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Home Lifestyle Working From Home? 7 Healthy And Delicious Meals That Are Easy To...

Working From Home? 7 Healthy And Delicious Meals That Are Easy To Prep

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Working from home has never been more relevant than in today’s mass toilet-paper-buying, grocery-store-shelf-clearing climate as seen in most countries seriously stricken by the global COVID-19 pandemic.

In light of this unprecedented worldwide catastrophe, plenty of companies have already given the green light for their workforce to undertake their duties remotely, if the nature of the work permits, of course. All in a desperate attempt to stave off (or at least slow down) the spread of the virus.

Indeed, working from home is one of a multitude of ways to solve this conundrum. But working remotely does also afford plenty of benefits for the employees — chief among them are increased productivity, flexible schedule, working in a comfortable environment, zero commuting, saving time and money, etc. Also, working from home gives one the unique advantage of having full access to your fridge 24/7!

However, you should definitely skip the easy-to-reach albeit unhealthy snacks when you’re working from home. We know it can be tempting to miss lunch and instead munch on some junk food, especially when you’re in the midst of a sudden burst of productivity. But nothing truly beats healthy, nutritious, homemade food.

If prying yourself away from your work desk and cooking a meal during the workday is next to impossible for you, there are other ways to get your hands on a wholesome meal. The key is meal prepping, y’all.

Plan ahead. Cook and prepare your work week lunches in a batch ahead of time or on the weekends so you only need to reheat it (or even have it chilled) during lunch on weekdays. With the right recipes, it really doesn’t have to take ages to prep your meals.

Here are seven healthy and delicious recipes that are easy to throw together for when you work from home.

Seven Healthy and Delicious Meals That Are Easy To Prep!

1. BBQ Chicken Salad

Chicken Salad

Chicken salad is THE go-to recipe when you don’t have a lot of time to prep your meal for the week. It’s a really simple recipe. You take a bowl, chuck in a bunch of fresh veggies, add in some chicken, croutons, and also a salad dressing of your choice. Voila! An easy, healthy, and tasty meal made within a fraction of the time it’ll take you to say, order a large pizza.

But for a twist on the classic veggie dish, BBQ chicken salad is definitely the way to go. Throwing in some beans, crushed chips, and a drizzle of savoury BBQ sauce also gives this salad an additional kick in texture and taste. Plus, the chicken even tastes good leftover for the next couple of days, provided you’ve properly kept it refrigerated.

For a vegan option, you may substitute chicken with grilled tofu.

Ingredients

 

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons BBQ sauce (the store-bought sauce will work here)
  • 6 cups chopped romaine lettuce
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1 cup canned low-sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup canned corn, drained
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • Crushed chips (tortilla is recommended)
  • Chopped fresh cilantro

For The BBQ Ranch Dressing

  • 1/3 cup light ranch dressing
  • 1 tablespoon store-bought BBQ sauce

How To Make
  1. Preheat your pan to medium-high heat. Oil up both sides of the chicken breast with olive oil and season liberally with salt and pepper. Grill each side of the chicken for four minutes, applying a generous brush of BBQ sauce on the grilled sides each time you flip it over. Continue grilling the chicken until it is cooked through, then remove the chicken breast to a serving plate and add a final brush of BBQ before covering and letting it rest. After resting, chop into appropriate bite-size pieces.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the ranch dressing and BBQ sauce, making sure to taste and adjust the ratio as desired. Add a pinch of salt and pepper to the concoction as needed.
  3. Combine all the ingredients in a large serving bowl. Drizzle the salad with the ranch dressing, then toss lightly to coat. Top it with crushed tortilla chips and cilantro and serve.


2. Quinoa Salad

While we’re still on the salad train, this next dish is filled to the brim with a mix of healthy veggies and quinoa — a veritable superfood high in fibre and high-quality (vegetarian) protein. This quinoa salad is the perfect fit if you’re looking for a hearty vegetarian meal with a plant-based protein replacement.

