the Asian variety:
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The dressing isn’t exactly low fat, but I figured all the cabbage and carrots made up for it!
To bulk up the salad enough to make it stretch a few meals, I mixed in 3/4 cup (dry) of cooked quinoa right after it finished cooking. Raw cabbage is kind of rough on the digestive system, so I figured the hot quinoa would cook it and mellow it down a little.
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Winner winner quinoa dinner! It was super tasty!
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I had time to run home for lunch yesterday and enjoyed a bowl with the wonton strips that the salad came with. Today I am anticipating running errands at lunch, so I brought bowl #2 in a tupperware! I think I’ll add sriracha today too…it would go perfectly with the sesame dressing!
That’s it for week 1 of my workday eats!
Check out some other installments of Lunch Lately to see how I eat healthy during the workweek:
1 2 3 4
How often do you eat out?
Do you prep your breakfasts or lunches?

How to Eat Well if You’re a Busy 20-Something

My dear blog, you have been neglected this week. My dear blends (blogfriends), you have been neglected as well. To make a long story short, work has been cray cray. And it will continue to be cray cray until our Legislative Symposium is over and done with on Wednesday.

As an apology, I offer you pictures of the food I have been enjoying. Because even with work being as busy as it is, I’ve mostly managed to eat a homemade lunch at least 4 days out of every week, and have eaten dinner at home just as often. (OK, so yesterday I had an Amy’s microwave burrito for lunch. Sorry I’m not sorry.)

Let these photos serve as inspiration! Join me – let’s prep our food on Sundays and eat well during the week. No slaving away in the kitchen necessary…unless you’re into that sort of thing 🙂

Breakfast

avocadotoast

Avocado toast. This one really got some mixed feedback on Instagram…apparently not everyone thinks avocados are the best thing ever invented EVER. Who knew? {on a related note, leave it to my family members to tell me my food looks gross, ha!} Prep time: 5 minutes.

overnightoats

These are last night/this morning’s Overnight Oats. 1/2 cup oats, 1/2 cup almond-coconut milk, 1/4 cup plain nonfat Chobani, half a banana and some mango. This was the first time I ever actually finished overnight oats! Usually cold oatmeal makes me gag. I credit the Chobani…their plain flavor is actually palatable! Prep time: 5 minutes the night before.

kindbar

At the end of the 5K I ran, they had boxes of KIND Bars for all the participants to take. I grabbed, err, 4 different flavors to sample.  This one was my ABSOLUTE favorite. The chocolate and cherries make it taste like candy!

Lunch

lunch

This is how most of my lunches go – I make a pot of some kind of grain/legume on Friday night, mix it up with veggies, and then eat it throughout the week with a tortilla (or in this case, tortilla chips). Prep time: 30 minutes when you make it ahead of time, 3 minutes to reheat and devour!

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I already showed you all this picture on Monday, but that Kale and Chickpea saute is a prime example of my typical lunch. I made two small servings and bulked it up with the pictured brown rice and toast. Prep time: 20 minutes when you make it ahead of time, 3 minutes to reheat and devour!

Dinner

asparagus

#yolkporn central! This was an awesome weekend dinner that I accompanied with sweet potato fries and wine. In a perfect world, I’d eat a big breakfast and lunch everyday, followed by a snacky dinner. Prep time: 30 minutes.dodgeballdinner

A perfect pre-dodgeball dinner. Tons of quinoa and roasted green beans. It was super filling, protein packed, but didn’t leave me feeling too bloated to run around and throw balls at people. 😉 Prep time: 20-25 minutespeanutchicken

My amazing Chicken in Spicy Peanut Sauce dinner that I was obsessed with and shared with you all. Still dreaming about this meal. Prep time: 30 minutes, less if you’ve made the rice ahead of time!

sandwich

I used most of a can of chickpeas to make the aforementioned Chickpea & Kale saute, and then I mashed the leftover chickpeas with some cream cheese (I didn’t have plain yogurt!), lemon juice, salt and pepper…Then I piled on some roasted red peps and spinach and called it a Chickpea Salad sandwich 🙂 Prep time: 10 minutes

miniturkeymeatloaves

After 3 months of being subscribed to Cooking Light magazine, I finally tried out a recipe. It was for Mini Greek Style Meatloaves, which I made into Mini Mexican Style Meatloaves.. because I am me, and I love cilantro. Paired with a mango salsa, it was AMAZING! Prep time: 30 minutesturkeyburger

