Title: Packed: Lunch Hacks to Squeeze More Nutrients into Your Day
Author: Becky Alexander, Michelle Lake
Publication Date: February 14, 2017
Summary (from Goodreads): The workday packed lunch – so often a repetitive and disappointing affair – is easier than you think to get right; it just requires a little forward planning. Throw out the soggy sandwiches and fill your Thermos or lunch box with nutrient-packed goodies that are simple to prepare, delicious – and full of things that are good for you. Contemporary and seasonal recipes are supported by sound nutrition to bring you this hip and easy guide on lunch on the go. While food writer Becky Alexander shows you how to knock up simple and satisfying bites – from vibrant Skip to the Beet Soup to satisfying Good Mood Cookies – nutritionist Michelle Lake will explain how that lunch is doing you good. Chapters include:
– Get Up and Go for those breakfasts on the run
– Raw Goodness salads
– Filling Flasks of satisfying hot food
– Fork-free Fare: sandwiches, dips and other cutlery-free eats
– Snacks and Bites for the inbetween times and treats
By strategic shopping, making things ahead, and using your fridge and freezer craftily, creating exciting and healthy lunches every day becomes almost effortless. Health benefits of particular foods are featured throughout, so you know your blood sugar will be balanced, the nutrition will be packed in and your brain will be kept in top gear. Because work is harder when you’re not fully fuelled!
I am always searching for ways to simplify my life and my routine. Eating healthy and making wise food choices is something that is important to me and I am sure many others out there. While Packed has some wonderful ideas and takes an interesting approach to lunchtime fare, most of the recipes and ideas were not in accordance with my definition of a “lunch hack,” a way to use shortcuts and tricks to simplify my productivity.
Smoothies for breakfast and salads for lunch are not a relatively new concept for healthy eating options. However, there are some interesting combinations and ideas that may shake things up for you, if you are looking for new ideas. Some of the other recipes included in this book are deli plates, soups and even sushi. As you can imagine, the soups will take some effort to prepare and the sushi will require time, equipment, and skill. These techniques are unique and they are definitely a delicious approach to your standard lunch, but you will have to put quite a bit of effort into their creations.
As for the recipes included in the Snacks and Bites chapter, these are quite a bit easier to prepare. However, I still found that the number of dishes, time, and ingredients to make something as simple as popcorn was a little excessive. I made the Paprika Popcorn, which was quite tasty. The method uses coconut oil to pop the corn in a pan on the stove and a small amount of butter and paprika. I am not sure if I would go to all of this trouble before leaving in the morning, but I will concede that it is a healthy and filling snack.
Another recipe that I enjoyed from Packed was the Pick-and-Mix Granola. I really enjoy granola and it is so versatile, as you can snack on it and use it as a topping for so many other foods. This recipe calls for oil, sweetener, grains, spice, nuts, seeds, and dried fruit. What is great about this approach is you can choose from a variety of items and make it all your own. I used coconut oil, oatmeal, cinnamon, vanilla, walnuts, sunflower seeds, and dried cranberries. The recipe is simple enough, yet will require an hour to bake in the oven.
If you are looking for some different lunch ideas that have health benefits, then you may want to take a look at Packed. Many of these recipes will require time and some skill, so if a “hack” is what you are after for your lunchtime routine, this book may not provide you with those solutions. There are quite a few recipes in this book that I will definitely attempt on weekends, but most of these ideas don’t work for my busy lifestyle.
I’ve linked this post over at Beth Fish Reads Weekend Cooking.