Susie Burrell

‘your food, your body, your life’

Meal Prep Ideas for your return to the office

This is a sponsored post, brought to you by Australian Bananas.

There are pros and cons that come with working from home. On the pro side there is no commute eating into precious time each day, however a big con for many is missing out on the socialising aspect.

From a health perspective, working from home can also be good and bad. On one hand you have access to your fridge meaning you can make a range of delicious healthy lunches and snacks, while some find being so close to the fridge and pantry a recipe for disaster with overeating. So, if you are making your way back into the office as COVID restrictions ease up, here are some easy ways to keep your nutrition on track, especially if the office kitchen is closed for business.

1. Make your own

From a nutritional perspective, taking your lunch to work each day is the easiest way to keep your calories controlled and it will save you plenty of money and time in food courts. If heating up leftovers is not an option, your next best homemade lunch option is super sandwiches or wraps that you can load up with lean protein and tons of salad to create a satisfying meal. Pre-made options will mean that you do not need to track down plates and cutlery at work. Store these in a cooler bag to keep nice and fresh!

2. Utilise soups

You may not have access to the office fridge and microwave right now, but chances are you will have access to boiling water. This means you can still add some warm hearty soup to your lunches of choice to boost both the vegetable content and bulk of your lunch. Look for packaged soups that contain less than 600-800mg of sodium per serve and that are vegetable based to reap the nutritional benefits that come from adding a warming soup to your lunchtime meal. Another easy option is to invest in a thermos and take your warm homemade or fresh soup with you each day to enjoy with your sandwich or crackers. 

3. Go for homemade treats

While the office biscuit tin and lolly jar is off limits, healthy homemade treats will be the way to go for the next few months and the good news is that there are plenty of options. Banana muffins, zucchini banana bread, peanut butter balls and even pre-made pikelets are all tasty, nutritious treats that will give you the sweet hit you are looking for minus the calories of treats typically found at cafes and convenience stores. 

4. Remember that breakfast can be enjoyed anytime

Hot food including eggs may be off the menu if you regularly prepare your breakfast at the office, but fibre and protein rich Bircher muesli bowls can make a super filling lunch option that stores well in cooler bags. Have your overnight oats teamed with milk, Greek yoghurt, nuts and fresh fruit like banana as an easy, pre made lunch option that will keep you full and satisfied throughout the afternoon. 

5. Know the better delivered options

If your UberEats account has been working overtime the past few weeks, it may be exceptionally tempting to keep ordering your hot lunch to the office. Keep in mind that foods we buy from take away and fast food outlets generally contain double the calories of a meal we would prepare at home. For this reason, if you are still ordering in regularly, seek out the lighter option such as Naked Burritos, toasted wraps, plain stir fries minus the rice, sushi and sashimi plates.

Recipe – Banana Walnut Loaf

Serves 10-12

Ingredients

3-4 very ripe mashed bananas

1 cup wholemeal self raising flour

1 cup plain self raising flour

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup milk 

1 cup chopped walnuts

2 eggs, beaten

50g butter, melted

1 tsp. vanilla essence

Method

1. Combine wet ingredients with sifted flour and sugar, banana and walnuts.

2. Bake at 170deg for 50-60mins.