Sometimes I eat chocolate chips for lunch.
Sometimes after a period of eating random bits and pieces of food-that-isn’t-really-food for lunch, my personal trainer/aspiring dietitian self decides that I should act like a grownup and actually plan, prep, and cook food to have on hand all week for lunches. Planning is key for me to stay on track.
Some of my challenges:
1. It needs to be portable and not require heating in the event that I am spending the day studying somewhere, or going between the gym and home throughout the day.
2. It needs to be delicious. I get bored easily.
3. It needs to have a substantial amount of nutrients (protein, healthy carbs, healthy fat, vitamins). A basic salad is going to leave me hungry and make it harder to resist treats. Like chocolate chips.
4. The prepping and cooking needs to be simple enough that I will actually do it.
Solution: Quinoa and black bean salad, baby spinach, hard-boiled eggs, and avocado.
Here is the salad recipe from Moosewood Low-Fat Favorites. I am posting it in its original form, but I also added zucchini to mine because I had some left in the fridge. This is a good way to use up veggies that you have on hand.
Quinoa and Black Bean Salad
1/3 cup quinoa
1 cup water
1 tsp olive oil
4 tsp fresh lime juice
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro
2 tbsp minced scallions
1 15-oz can black beans (or 1.5 cups cooked)
1 large can of diced tomatoes (or 2 cups fresh)
1 cup diced bell peppers (I used a mixture of red and green)
2 tsp minced green chiles
salt and pepper to taste
Rinse the quinoa in a sieve. Using a medium saucepan, bring the water to a boil, add quinoa, cover, and simmer for 10-15 minutes. All of the water should be absorbed. Allow to cool.
Combine the oil, lime juice, cumin, coriander, cilantro, and scallions in a small bowl. This is important so that the spices are distributed evenly. Add the beans, tomatoes, bell peppers, chiles, cooled quinoa, and salt and pepper.
I had this salad on its own, in the larger salad that you see above, and as part of a breakfast burrito. While I like the recipe overall, I think that it could use a little boost. I would recommend increasing the spice amounts if you are someone who likes a lot of flavor.