September 19, 2010
Taking leftovers to work is hardly a novel idea. In fact, there are very few novel ideas in the world – whether we're talking about writing or food. However, from time to time, I find myself rediscovering and getting inspired by old ideas that really work. For example, for dinner tonight, I had a turkey meatloaf sandwich. It sounds like I consumed a million calories in a diner, right? Wrong. I made a sandwich out of a slice of the turkey meatloaf from my recipe page, a tablespoon of Annie's Organic Ketchup, and an Arnold Whole Wheat Deli Thin. I paired that with my English cucumber, pea and tomato salad and a cup of pole green beans. Not only was the meal delicious (that turkey meatloaf sandwich was awesome if I say so myself), but it was also healthy, filling and low in calories at the same time. Between the salad and the pole green beans, I wiped out 6 servings of vegetables in one meal (1/2 cup cucumber, 1/2 cup tomato, 1/2 cup green peas, 1 cup 50/50 mix, and 1 cup green beans). I did that on purpose since I hadn't eaten any fruit or vegetable servings during the day. The best part is that the whole meal only used 7 of my 25 daily Weightwatchers points, which left room for dessert.
I was able to take a healthy dinner recipe and turn it into a portable meal that I could take to work for lunch. I could make the turkey meatloaf sandwich the night before and pair it with soup or a salad or raw veggies and a dipping sauce. For Tuesday's lunch, I might make a wrap out of my leftover fried tilapia tenderloins. For Wednesday's lunch, I might chop up leftover grilled marinated flank steak and throw it over a salad and pair that with a whole wheat pita. As long as I'm armed with healthy recipes and open mind, the possibilities are endless.
Making sandwiches and salads aren't the only way to go either. I could pack a microwaveable container with, for example, the cilantro-lemon shrimp on my recipes page, brown rice and a side of sautéed zucchini, and throw that in my lunchbox with a cold pack. Or maybe I could pack some of the turkey chili on the recipes page and have that with sautéed broccoli. All I'd have to do at lunchtime is warm up the food in the microwave and feast while my co-workers eat greasy fast food and wilted tuna sandwiches. Suddenly, eating healthy is not such a hardship. 🙂
Keep in mind though, that taking leftovers to work is only a figure-friendly lunch idea if the leftovers are made from healthy recipes to begin with. If you pack last weekend's fried rice and honey garlic chicken from the local Chinese joint into your lunchbox then you are just compounding last weekend's high caloric fling. You really don't want to do that. It's one thing to enjoy such a meal occasionally. It's another thing to drag it with you day after day, first in your lunchbox and then later on your hips and thighs.
I hope I've inspired you to jazz up that lunchbox. Let me know how it goes.