The 5 Best Power Lunches That’ll Cover You From Monday To Friday

by | Mar 10, 2011 | Recipes

Take your packed lunch beyond the sandwich!
These five filling, but low-fat salads will see you through the week and keep you at peak performance from nine till five…

Monday’s Post-Weekend Detox

beetroot salad
Beetroot, Baby Spinach And Lentil Salad
Serves 2
Beetroots are known for their detoxifying qualities, lentils lend B vitamins, protein and substance, yoghurt is good for digestion and it’s finished with some antioxidant-rich leaves.
What You Need
1 bunch beetroot, washed and stems removed
1 & 1/2 cups cooked baby brown lentils
2 cups loosely packed baby spinach leaves
1/4 Mediterranean cucumber, thinly sliced (optional)
For The Dressing
1 cup plain non-fat yoghurt
2 tbsp mint, finely chopped
2 tbsp dill, finely chopped
2 tbsp extra-virgin or light (whichever is fewer calories) olive oil
Sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 200C. Wrap each beetroot in heavy foil so that they are well sealed. Bake for 40 minutes or until a skewer or knife inserted goes in without any resistance. Allow to cool slightly and then unwrap, peel and slice. Mix the dressing ingredients until well-combined. Add the spinach leaves, lentils, cucumber and beetroots to a bowl and spoon over the dressing.
Cook’s Tip: Tinned lentils will be softer and ready-cooked beetroot (often tossed with vinaigrette) sweeter. Goat’s feta or labneh is a great addition.
Per 467g serving: 1800 kJ, 15g fat, 430mg sodium, 58g carbs, 18g fibre, 20g sugars, 22g protein.

Tuesday’s Board-Meeting Boost

Italian Salad With Roast Beef Tonnato
Makes 2 Jars
Protein helps keep you alert and focused and there’s plenty of it in here. The office-lunch regular, tinned tuna, is added to a salad of juicy cherry tomatoes and protein-rich chickpeas, slivers of rare roast beef and a sauce similar to that used in the classic Italian dish Vitello Tonnato.
What You Need
170g tin tuna
200g tinned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
200g rare roast beef
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
30g flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
1 tbsp light olive oil
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
Sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
For The Tonnato Sauce
2tbs mayonnaise (We used Hellmann’s)
2tbs fat-free yoghurt
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp drained capers
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
For the tonnato sauce, process a quarter cup of the tinned tuna with the other dressing ingredients until smooth. Halve the cherry tomatoes and toss with the olive oil, red wine vinegar and flatleaf parsley; season well. Spoon the tonnato dressing into the bottom of a large, clean jar. Top with half the roast beef, then half the tomatoes, tuna and chickpeas and seal well. Repeat with the second jar. Eat straight from the jar or spoon onto thick slices of wholegrain bread.
Per 426g serving: 2428kJ, 28g fat (5g sat), 1030mg sodium, 29g carbs, 6g fibre, 3g sugars, 55g protein.

Wednesday’s Protein Fix

Crunchy Quinoa Salad
Serves 2
Although resembling couscous, quinoa is a complete protein. The edamame beans also push up the protein quotient, while low-GI wild rice will sustain your energy levels. Cashews offer good fats and fennel and radish a summery crunch.
What You Need
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 cup cooked wild rice
1 fennel bulb, base and stalks removed, fronds reserved
6 radishes, washed, topped and tailed
½ cup cooked edamame beans (available from Woolworths)
For The Dressing
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp light olive oil
Grated zest of 1/4 lemon
Sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
Combine the dressing ingredients, season and mix well. Using a food processor or mandoline, shave thin slices of fennel and radish. Finely chop the fennel fronds for garnish. Toss the quinoa, wild rice, fennel, radish and edamame beans with the dressing, sprinkle with the chopped fennel fronds and cashews.
Per 380g serving: 1717kJ, 18g fat (2g sat), 310mg sodium, 53g carbs, 9g fibre, 3g sugars, 14g protein.

Thursday’s Deskbound Power Lunch

Alternative Caesar Salad
Serves 2
The Caesar salad is a classic, but think of this as its health-conscious cousin: substitute a toasted whole-wheat pita for oil-laden croutons and add sweet green beans, crisp cos lettuce, soft-boiled eggs and good-for-you tahini instead of a creamy dressing.
What You Need
2 heads cos lettuce, washed
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 wholewheat pita bread, split and torn
1 small packet green beans, topped and tailed
For The Dressing
3 tbsp tahini
1 large garlic clove, crushed with salt
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
4 tbsp cold water
Sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
Blanch the green beans by plunging them into a pot of vigorously boiling water for about four minutes. Test by tasting a bean – as soon as they are tender, drain and plunge into a bowl of ice water. Add the eggs to a pot of boiling water and boil for five minutes. Run under cold water and leave to cool. Peel and cut into quarters. Toast the pita pieces under the grill until golden brown. For the dressing, mix the tahini, garlic, olive oil and lemon juice together and gradually whisk in the water until it is a pouring consistency. Season well. Tear the cos lettuce, top with green beans, egg and pita croutons and drizzle with the dressing. Season with salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper.
Per 207g serving: 1800kJ, 32g fat (5g sat), 450mg sodium, 29g carbs, 6g fibre, 3g sugars, 14g protein.

Friday’s Park-Bench Picnic

Curried Chicken Salad
Serves 2
This is inspired by Coronation chicken and deconstructing the flavours of butter chicken – yoghurt, tomatoes (sun-dried here) and curry spice. More than a salad, it’s made deliciously filling with brown basmati, celery, raisins and carrots.
What You Need
2 cooked chicken breasts, diced
2 carrots, finely grated
6 leaves green butter lettuce
For The Curried Sauce
1/4 cup sundried tomatoes in oil, drained well (we used Woolworths doy packs)
1/2 cup Bulgarian yoghurt (Dairybelle’s stirred Bulgarian low-fat plain yoghurt works well because it’s thinner than other Bulgarian yoghurts)
1 tbsp mayonnaise (We used Hellmann’s)
1 tbsp medium curry powder
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
For The Rice
1 cup cooked brown basmati rice
2 celery stalks, finely sliced
2 handfuls flaked almonds, toasted
2 handfuls curly parsley, finely chopped
2 tbsp raisins
Combine the sauce ingredients in a food processor and process until well combined. Combine the rice ingredients and toss well. Arrange the butter lettuce in a container or on a plate, top with the carrot, chicken and then the sauce.
Per 382g serving: 2219kJ, 17g fat (2.5g sat), 360mg sodium, 62g carbs, 8g fibre, 11g sugars, 38g protein.
Try these 10 power breakfast recipes every active girl needs in her life. Plus: 6 comforting soups that’ll boost your immune system.

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