Lunch for Hump Day

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The Menu:

“Chip & Dip” Appetizer: Apple Chips & Peanut Butter

Entree: Side Salad & Cheese Board

All-Day Snack: Apples

Dessert: Nectarines

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The Containers:

  • 1 Ziploc container
  • 1 metal container with a center divide
  • 2 mini mason jars
  • 1 tiny upcycled jelly jar
  • 2 Ziploc bags
  • 1 cloth coffee sack

The Recipes:

Salad & Balsamic Vinaigrette

  • 1.5 cups of loosely packed organic kale mix
  • 1 tsp organic olive oil from Trader Joes
  • 1 tsp of oregano-infused white-balsamic vinegar
  • 1 pinch of paprika

Directions:

  1. Place the greens in the large Ziploc container.
  2. Combine the olive oil, vinegar, and pinch of paprika in the tiny jelly jar. There is no need to stir or shake now. Wait, and enjoy doing it at lunch tomorrow. Secure the lid.
  3. Place the vinaigrette jar in the Ziploc container on top of the greens. That way, if it leaks a little bit, the vinaigrette will drip on the greens, not the inside of your lunch box.

Cheese Board

  • 1”x 1”x 1” cube of semi-soft cheese (cheddar, alpine, pecorino)
  • 5-7 raw olives with pits
  • 1 handful of raw walnuts
  • 1 small zucchini
  • 1 pinch of paprika
  • 1 pinch of black pepper
  • ¼ of a carton of hummus
  • 2 slices of bread
  • Parchment Paper and scissors

Directions:

  1. Cut the cheese cube into 5-7 individual slices. Sprinkle some paprika and pepper on the cheese. Cut a square of parchment paper with the scissors and loosely wrap the cheese cubes. Place in container.
  2. Cut another square of parchment paper. Loosely wrap the olives in the paper and place in the same container as the cheese.
  3. Cut the zucchini into sticks (for dipping) and place in the container. Sprinkle the sticks with paprika and pepper. If your container is not divided like mine is, cut another square of parchment paper. Then, loosely wrap the zucchini sticks and place them next to the olives and cheese.
  4. Put the walnuts in the container wherever they will fit. Scattered on top or in their own section works equally well.
  5. Scoop the hummus in the other mini mason jar, sprinkle with paprika, and secure the lid.
  6. Put the bread into the other Ziploc bag and seal.

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Parchment paper and scissors are great lunch-packing tools. By loosely wrapping all the components of the cheese board, you keep their flavors, residues, and oils from mingling. It’s a low cost way to upgrade  ordinary containers already in your cupboard.

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“Chips & Dip”: Apple Chips with Peanut Butter and Honey

  •  3 tbs. of organic creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tsp. of local honey
  • 1 pinch of organic cinnamon
  • 2-3 handfuls of organic dehydrated apple chips

Directions:

  1. Spoon the peanut butter into a mini mason jar.
  2. Drizzle the honey directly on top of the peanut butter. There is no need to stir now. Wait, and enjoy doing it at lunch tomorrow.
  3. Sprinkle the cinnamon on top of the honey. Put the lid on the jar.
  4. Place the apple chips in the Ziploc bag and seal.

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Why so much paprika? First, it is beautiful on food. Second, each dusting on my cheese, salad dressing, and hummus represents a dose of nutrients I want: iron (healthy blood), Vitamin A (healthy eyes), and Vitamin E (healthy skin). Spices are nutrient powerhouses!

All-day snack: Apples

  • 2 small apples

Directions:

  1. Rinse and dry.
  2. Place in the cloth coffee bag to keep them protected and clean. Once you get to work, you could keep this bag on your desk, so it’s ready at 10 a.m. when breakfast wears off, at 2 p.m. when your energy level lulls mid afternoon, or whenever the vending machine looks enticing.

I rely on my all-day snack. Before the end-of-the-day commute, I usually munch on whatever I have leftover in my lunch. When I start my drive, I’m ready. There is a good chance I’m going to get stuck in traffic, but at least I’m not going to be ravenous too.

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Dessert

  • 2 small nectarines

Directions:

  1. Rinse and dry.
  2. Place in the cloth coffee bag with the apples.

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Information on Paprika:

Photo Credits:

  • All photos by Amy Riedel.
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4 comments

  1. brooksam81@yahoo.com · · Reply

    Love all the wonderful ideas!! The combinations and displays change the way I look at food.

  2. Who ever said that eating right couldn’t be yummy & easy!

  3. This is sooooo amazing!!! It makes me see that packing lunch is not hard at all and what you pack can be very satisfying!!

  4. WOW!!! SO easy to assemble and looks SUPER yummy. I can seriously hardly wait for tomorrow’s lunch!!! 😀

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