ARC Review: Packed: Lunch Hacks to Squeeze More Nutrients into Your Day by Becky Alexander

 

Book cover for Packed by Becky Alexander

Title: Packed: Lunch Hacks to Squeeze More Nutrients into Your Day
Author: Becky Alexander, Michelle Lake
Publisher: Nourish
Publication Date: February 14, 2017
Stars: 3.5/5

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!

Goodreads | Amazon

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.

image of popcorn in a white bowl
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.

image of granola in a jar and on a baking sheet

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.

 

weekend cooking image

I’ve linked this post over at Beth Fish Reads Weekend Cooking.

15 thoughts on “ARC Review: Packed: Lunch Hacks to Squeeze More Nutrients into Your Day by Becky Alexander

  1. Kelly says:

    This looks interesting! I love cookbooks and am always looking for new ones to add to my collection. I’m not entirely sure that this one would be for me though, as I like my lunch time to be simple and easy, with two kids and a husband (or should I say three kids?). But still, this seems like it might have some interesting ideas for weekend lunches! Great review!

  2. Katherine @ I Wish I Lived in a Library says:

    This looks interesting and like something that would apply to me. I work from home so in theory lunch shouldn’t be an issue but I never think about what I’m going to have for lunch so there’s never anything to prepare or eat other than a regular sandwich. This looks like it would add some variety for lunch and snacks. Great review!

    • Candid Cover says:

      There is absolutely a lot of variety and some really interesting recipes in this book. If you do have the time to try some of them, I am sure that they would be enjoyable. 🙂

  3. Claudia says:

    Well, I’m past the stage of packing lunches, but there might just be ideas for healthy eating that would be useful. I like the sound of that popcorn. Will probably check it out at the library.

  4. Laurie C says:

    I like the sound of the Paprika Popcorn, too! I have been seeing Mason-jar lunches, and I always think, what if it breaks on your way into work? Maybe there are plastic Mason jars now, though. I have really gotten creative with my packed lunches lately, but I’m always up for new ideas. This cookbook sounds good!

    • Candid Cover says:

      I am always nervous about breaking my Mason jars, too! So far, I have been lucky, but you just never know. Maybe I should try to switch over to something more durable, but I wonder if it would affect the flavour. 🙂

  5. Beth F says:

    Shoot. I have this one on my eReader — I was hoping for awesome lunch hacks. I’ll review it anyway because it sounds like it has some good recipes.

  6. Sue @ Crushingcinders says:

    Breakfast is the most difficult meal for me. I am not a morning person, wake up at the last possible minute and often have no time to eat. I need this book for the breakfast on the go ideas. Thanks for sharing.

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