Last night, I plopped the mini meatloaves on a thin bun and called it a turkey burger. Win. Prep time: 25 minutes (or however long your fries take to bake)

What I Eat if I Do Go Out

jamba

Several Friday mornings this month I’ve craved Jamba Juice. I think it must be the dodgeball beers on Thursday night that make me feel like I need to load up on nutrients Friday morning! I’ve been trying their fruit + veggie smoothies and, while they don’t taste as great as the purely fruit ones, at least I feel revived!

lowbrau

These are duck fat fries from LowBrau. I say if you eat healthily during the day, a bag of fries and an IPA makes a fine dinner 😉 Balance, people! They were screamin’ hot, and super crispy! We weren’t a huge fan of the beer cheese pictured (it reminded us too much of processed nacho cheese), so we ordered another garlicky cheese and were totally in business.

burgersnbrew

Burgers & Brew is one of T-Man’s favorite restaurants, so we go pretty often. Their burgers are amaaaazing, but often a lot to handle. I started getting this Turkey Avocado Melt and hooo boy is it good! Lots of protein and it is STUFFED full of avocado. Definitely recommend if you live in Sacramento or Davis!

What are your go-to breakfasts and lunches during the work week?

How often do you eat out during the week?

Lunch Lately

As I’ve mentioned, um, almost every time I’ve blogged this month, work has gotten crazy busy. Generally it just means that I’m always busy, and that my desk looks like this:

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However, it also means that I can’t take long leisurely lunches. I am the only assistant, as well as the receptionist in my office, which often means that when I’m not there and something needs to be done, or the phone’s ringing, or there’s a FedEx guy coming with an important package…sh*t gets cray cray.

There’s not lots of time to walk (or bike) home, whip up something for lunch, clean up and come back in less than an hour. I’ve also been trying to keep to my 3x per week workouts, which usually means lunch happens afterwards at my desk.

So here’s how I solve the problem of “I don’t have much time + I want to be healthy + I’m kind of cheap and don’t want to eat out”:

My most common lunch is leftovers, or whatever dish I made a big pot of on Sunday for lunches the following week. Usually this involves beans or, in the summer, some kind of grain like quinoa that is good to eat cold.

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  • This week: chipotle stout chili. Inspired by a Beeroness recipe, it has a healthy amount of chipotle, Stout beer, and even quinoa! Lots of protein and fiber in this one.

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  • An experiment involving lentils and chipotles (I am on a chipotle kick lately!) – it wasn’t blogworthy, but it served its purpose as lunch for a few days.

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  • Soup soup soup. This one was from a recent trip to my parents’ house…you know, one of those trips that ends with Mom rummaging through the fridge and saying, “Here, take this! I bought too much hummus at Costco! Have some soup!” Her Carrot Ginger soup is the best. In fact, the lunch I packed today includes some leftover turkey meatloaf she sent me home with last night! I added a side of broccoli…. for health 😉
  • As pictured, I also eat a lot of Wheat Thins. We’re running low on snacks in our office pantry, but Wheat Thins are always in stock. Not ideal, but they do the job!

Speaking of soup… I eat a LOT of soup cups. It started when I had a broken hand and couldn’t make much of anything else for lunch. There are a few brands that have pretty good nutritional stats, and many are less than $2 each. Score.

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  • This was actually a picture I sent to T-Man to show him my firm’s new coffee cups (lol) but my favorite brand of soup cup is making a small appearance. McDougalls is probably the most filling one you’ll find (at about 340 calories and 15+g of fiber for their Split Pea/Black Bean varieties), the ingredients are good, and the flavor doesn’t disappoint.

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  • Eating Right is a new brand I spotted on sale at the grocery store this weekend. They are pretty good on keeping the scary ingredients to a minimum, and the first cup I tried on Monday was pretty tasty. They’re only 180-190 calories, but that means they leave me a little hungry. (Wheat Thins to the rescue!)

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A closer look

Another good quick lunch is microwave burritos. The good brands (like Amy’s Organic) tend to be more expensive than soup cups, at $3 each, so I don’t get them often. Yes, I realize I base my grocery shopping decisions on the basis of $1 difference…yes, I might be cheap. At least I can admit I have a problem 🙂

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  • This puppy (from evol foods) has been waiting in our office freezer as a back-up lunch in case I ever forget or don’t have time to plan out a lunch. I was pretty intrigued by the idea of a spinach and tofu burrito, haha.