This particular recipe is pretty much straightforward. You’ll need a bunch of fresh colourful vegetables, along with a dash of a homemade dressing mix. Best of all, it can be made in advance, which makes it a great meal prep option. Just don’t dress the salad until you’re ready to eat.

Ingredients
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chopped red cabbage
  • 1 cup edamame, shelled and cooked
  • 1 red bell pepper chopped
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 cup diced cucumber

For The Dressing

  • 1/4 cup light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green onion
  • 1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

How To Make
  1. Add water, quinoa, and salt to a medium heat pan and bring to a boil. Boil for five minutes then turn the heat low and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the water is absorbed. Remove the quinoa from the heat and fluff with a fork. Add the quinoa, cabbage, edamame, red pepper, carrots, and diced cucumber in a large bowl and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the dressing until harmonious. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Pour the dressing over the quinoa salad and toss lightly to combine. Serve at room temperature or chilled.


3. Spicy Tuna Sandwiches

spicy sandwich

Sandwiches are the king of convenience. It is a dish that’s easy to prepare yet provides all the necessary nutrients to keep you going. And only a few ingredients are needed to complete a quick sandwich filling mix in less than 15 minutes.

As for protein, this sandwich recipe uses tuna as it is a good source of the nutrient, as well as being rich in essential fatty acids. To add a little bit of heat (and an additional protein boost) in there, the recipe leverages the use of spicy beans — something not many Asian recipes incorporate.

All that’s left is to then pick the bread of your choice. We’d, of course, recommend whole grain as it’s the healthier option.

Optional: Top your sandwich with a few slices of juicy tomato, avocado, and even bacon strips to bring this everyday sandwich up the next level.

Ingredients
  • 2 cans tuna in oil (olive, sunflower, etc.), drained
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2/3 cup chopped spicy beans
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons spicy bean brine
  • 1 tablespoon chive, minced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 slices of bread of your choice (white, whole grain, wheat, etc.)

How To Make
  1. In a bowl, combine tuna, mayonnaise, spicy beans, celery, spicy bean brine, and chives. Add salt and pepper to taste if required.
  2. Take two slices of your bread of choice (buttered) and spread the tuna filling on it. Serve on a plate or place in a sandwich bag and store in the fridge if you’re prepping in advance.
  3. For the added ingredients, you may also add slices of veggies like cucumber, tomatoes, avocado, and so on. Cheese and bacon may also be added to your sandwich for a more decadent meal.


4. Shrimp And Broccoli Stir-Fry With Rice

Let’s get back to the basics.

Stir-fry is a staple in most Chinese households for a good reason. It’s affordable, healthy, and easy to make! And like any other traditional Chinese stir-fry dish, the blend of flavours that come from this recipe pairs wonderfully with some good old white rice.

This easy shrimp and broccoli stir-fry recipe only needs eight ingredients and will be ready for your awaiting tummy in less than 20 minutes. But the best part is that it’s also low in calories so you won’t have to worry about your expanding waistline.

As for meal prepping, you could even make it in batches to store in your fridge (for up to two days). Just pop it in the microwave before you eat and you’re good to go.

Ingredients
  • 2 cups green beans
  • 1 head broccoli, cut, florets only
  • 2 tablespoons miso
  • 1 ginger root, peeled and minced
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon chives, minced
  • 1 1/2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • Sesame oil

How To Make
  1. First, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the green beans and broccoli florets, simmer for five minutes and drain well.
  2. In a large skillet, toss the ginger root, miso, vinegar, and chives in a generous drizzle of sesame oil over medium-low heat. Fry for 10 minutes before adding in the shrimp and cook for another 10 minutes, flipping the shrimp halfway through.
  3. Stir in the drained veggies, give it another good mix and take off the flame. Serve over a bowl of white rice.


5. One-Pot Pesto Pasta Salad

One-pot meals are all the rage these days. If you’re looking for a simple dish that can be made in under 30 minutes, we’ve got just the thing for you.

