Prepping for work lunches
Nandita Iyer

Nandita Iyer
13 February 2020

This article is authored by Nandita Iyer. Nandita is the author of the book The Everyday Healthy Vegetarian and blogs at The Saffron Trail. She has studied medicine and nutrition.

Lunch Box

Lunch boxes are not just for kids. While the Gen X carried their dabbas religiously, the generation after them considered it rather uncool to carry a lunch box to work, resorting either to the canteen food, or ordering in or heading out to the nearest cafe or restaurant during lunch break. But the focus on health and environment has made lunchboxes cool all over again.

Let us see the benefits of carrying our lunch to work.

  • We are in full control of the hygiene, portion size, the amount of fat that goes into the food, the freshness of ingredients and more.
  • Lunch is one of the main meals of the day. Packing our own lunch ensures that we are assured of a balanced meal, full of all the essential nutrients.
  • We take steps to save the environment by way of reduced waste, by avoiding the disposable plastic boxes and cutlery which are a part of ordering our lunch in.
  • We also save money.

There is the practical aspect of not having enough time to prepare an elaborate lunch in the morning rush hour. A good idea is to have enough dinner leftovers that can be repurposed into a hearty lunchbox meal. The other way to ensure healthy and fun lunch boxes without spending too much time in the mornings is meal prep. Here are some ideas on how to meal prep for easy to make work lunches.

Vegetables like potatoes and beetroots can be pressure cooked and refrigerated. These vegetables can be grated or mashed to be used as paratha or sandwich fillings or to make a subzi to fill wraps. They can also be combined with cooked dals / grains or beans to make hearty vegetable burgers.

Carrots and radish can be sliced and refrigerated in airtight containers to be added to lentil and grain salads that can be had cold. Use cooked whole masoor dal or black chana in these salads to increase nutritional value.

Beans such as green moong, kabuli chana and black chana can be cooked and refrigerated to be added to subzis, soups and salads. Choose organic and good quality beans from Tata Sampann for maximum nutrition and health benefits.

Dals such as chana dal, masoor dal, urad dal and moong dal can be soaked for a few hours and ground into a batter. This batter after fermenting for 6-8 hours can be refrigerated and used for a variety of lunch box dishes such as paniyaram or veggie loaded uthapams. Choose unpolished range of dals from Tata Sampann for the best nutritional benefits.

Cooked rice kept in the refrigerator is best to make a veggie-loaded fried rice. Add cubed tofu or paneer or chopped boiled egg to make this a protein rich lunch.

Masoor dal or moong dal or rajma make good additions to chunky vegetable soups, keeping us sated for longer and also providing additional protein and fibre. Carry these soups in a thermos or in a microwavable box so that it can be had hot.

Spring Dosa

Invest in a good quality lunch box that keeps food hot or cold, the way you want it to stay until lunch time. And while we are on the topic of easy work lunches, here’s a few things to make sure that the lunch boxes are also environment friendly. Use zero waste packaging such as bees wax wraps that can be reused a number of times, instead of plastic wraps or aluminum foil. Carry cloth napkins instead of paper napkins. Use reusable steel cutlery instead of disposable plastic cutlery.


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