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Survey Says: Easy Lunches!

Welcome back, Zesties to round 2 of the September Survey Says series (no seriously, say that 5x fast).

Another request received was for lunches that are healthy – but do not compromise on flavour or fun. There was kind of a 2-part to this question, because it was followed-up with a specific type of food, but I am saving THAT for a post in two weeks.

This was actually perfectly-timed because I worked a full-time temp job this week. I don’t know what it is about working in an office but it is exhausting!! Thank goodness I was already doing this post for easy and healthy lunches, or I would have been both exhausted and hungry…not a great combo. I have 4 lunches from this week (I started the job on Tuesday), and each of them range from 300-450 calories (which, if you’re counting, is the ‘sweet’ spot for lunch calories consumed). I also tried to do a mix of things beside chicken and rice because that is not fun 4 days in a row, even if it is healthy.

Let’s get to it. Each day is going to have it’s own recipe card for easier sorting! At the end, I will also add some tips on how to throw together healthy lunches in under 15 minutes and why lunch is actually super important to eat (even when you’re ‘too busy’ or ‘not hungry’ SMH)


Tuesday

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Snack Box Lunch

Perfect for when you don’t really have time to prep an entire meal, but you’re still snacky (or when you’re hungry for a little bit of everything)
Course Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword Adult Lunchables for the Corporate WIN, Lunch
Prep Time 20 minutes
Servings 1 Snack Box
Calories 386kcal

Equipment

  • Food Storage Containers

Ingredients

  • 1/2 Apple I prefer a Pink Lady or Honey Crisp myself
  • 1/2 tbsp. Peanut Butter Try to opt for all-natural or organic so you are getting all of the good stuff
  • 1 c. Air Fryer Chickpeas I will never not try to have a cup of these a day
  • 2 Energy/Protein Bars These are an exclusive recipe e-book special
  • 85 g. Chicken Breast Deli-style, sliced thin (about 5 pieces)

Instructions

  • On one side of the box add: chicken breast, apples, peanut butter (they won’t mix flavours)
  • In a separate bag, add the chickpeas (these will get soggy if left next to the apples)
  • In another bag, add the energy bars (will also get soggy and not as crunchy if left next to apples)
  • Close the lid and set in fridge overnight to just grab & go
  • Enjoy!

Wednesday

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Teriyaki Chicken & Rice & Veggies

OKAY at least ONE day can be boring chicken and rice
Course Lunch, Main Course
Keyword Boring chicken & rice lunch but at least it’s healthy, Lunch
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 1 Chicken & Rice Box
Calories 297kcal

Equipment

  • Rice Cooker

Ingredients

  • 100 g. Brown Basmati Rice or brown rice, or basmati rice, choose your rice
  • 175 g. Chicken Breast Cubed
  • 1 Sprinkle Chili Flakes This is for flavour
  • 1 tsp. Garlic Granules This is also for flavour
  • 10 mL Teriyaki Sauce This is for cooking
  • 5 mL Soy Sauce This is for topping
  • 100 g. Stir Fry Veggies Of course I use the frozen variety, it’s cheaper & lasts longer

Instructions

  • Add 2 cups of water and 1 cup of rice to your rice cooker & let cook
  • While rice is cooking, add your cubed chicken breast to a pan and let cook for about 5 minutes on either side
  • To the chicken, add garlic granules, chili flakes, and teriyaki sauce
  • Let cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally – the chicken should begin to cook and become crispy
  • Once chicken is about done, add vegetables and let cook for an additional 5-10 minutes
  • The chicken/veggies and rice should be done simultaneously, remove from heat and let cool slightly
  • Add chicken and rice and veggies to a container and place in fridge overnight – ready for the next day
  • Enjoy!