This one-pot pesto pasta meal uses only four ingredients to create something warm and comforting with minimal prep and even fewer dishes to boot! For something more homemade, you could give making your own pesto a try. But for our case, we’d definitely suggest buying a ready-made bottle of the sauce from the store — it’s much easier this way.

Want some protein with your meal? You’re free to add any amount of sides to your pot of pasta to your heart’s desires. We’d suggest cherry tomatoes, olives, and chicken/bacon slices for an even more fulfilling meal.

This dish can be served hot or cold. The leftovers also make for a great chilled pasta salad that you may instantly have for lunch on the days you’re working from home.

Ingredients
  • 2 cups pasta, small or medium shells
  • 2 cups frozen peas
  • 1 cup basil pesto
  • 1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper, to taste

How To Make
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season the pot of water liberally with salt and add the pasta. Add the frozen peas to the boiling water just before the pasta finishes cooking.
  2. Drain the pasta and peas, then return to the pot. Stir in the pesto and mix well.
  3. Add the grated parmesan cheese on top. Salt and pepper to taste if needed.

6. Peanut Butter Overnight Oats

If you’re looking for a meal that doesn’t require any cooking whatsoever, then perhaps overnight oats in a mason jar are exactly what you need. Overnight oats can be prepped up to two or three days in advance for a quick afternoon snack.

Typically eaten as a breakfast or brunch meal, you could easily repurpose a jar of overnight oats for a fibre-packed lunch meal full of vitamins and nutrients. Overnight oats as its name suggests, are rolled oats soaked in a liquid (milk, in this case) over a long period of time, usually overnight.

But oats, while healthy, are bland in taste. Thus, it comes as no surprise that plenty of overnight oat recipes incorporate a variety of naturally sweetened ingredients like fruits and nuts to boost the flavour.

Here we’ll introduce a peanut butter, protein-packed version of the convenient snack perfect after an intense workout or after a massive spurt of productive work.

Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup milk (unsweetened plain almond milk, coconut, soy, etc.)
  • 3/4 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 2 tablespoons natural salted peanut butter (creamy or crunchy)
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter (or other nuts/seed butter)
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup (coconut sugar or brown sugar works well too)
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats

Optional Toppings

  • Sliced fruits like banana, strawberries, or raspberries
  • Flaxseed meal or additional chia seed
  • Granola

How To Make
  1. Get yourself a mason jar or container or small bowl with a lid. Add the milk, chia seeds, peanut butter, and maple syrup (or other sweeteners) to the container of your choice. Stir to combine. And don’t worry about the peanut butter not combining with the milk as you’ll get swirls of nutty goodness the next day to enjoy. Add more oats and stir well. Ensure that all oats are immersed in the milk by pressing down with a spoon.
  2. Cover your container and/or mason jar securely and set in the refrigerator overnight (or at least for six hours) to set.
  3. When you’re ready to chow, open the lid and enjoy as is. Or you could also garnish with some toppings like crushed almonds, granola, strawberries, and so on. 

7. Blueberry-Orange Parfait

Who says dessert can’t be healthy? Parfaits don’t necessarily have to be confined to the realm of desserts, they can also make for filling lunches — if you add the right ingredients.

This easy snack (for a serving of four) comprising fresh fruits comes together in a few minutes and can be made in advance. Just make sure to keep it covered and refrigerated. If you’re looking for a larger portion, you could also add on almonds, granola, and even more variations of fruits.

Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange rind, grated
  • 2 containers low-fat plain Greek-style yoghurt
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 2 cups orange sections
  • 1/4 cup wheat germ

How To Make
  1. Combine the sugar, orange rind, and Greek yoghurt in a small bowl, stirring the mixture until blended.
  2. Spoon 1/4 cup blueberries into four tall glasses each. Spoon about 2 1/2 tablespoons of the yoghurt mixture over the blueberries in each glass. Add 1/4 cup orange to each serving. Continue by repeating the layers with the remaining blueberries, yoghurt mixture, and orange.
  3. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of wheat germ over the cup of parfait and serve immediately.

All images from Shutterstock.

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