Written by Endeavour College of Natural Health | Monday, 2 January 2023
Eating healthy, nutritious food and following a balanced diet is a goal many of us are familiar with. The thing is, habits are hard to break and sometimes convenience wins – especially when it comes to an office lunch. We’ve put together this list of healthy lunch box fillers that will keep you fuelled for long afternoons at work and save you some money along the way.
Ingredients shaped into a round, circular form make great lunch box fillers – rissoles, meatballs, hamburger patties, and these potato cakes!
These nettle and potato cakes can be eaten hot or cold, travel well, and use ingredients that are easy on the wallet. They can be enjoyed on their own or you can add some greens or grains as a base. On top of this, nettle is incredibly nutrient-dense; Vitamins A, C, and K (along with several B vitamins), calcium, iron, and all of the essential amino acids to name a few.
Take me to the recipe.
These hemp and black bean burgers for dinner on Sunday night, then into the lunchbox for your Monday work lunch! Packed with plant-based protein and healthy fats, these burger patties are packed with ingredients that support brain function and energy production.
An added bonus is the versatility of this recipe: Enjoy them between two buns with some sliced tomato, salad, and tomato sauce one day, stuff a pita bread with them the next, then use the remainder on top of some brown rice and salad.
Curries are always a win when it comes to a healthy work lunch! They’re filling, packed with nutritious veg, and travel well (if packed right). This plant-based mango curry can be enjoyed on a bed of rice, pasta, or on its own – depending on your food mood or how hungry you’re feeling.
In terms of ingredients, if fresh mangoes are scarce, you can opt for frozen chunks instead! They contain the same nutrients and are usually cheaper if you buy them in a bulk bag.
We’re a big fan of slow cooker recipes because once you’ve prepared the ingredients, your silver kitchen helper will do the rest! This hearty slow-cooked lamb tastes just as good (if not better) the next day, which is why it earns a spot on this office lunch list.
Prep it the day/night before and pop it into your lunch box for work the next day. In terms of nutrition, protein-packed lamb is a powerhouse in every sense of the word – Vitamin B12 (brain function) and B3 (used by the body to turn food into energy), iron, and zinc to name a few.
Pasta is a go-to lunch for the office. Why? Because it’s cost-effective, can be eaten hot or cold, lasts in the fridge for a few days, and still holds up after a few bumps and shakes during your commute to work.
This nutrient-dense pesto pasta is vegan, however, you could add some of that tinned tuna you have in your office drawer if you feel like it. Switching over to health benefits, this recipe uses kefir in the dressing, which is a natural source of probiotics (hello good gut health).
Two pasta salads, as healthy office lunchspo? Groundbreaking. Pasta salad is a staple in many Aussie households because it’s cost-effective, easy to assemble, uses accessible ingredients, and stores well in the fridge.
This leftover pasta salad calls for just a few common ingredients and requires almost no actual cooking (except for boiling the pasta) – simply chop, toss, and stir to assemble! For a boost of protein, you could add some tofu, boiled eggs, chicken, or tuna (all of which would work well with the original flavours of this recipe).
By now, you may have noticed that many of the recipes in this office lunch round-up are vegetarian or plant-based. We don’t discriminate when it comes to ingredients here on the Endeavour blog, but when it comes to lunches on the go, vegetables take the cake when it comes to cost and longevity in the fridge (and these vegetarian mushroom balls are no exception).
We love a recipe that can be adapted to suit various diets and allergy restrictions, which is why this one made the list – These mushroom balls can be adapted to be vegan or gluten-free! You can mix them with pasta and sauce for an Italian-style lunch, stuff them into a sub if you fancy a sandwich, or throw them on top of some rice.
The key to a healthy work lunch is variety – colour, texture, flavour, ingredients… This golden chickpea and corn salad recipe ticks all those boxes and more! An ideal one to be enjoyed on its own or combined with some of those handy office-cupboard ingredients (we’re looking at you, rice and tinned tuna).
This tasty and nutritionally balanced recipe can be made using fresh, tinned, or dried ingredients – A recipe that can be enjoyed throughout the seasons (and their available produce) is always a winner in our books!
A thick, warming soup with a nutty wholegrain or crusty white roll – We love the sound of that! This pumpkin soup is packed with root vegetables that are rich in antioxidants, fibre, minerals and vitamins. Pumpkin is rich in Vitamin C and E – powerful antioxidants that are beneficial for eyesight and glowing skin.
Pumpkin seeds are also an excellent source of dietary fibre and mono-unsaturated fatty acids, which are good for heart health. It’s not hard to see why this recipe makes the cut as a nutritious packed lunch. We’re also awarding it some bonus points because while we believe in enjoying your meals and conscious eating, sometimes there’s a meeting to rush off to and soup is a meal that can be spooned up quickly if needed.
We hope this list of recipes will breathe new life into your work lunch routine but before you go, we’re throwing in a bonus snack round if you find yourself feeling peckish in the afternoon.
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Endeavour College of Natural Health
Endeavour College of Natural Health is Australia's largest Higher Education provider of natural medicine courses.
The College is known as the centre of excellence for natural medicine and is respected for its internationally recognised academic teams and high calibre graduates. Endeavour offers Bachelor of Health Science degrees in Naturopathy, Nutritional and Dietetic Medicine, Acupuncture Therapies and Chinese Medicine, Undergraduate Certificates, a Diploma of Health Science and massage courses.