Thursday

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25 Min. Fajitas

This is one is good because you can bring the Mexican restaurant with you to work so it’s like a fiesta
Course Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword Bring the fiesta with you
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings 2 Fajita Servings
Calories 304kcal

Ingredients

Fajita Mix

  • 1 Red Capsicum Sliced
  • 1 Green Capsicum Sliced
  • 1 Yellow Capsicum Sliced
  • 1 Brown Onion Sliced
  • 500 g. Chicken Mince One container of chicken mince

Fajita Seasoning

  • 2 tsp. Garlic Powder
  • 2 tsp. Onion Powder
  • 1 tsp. Chili Powder
  • 2 tsp. Hot Paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 tsp. Cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. Oregano

Instructions

  • Preheat pan on high heat and add all capsicum and onion. Drizzle with olive oil and let cook for 15 minutes, stirring constantly
  • Remove capsicum and onion from pan and set aside (onion should be dark brown and capsicum should be completely cooked)
  • In the same pan, add the chicken mince, a drizzle of olive oil and the fajita seasonings
  • Cook on high for 10 minutes until chicken is crispy and cooked through
  • Remove from heat
  • Add the capsicum/onion mixture and the chicken to a food container and let cool before placing in fridge
  • Don’t forget to grab it in the morning on your way to work and have a tortilla, some cheese, or guacamole on the side
  • Enjoy!

To all of my American friends that read this and say ‘CaPsiCuM’ I dare you to tell an Australian about a BELLPEPPER and see where that gets you
Caloric total for this meal includes a tortilla 🙂


Friday

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Good Ol’ Fashioned Classic Sandwich

This goes out to your inner child that just wants mom to make you a good hearty sandwich for lunch
Course Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword Sandwiches
Prep Time 20 minutes
Servings 1 Sandwich
Calories 444kcal

Ingredients

  • 1/4 Avocado Mashed
  • 1/4 Tomato Sliced
  • 1/2 Chicken Breast Sliced Thin, in half
  • 1 tsp. Garlic Aioli Mayonnaise
  • 2 Slices Bread
  • 2 Slices Bacon Cooked Crispy

Instructions

  • Starting with the bottom bread layer, add garlic aioli and then begin to stack
  • On top of the aioli, add the bacon, then the chicken
  • On top of the chicken, add the tomato
  • Prior to placing the top piece of bread on, smear with avocado then delicately close the sandwich
  • Pack alongside veggies, fruit, chips, etc.
  • Enjoy!

Ill be honest with this one, it did not make it to the photography stage on Friday. I was just…starving. It had been a long week. Sometimes this happens, I will eventually update this post the full picture of what this sandwich should look like!


Why You NEED to Eat Lunch (and I am not accepting excuses):

If you are working or cleaning or going to the gym or even just sitting through meetings and classes, even if your body is not physically hungry, your mind is! You can only have so much coffee or tea to get you through that 3pm drag and 8am start, but after that, it’s up to you to properly fuel your body for success. You need the food to keep you going – no matter what that looks like.

For this midday meal, you should opt for wholesome foods: protein and carbs, especially. Protein to fuel your brain and carbs to give you that needed energy. It’s up to you what this looks like, but try for whole foods: fruit, vegetables, rice, quinoa, chicken, fish, etc. Food that are the complete package that completely get you through your day. But, I’ll be honest, I have weeks where all I want is a handful of nuts, some greek yogurt, and granola – and then the next week I’m craving a burger and chips. Listen to what your body needs to function through those long days, thou shall not live on coffee alone (or something like that). You need that midday meal to pick you up, restart, refresh, and then get back into whatever it is that you’re working on.

ALSO don’t even get me started…Sit down, unplug, and take a step back during this midday break to really get the fuel benefits…so what I did there. A lot of you are still working from home, so it’s important to know when you need to take a step back from your work and just unplug for a second.


WOW. I mean what a full week! Got to eat all the good stuff, got to work at a great temp job, and have a few announcements coming mid-September, early October – just in time for spooky month!! Fun fact: Halloween is a pretty American holiday and it’s also spring here so complete opposite weather, but that will NOT stop me from celebrating. That’s it, the fun fact is that I’m celebrating anyway despite me not being able to find pumpkins actually anywhere and it’s warm….IT’S FINE.

Next week is another double post week! I am really enjoying writing more about all the different pieces that go into truly achieving your very best lemon zest life, and I hope you are too.

xo.🍋

Author: Claire Elizabeth

My name is Claire Elizabeth and welcome to my lemon zest life! It all started back in 2015 when I began creating healthy recipes to support my busy lifestyle between the gym, full-time work, and full-time university. Four years later I have updated my healthy recipes but am still living that busy lifestyle. This is catered for the full-time employees, students, parents, and everyone in between that lives a lemon zest life, like me. xo.🍋 ​

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