20-MINUTE HEALTHY LUNCHES FOR CLEAN EATING

Weekday lunches are one of the trickiest meals to master between a busy work schedule and mommy/wife duties. It’s easy to forget to plan ahead and then to grab whatever’s available. Suddenly its 3pm and you’re ravenous. This can be both expensive and detrimental to a healthy, clean eating program.

My preferred weekday lunch is definitely one which I can make the night before. However, sometimes I run out of time (or am just too lazy in the evening), so I also need lunches that are quick to whip up on the day. While I do love a fresh, crunchy salad, I sometimes suffer salad fatigue. I also find that a warm lunch generally keeps me feeling satisfied for longer and I tend to not suffer the mid-afternoon snack craving as much either.

With this in mind, I’ve put together a list of my 5 favourite healthy week-day lunches, that can be prepared in under 20 minutes.

 

OSTRICH TAGLIATA (Serves 2)

This is inspired by a traditional Italian recipe made using beef steak. My version uses ostrich which is high in protein and lower in fat and calories.

Ingredients

1 minced garlic clove

1 1/2 teaspoons each of dried thyme and oregano

Coarse sea salt and freshly ground pepper

400g ostrich steak, cut into thick slices

Extra-virgin olive oil

200g fresh wild rocket

1 cup organic baby tomatoes, halved

¼ cup pine nuts, toasted

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 cup shaved parmesan

1 tablespoon of balsamic glaze

Make

In a bowl, mix the garlic, thyme, oregano, salt, pepper and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the ostrich steak strips and make sure they are fully coated. Heat a large frying pan over a moderate heat. Once quite hot, fry the ostrich in batches making sure that none of the strips overlap. Don’t overcrowd the pan. If you cook the ostrich in this manner, it will only take a couple of minutes a side.

Divide the wild rocket between two plates. Top with the ostrich, pine-nuts and tomatoes. Drizzle with another tablespoon of olive oil, lemon juice and balsamic glaze, and finish with the parmesan shavings.

Change it up: You can substitute the pine-nuts with some olives and artichokes like I did in the picture above. Or, you can use semi-sundried tomatoes instead of fresh tomatoes for an added tang.

 

TUNA AND AVO BROWN RICE BOWL (Serves 2)

This recipe calls for cooked brown rice. For convenience, I cook some at the start of the week, store it in a sealable container in the fridge, and then use it in recipes like this. Rice bowls make easy, delicious, nutritious lunches.

Ingredients

1 tablespoon avocado oil

½ large red onion, finely chopped

1 fresh red chili, seeds removed, finely sliced

1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic

1 170g can tuna in brine, drained

1 ½ cups cooked organic brown basmati rice

1 fresh avocado, peeled and diced

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 cup fresh organic baby tomatoes, halved (optional)

Chopped fresh coriander, to serve

Make

In a pan, heat the avocado oil over a medium heat. Add the red onion, fresh red chili and garlic and fry lightly for a couple of minutes until the red onion is starting to soften. Add the tuna and a squeeze of lemon juice. Let it cook for a minute stirring to combine.

Meanwhile, combine the cooked brown rice and ½ the avocado in a bowl, together with a tablespoon of lemon juice. Mix the avo in so that it coats the rice like a dressing. Add the tomatoes. Divide the rice between two plates. Top with the tuna, remaining diced avo and finish with some fresh coriander.

 

KOREAN PORK & CABBAGE QUINOA BOWL (Serves 2)

This recipe also works well with chicken or beef. You can use brown rice instead of quinoa if you prefer.

Ingredients

1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed

1 tablespoon avocado oil

¼ teaspoon fresh ground ginger

3 cloves garlic, minced

400g minced pork fillet

1 small green cabbage, shredded

30ml honey

60ml low sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon sesame oil

½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or more if you like it spicy

salt and pepper, to taste

2 green onions, thinly sliced

Make

Place the quinoa in a pot and cover with 2 cups organic chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a gentle simmer, cover, and let cook for 15 minutes.

While the quinoa cooks, heat the oil in a large pan. Cook the garlic and ginger for about 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add the ground pork and brown. Add the cabbage and stir fry for another minute or 2.

In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Add this mixture to the pork and cabbage and let it cook for 3-5 minutes to allow the flavors to develop and the cabbage to soften a bit.

Once the quinoa is done, take off the heat and fluff with a fork. Serve the pork over the quinoa, topped with the sliced green onion.

 

TARRAGON MUSTARD CHICKEN AND BROCCOLI BOWL (Serves 4)

Another one of my favourite easy “lunch bowl” recipes. You can serve this with a cup of quinoa, brown rice or even whole-wheat pasta.

Ingredients

500g skinless chicken breasts, sliced (as pictured)

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic

1 tablespoon dried tarragon

1 teaspoon honey

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon olive oil

300g packet broccoli florets

Make

Whisk the mustard, garlic, tarragon, honey, lemon juice and olive oil in a small bowl. Coat the chicken with half this mustard sauce.

Blanch the broccoli. Don’t overcook it, you want it crunchy.

Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat. Spread the chicken out evenly in the hot pan and cook until done, about 4 minutes per side.

To serve, place ½ a cup of rice or quinoa in the bottom of a bowl. Top with the blanched broccoli and finally some chicken. Drizzle with the rest of the mustard sauce.

Change it up: Add some caramelized red onion.

 

SEARED SALMON WITH FENNEL AND ALMOND SALAD (Serves 4)

400g Fresh salmon

Crispy lettuce like gem or cos

1 fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly sliced

¼ cup flaked almonds, toasted

½ wheel of organic feta

1 avocado, peeled and diced

For the dressing

¼ cup olive oil

¼ cup white wine vinegar

2 tablespoon low fat Greek yogurt

1 tablespoon honey

1½ tablespoons Dijon mustard

Salt and pepper, to taste

Make

Whisk all the dressing ingredients together and set aside. Sear the salmon to your desired doneness. Assemble the salad by layering some lettuce, shaved fennel, toasted almonds and avocado on each plate. Crumble the feta over the salad, top with the salmon and finish with a drizzle of the dressing.

Like my Breakfast Beyond Scrambled Eggs, these recipes are all quite versatile – feel free to experiment according to your taste.

 

Sinful Sunday – Granny’s Gin & Tonic Cupcakes
Salmon with a bright Summer Salsa
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