I know it’s tempting to lunch with the girls (or fellas) every day, dining anywhere from the local pizza joint to an indulgent restaurant. Not only is the food tasty, but the experience offers a fun way to bond with co-workers outside of work. Believe me, I’m not trying to take your fun away. I think it’s important to get out of the office every so often, but if you make it a habit, you might be surprised how quickly the pounds can add up. So, may I suggest some healthy choices that you can enjoy with your buddies in the work cafeteria? It’ll be almost as fun – and if you still need to get out – I highly recommend taking a walk after lunch.
Quinoa and black bean salad – Quinoa is often mistaken for a grain, but it’s actually a seed (that is often used in place of a grain). Rinse your quinoa before cooking to remove its coating (which can taste bitter or soapy). Add one cup of quinoa to two cups of water and bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cook for 15 minutes. Drain and rinse a can of black beans, and add them to the quinoa along with about one cup of prepared salsa. Add salt and pepper to taste, and you’re ready to pack this lunch for the road!
Tomato, Avocado and Cucumber Salad – This one is perfect for hot summer days, and it really couldn’t be easier. Just cut the tomato, avocado and cucumber into small bite-sized pieces and drizzle with oil and balsamic vinegar. If you’d like, you can also add salt and pepper.
Pasta e Fagioli – There are a lot of soups that can easily be packed for a healthy lunch at work, but this is a classic that seems to work well in any season.
2 Celery stalks
1 medium onion
2 garlic cloves
1 ½ tsp. dried parsley
1 ½ tsp. Italian seasoning
1 14-oz can of veggie broth
2 medium tomatoes, diced
1 8-oz can of tomato sauce
½ cup bowtie pasta
1 15-oz. can cannellini beans (rinsed)
Heat a small amount of olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Cook the celery, onion and seasonings for about five minutes, or until translucent. Stir in veggie broth, diced tomatoes and tomato sauce and simmer for 15 minutes. Add pasta and cook for another 10 minutes. Then, add the cannellini beans and cook until heated through.