With so much attention lately paid to childhood obesity and what kids are eating at school, maybe it’s time for adults to take a look at our workplace lunches. At the salon, lunch often means anything from grabbing fast food from the window down the street to skipping lunch altogether. If you’re a parent making a sack lunch for your child, why not make one for yourself, too? Be the role model who takes a healthy lunch to work!
First, use your days off to make lunches for the next several days so you can grab something as you leave the house. Next, rethink the “leftovers” concept—extra food is a good thing! Or, as long as you’re cooking dinner, it’s usually not much trouble to make more than you need. If you love having turkey sandwiches on the Friday after Thanksgiving, you get the idea!
*Keep a few cans of tuna at the salon for a low-cal, high-protein boost.
*Bring ingredients that need only a toaster oven microwave to make into a meal. For example, whole wheat bread, cheese and tomato sauce or fresh tomatoes make a quick lunchtime pizza!
*Brown rice is easy to make in bulk ahead of time and use as your grain for the day instead of bread.
*Whole wheat tortilla wraps make another great substitute for traditional bread sandwiches. Stuff them with your favorite veggies.
*If you love breakfast, there’s no rule against warming up oatmeal, whole grain pancakes or even a pre-made omelet later in the day.
*Yogurt is an obvious choice. Fortify it with fresh berries.
*Cut, cut, cut. In some cases, also peel. You’re probably more likely to open your refrigerator and grab a baggie of apple, orange or melon slices than commit to biting into a whole apple, peeling an orange or negotiating a cantaloupe at work.
*Two words: baby carrots.
*Black beans add protein and flavor to every type of lunch choice.
*Make a blender’s worth of smoothies with nonfat yogurt and your fruits of choice, and fill your thermos every day until you finish the batch. Since bananas do not travel well as whole fruit, this is a great way to get your banana potassium.
*Salads make great lunches if your salon has a refrigerator. Try this recipe from celebrity chef Nathan Lyon, courtesy of City of Hope. It which makes four servings so you can share with your family or the salon staff.
Apple and Fennel Salad with Shaved Parmigiano and Black Currants
1 large apple, unpeeled (preferably Braeburn, Fuji or Honeycrisp)
1 large fennel bulb
1 medium shallot, peeled and diced small (3 tablespoons)
1/4 cup black currants
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup toasted, salted walnut pieces
1/4 cup finely chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, not pre-grated, for serving
Slice the apple and fennel bulb into French-fry strips—a mandoline slicer makes this easy—to product approximately two cups apple and two cups fennel. Toss together the apple, fennel, shallot, currants, vinegar, lemon juice, walnuts and parsley in a medium bowl. Drizzle in 1 tablespoon of olive oil and gently fold to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and when it’s time to eat it you can drizzle a little extra-virgin olive oil and shave some Parmigiano-Reggiano.