Welcome to another beauty lunchbox series and this time, I’m going to show you five brand new lunchbox ideas that are a bit of a splurge, using ingredients that are slightly more expensive. Think of them as lunchbox you can treat yourself to once a week and I guarantee you’ll wish for lunch time to come sooner than later! Now, who said it’s boring to pack your lunch?
But some of these recipes do take more time to prepare–a full half an hour where I am fully engaged in the cooking and nothing else. I know some of us do not have any time in the morning to spare and if that’s the case, then these ideas may not work for you. Alternatively, you can consider preparing them the night before but of course the food won’t be as fresh. What I do to save time is to chop up the ingredients and marinate the fish and meat the night before. For example, when preparing the quinoa dish, I’ll can also choose to fry all the ingredients the night before but leave the quinoa to be cooked only in the morning.
Quinoa salad lunchbox
Remember my quinoa salad recipe I shared with you in May? Well, this is a variation using pearl quinoa instead of red quinoa. The taste is as good but of course in terms of color, some of us may find red quinoa more appetizing. Ingredients included in the salad are chopped cherry tomatoes, cut Swiss brown mushrooms, chopped capsicum, chopped ham, fried egg and they’re stirred fried with chopped garlic. You can check out my full recipe with step-by-step preparation tips in my post on how to cook quinoa salad.
In case you’d missed my post and wonder what’s so great about quinoa, this is a complex carbohydrate with low glycemic index and has a relatively safe calorie level (172 calories per 1/4 cup). It is also high in protein with an adequate source of all essential amino acids. Apart from the various nutrients, quinoa also provides a variety of antioxidant phytonutrients and comes with anti-inflammatory properties. The saponins found in quinoa are great for skin healing. In addition, it contains lysine, a key building block in the synthesis of elastin and collagen. The high levels of magnesium also promote skin elasticity and regenerate skin cells, while vitamin B2 (riboflavin) builds up connective tissues and is integral to cell reparation. However, quinoa is not recommended for daily consumption–eating it twice a week is probably about right.
Baked cod fish lunchbox
Okay, how many of you love cod fish? I love it! Granted, it’s more expensive but the good thing about this fish is, it’s so easy to prepare! All you need is to marinate the fish with a little sea salt and a dash of lemon juice. You can season the cod fish with some spices or top it with garlic like I did in my lunchbox. All in all, the preparation time for this dish isn’t that long–just 15 minutes and you can throw everything into the oven to bake for another 20 minutes! So what can you bake with cod fish? Well, how about tomatoes, potatoes, capsicums and mushrooms? That’s what I have in my lunchbox here. Of course you’re free to pick your own combination.
Although I like eating cod fish, I won’t profess to know much about it. But from the little I know, cod fish is rich in lean protein and vitamin B-12, and is a good source of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. It also has anti-inflammatory effects on the body and help to protect against sunburn and potentially even skin cancer. On the downside, some types of cod apparently contain high amounts of sodium, and it’s a moderate source of mercury so it’s safer not to eat this fish too frequently unless you’re certain of the source.
Stir-fried Wagyu beef lunchbox
I’m not a big red meat eater. Would you believe that I never ate beef till recently? After my husband introduced me to Wagyu beef, I was hooked! So at times when we do get the beef, I’ll set aside some for my lunchbox. Again, it’s an easy dish to stir fry–just add pepper steak seasoning! It’s great when eaten with fried rice!
Red meat is actually an accelerator of wrinkles but if you can get your hands on grass-fed Wagyu beef, they actually contain more vitamin E, high content of beta carotene, and is a great combination mix of omega fatty acids like omega 3 and omega 6 but are less fattening. Not something you want to eat every day but definitely to indulge once in a while!
Baked eggplant lunchbox
I recently discovered eggplants and am thrilled to use this as a staple in my lunchbox! This is technically not a vegetable but I like to think of it as that. Besides containing a good amount of water content, the skin of eggplants have a lot of anthocyanins which are rich in antioxidants.
Eggplants taste great when baked. Just slice them up, sprinkle some seasoning and bake them for 15 to 20 minutes. In this lunchbox, I added sweet potatoes, beetroot, mushrooms and tomatoes. Oh for those curious, that was the first and also the last time I cooked beetroot. Unless you’re a huge beetroot fan, I won’t recommend adding them to your lunchbox.
This is my cheat pizza where I used a wrap as the base. But it turned out as good. Just add tomato pasta sauce, mozzarella, parmesan, and topped with mushrooms, ham, capsicums, pineapple before baking for about 10 minutes. Because I was packing for work, I had to cut up the pizza.
If you want a healthier version, you may want to skip the cheese altogether but the taste may be compromised. And what’s a pizza without cheese like? Perhaps consider reducing the amount of cheese like I did and add more vegetables that you like.
Fast to cook, good to eat
Of these five lunchboxes, the easiest and fastest to prepare are baked dishes. Just cut the ingredients up, add seasoning and leave them in the oven to bake for around 20 minutes. While the dishes are being baked, you are free to go about your usual routine.
I hope you’ve enjoyed drooling over these lunchbox ideas as much as I’ve enjoyed sharing them with you. Until my next beauty lunchbox series! Ciao!