Many of us who work may not always feel guilty when we pick up fast food at lunch time, or maybe even for breakfast but the calories add up, and the cholesterol count doesn’t look any better at the next medical check-up.
Some large companies may have in-house cafeterias that provide meals for employees who wish to buy them, however delicious these foods may be, it’s always a bit scary as we really don’t have any control over what ingredients go into preparing these meals.
Many work-related meetings take place at restaurants or meeting sites where a meal is provided, and no consideration is given to the fat content, or preparation style of the food to be served. If you consume a few of these meals a year then it is unlikely that it will affect your health, but if it becomes an integral part of your work, then you stand a chance to gain weight and it may affect your health.
It is not difficult to work, eat and be healthy all at the same time; it just takes a little planning and time in the kitchen before work the next day. If you plan to eat lunch at your desk then pack a brown bag lunch with a salad or a fat free sandwich, on whole grain bread with low fat mayonnaise, add some lettuce and tomatoes to the sandwich and don’t forget fresh fruit.
If you are arranging an in-house business meeting with a working lunch included you can stress to your caterer you want a platter of sandwiches, some with roasted chicken, cheese and egg fillings, and a few salads, avoid the processed meats. Provide the condiments on the side, and order a fresh fruit platter in addition to the dessert tray. Offer fresh juices, water, tea or coffee and try to avoid soft drinks for your guests.
If you go to a restaurant for a business meeting you can speak to the chef and let him or her suggest some healthy and delicious menus for your guests.
If you do many meetings a day, try to schedule power breakfast meetings at a well-established hotel, where you can have a choice of fresh fruit, and other breakfast items that are not high in hydrogenated fats. Starting the day off with a high protein, low fat breakfast will fuel you for a full day ahead.
Here are some healthy and tasty alternatives to purchasing lunch.
Egg n’ pasta salad
1 lb dry spiral pasta
1 large sweet pepper, chopped
1 cup blanched green peas
1 cup chopped chives
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 eggs, hard cooked, and chopped
¾ cup mayonnaise
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup un-flavoured yoghurt
2 tbs olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
½ cup chopped fresh parsley
Cook pasta according to package directions, drain.
In a small bowl combine yoghurt, mayonnaise, olive oil, garlic, cheese, salt and black pepper.
In a large bowl combine pasta, pepper, peas, eggs and chives.
Add yoghurt mixture to pasta mixture and toss until combined.
Adjust seasonings and sprinkle with parsley.
1 tbs olive oil
1 onion chopped
1 tbs chopped garlic
8 to-10 fresh mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1 cup cooked brown rice
1 cup grated carrots
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbs minced fresh chives
1 tbs fresh thyme
1 egg lightly beaten
pepper sauce to taste.
Heat oil in a skillet, add onions and garlic, sauté until fragrant,
Add mushrooms, cook for about 3 minutes more.
Remove from heat.
In a food processor add rice, carrots, chives, thyme and sautéed onion mixture. Pulse food processor until mixture is of a mealy consistency. Transfer to bowl. Add breadcrumbs and mix well. Season with salt, pepper and pepper sauce. Stir in egg.
Make mixture into 6 burger patties, and broil on a lightly greased pan until lightly browned, about 5-7 minutes per side.
Serve with whole-wheat buns and a fresh green salad.
Serves 4 to 6
Spiced wheat germ muffins
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbs baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
⅓ cup brown sugar
2 tbs wheat germ
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground nutmeg
⅔ cup milk
¼ cup yoghurt
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup raisins
½ cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Grease 12 muffin cups.
In a large bowl mix together flour, baking powder, brown sugar, wheat germ, spices and raisins and nuts.
In a small bowl beat egg with milk, yoghurt and vanilla, add oil and stir.
Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir to combine.
Spoon into muffin tins and bake for 15-20 minutes until done.
Makes 12 muffins.