In the past I have found lunch the most trickiest of meals to plan for. While I have mentioned in my previous blog post the all too often temptation to eat out in the evening after a long day in the office, I actually find the eating out at lunchtime far more tempting. The first issue has always been that I have mostly worked in central Berlin. I am often surrounded by plenty of restaurants and cafes to go out for lunch and my colleagues have always felt the same, resulting in me wanting to go out not just for the delicious food on offer but also to socialise and not be left in the office alone – especially during those glorious summer months!
The other issue is the whole situation with meal-preparation. I have spoken about this before and I am quite particular in my meal planning – I absolutely do not want my life to run with a meal plan for breakfast, lunch and dinner every single day of the week. Life is so much more than that. I like a last minute meet up with friends, a little date night with the husband and to also be prepared for a last minute meeting or to go out for a nice lunch. I don’t want to create a strict schedule that allows me on Tuesday to eat out when I quite often have no idea what each day of the week is going to be like! Life is simply too short. Yet I do fully support meal planning and shopping lists because everyone needs some structure. And let’s face it, if the fridge isn’t full with the ingredients I need for dinner that night then it’s likely I won’t be cooking at all. You can read about my meal planning and shopping list structure here, it is flexible and doesn’t cater for every single meal. It also allows for busy weeks when you might be home less while still avoiding a load of food waste.
I like to batch cook my lunches so that I have them ready in the fridge. I usually put them together on a Sunday and create dishes that will keep 3-4 days. This way I have a delicious packed lunch for most of the week, allowing me to still sometimes go out. This Goats Cheese, Red Lentil and Rocket Salad is one of my favourites to make and you can easily mix up the ingredients a bit. I always have the red lentils as the base and then swap one of the dishes with feta or add some different veggies to make it a little different. This is so easy to make and keeps in the fridge nicely. I also keep dressings in a separate box and pour that over the salad just before eating to avoid it going all stodgy and sloppy!
- 120g red lentils
- 2 handfuls of fresh rocket (roughly torn)
- 100g goats cheese (crumbled)
- 12 cherry tomatoes (halved)
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- Juice of half a lemon
- Dash of olive oil
- Salt/ pepper
- 1 small red chilli (finely sliced)
- Add the red lentils to a pan of boiling water, bring to a boil and cook for around 10 mins. Drain and rinse under cold water. Add to a large mixing bowl.
- Add the lemon juice, paprika and a dash of olive oil. Mix well.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well until combined. Season with salt and pepper.
- Distribute to separate Tupperware boxes and if you are making an additional dressing then make sure to keep in a separate box.