Let’s do lunch, well: Make your work lunch break work for you
Step away from the spreadsheets and enjoy a lovely lunch outside – it will freshen up your mind and brighten up your mood
It’s no surprise that working from home has increased during the Coronavirus pandemic. But it’s a little more unexpected that we’re not using the time we’ve saved on our commute to spend on a proper lunch break. Rather than taking a few extra moments to prepare lunch and then stepping away from our desks to actually enjoy our meal, we’re eating aldesko at home. Breaks are good for us, they improve productivity, creativity, motivation, and decision making. It goes without saying that a meal that is both tasty and healthy is just the sort of lunch we should be investing our time in. If you can eat outside, so much the better, as fresh air and the scents of plants can help the body release serotonin, which stabilises your mood.
With that in mind, here are some top tips on how to make the most of lunch.
USE YOUR FREEZER
Remember the freezer is your friend – keep a stash of breads, soups and ready-made lunches (chillies, quiches, etc) at the ready. Or even plan ahead, prep and freeze meals at the weekend.
USE YOUR SALAD GAME
It’s all about the layering. To build deliciously different salads every day, start with your favourite leaves. Bulk up with tinned pulses and cooked grains or pasta/ noodles. Add proteins such as hard-boiled egg, feta, smoked tofu or chicken breast. Finish with something zingy: artichoke hearts, capers, sundried tomatoes, olives, jalapeños, toasted nuts and seeds and spice mixes. Fresh herbs really boost flavour.
TRY QUICK DIPS
Have some favourite dips on hand for when time’s short: try salsa with your empanadas, a dollop of houmous with your falafels, or ready-made tzatziki with a range of crudites.
HAVE A DRESSING READY
Make a big jar of your favourite dressing to last you through the week, then tweak as you go. Shake crushed garlic, mustard, salt, pepper and one part vinegar to three parts oil. Red wine vinegar and half olive/ cold-pressed rapeseed oil and dijon mustard is a good base, but you can use citrus juices, soy sauce, rice vinegar and nut oils to vary the flavour. Add chilli, mayo, yoghurt, lime or chopped herbs to suit.
TRY THESE SUPER SIMPLE SANDWICHES FOR LUNCH
Change up your breads and fillings and make sandwiches your lunchtime hero again. They’re quick, simple, made from ready-prepared ingredients – and best of all, no cooking required.
The ultimate pastrami sandwich
Succulent wafer-thin slices of cured beef brisket, on tangy sourdough rye with crisp gherkins, watercress and a generous dollop of horseradish-laced mayo. Mouthwatering!
Spicy Parisian ploughmans
You can’t beat a fresh baguette with a hunk of cheese, but if you want to put on a show choose an oozy aged camembert and combine with chicory and a spicy tomato chutney. The bitterness of the chicory goes fantastically with the rich creaminess of the mature cheese.
Scandi-style open sandwiches
Dark, rich, nutty rye breads are best as open sandwiches – and will really show off your ingredients. Use smoked salmon as your base, then layer on salad, capers and seafood sauce. Top off traditionally with dill.
No-bread summer roll
Fancy something lighter? How about a Vietnamese inspired summer roll. Rice wraps are easy to use – just dip in warm water for a few seconds to soften. Lay your fillings (rice noodles, thinly chopped carrot, coriander, mint and sweet chilli sauce work well) down the centre of the wrap, then fold and roll until sealed.
ALFRESCO LUNCH RECIPES JUST FOR YOU
Smoky beef empanadas with chilli mayo
These tasty pastries can be frozen, so they’re great for making ahead.
Get the recipe >
Chicken souvlaki pitta
A quick and easy way to transport yourself to the sunny Med in your lunch break.
Get the recipe >
Looking for more easy lunch inspiration? Check out this collection of delicious recipes here.