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Pretty good nutritional stats, too!

And since we’re on the subject of pictures of food I eat at the office, here’s my most common breakfast and one that I don’t have as often, but am trying to work into my weekly routine:

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  • Greek Yogurt (I buy whatever brand is on sale, but Oikos is my favorite!) + a Fiber One 90 calorie brownie. I eat this at least 3 days per week, and I love it. My beef with greek yogurt is that it has zero fiber…so pairing it with a Fiber One brownie is the perfect answer, as each one has 5g of fiber! AND THEY’RE DELICIOUS! I won a box in a giveaway from Christina at Hungry Meets Healthy, and I’ve been buying them regularly ever since.

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  • Smoothies. I’m really trying to make smoothies happen, you guys. I have a blender, and T-Man has a blender, and I almost always have frozen bananas & fruit on hand…But they don’t keep me full very long. Also, we both have roommates, and whenever I plan to make a smoothie in the morning, one always seems to be asleep or on a work conference call and I’d hate to run the noisy blender. The above smoothie was pretty good though: frozen banana, blueberries, juice/zest of an orange, and a dollop of peanut butter.

What is your favorite quick n’ easy lunch?

Do you ever choose price over flavor?

Mexican Pizza

I bought a bike this week!

The summer I returned from a year studying abroad, I went to visit my friends at UCSB who were just graduating. I was fortunate enough to inherit Daisy, my graduating friend Mallory’s purple beach cruiser, and I looooved her! But I had to leave her when I moved home, and have been bikeless ever since.

Welp, my chauffeur boyfriend just started working on a congressional campaign (70+ hours a week) so I realized that I needed a bike. Thus, Daisy 2.0 was born.

I can now leave home 7 minutes before work and get there on time! I can stop at home and change before getting to a 6:45pm dodgeball game! And most importantly, I can bike home at lunch and have time to make a delicious and nutritious meal. Enter: Mexican Pizza.

One good thing about T-Man working so much is that I can make food with beans in it. He will try pretty much anything I make…Anything, that is, that doesn’t include mushrooms (okay), tomatoes (understandable), or BEANS (what?!). This is a problemo, people. I love beans. They’re full of fiber and protein, and you can work them into so many dishes! Like this “pizza”.

Mexican Pizza with Pico de Gallo
Serves 1
2 tortillas (I just discovered La Tortilla Factory‘s Fiber & Flax corn tortillas… only 90 calories + 5 grams of fiber in 2 tortillas!)
1/2 cup refried beans (I used a fat-free variety from Trader Joe’s Jose’s)
1/4 cup zucchini, sliced (or veggies of your choice)
2-3 tbs shredded cheese
1-2 tsp hot sauce
oil of your choice

Pico de Gallo
for 1 pizza
1/2 tomato, diced with seeds and juices removed
1/4 cup onion
1/2 jalapeno, diced (optional)
1 tbs lime juice
1 tbs fresh cilantro, chopped

1. Combine hot sauce and refried beans in a microwave-safe container. Microwave until warm, probably no longer than a minute.

2. With your stove at medium heat, add a small amount of oil to pan (I used my misto). While it’s heating up, spread 1/2 of bean mixture onto a tortilla. Carefully place, tortilla side down, on the pan. Decrease heat to low.

3. Add sliced veggies on top of the beans. At this point, I covered the pan so that the veggies would cook through a little bit. Once veggies are cooked, add as much (or as little) cheese as you want. Feel free to add seasonings at this point

4. Spread remainder of bean mixture on 2nd tortilla and place on it on top (tortilla side down again). Cover until heated through.

5. While you wait, dice up the ingredients for your Pico de Gallo and toss together.

6. If desired, add more cheese. Note: I always desire more cheese.

7. Remove from heat, top with pico de gallo, and chow down!

Sure, it’s not authentic, but it’s a super simple, filling and pretty nutritious meal. You can make it so many different ways: crisp up the tortillas in some oil, use different veggies or mashed black beans instead of refried…the possibilities are endless!

Yesterday, I omitted the second tortilla, added a boatload of bell peppers, onions and tomatoes, and made it into an open-faced tostada of sorts:

And check out the approximate nutrition facts for the above meal:

Quick, healthy lunches: I have found you!

Now excuse me as I get ready to bike home at lunch (because I can) and bake cookies for the boyfriend’s work BBQ. I think my famous orange creamsicle cookies will most certainly convince them to let him have a few days off…Recipe and photos to come soon 🙂