Making Tiffins More Tempting…

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Posted by gilly

As a working woman in today’s hustle and bustle society, the concept of lunch is integral. I consider my lunch break the essential physical and mental pit-stop of my day. Like a race car vying for the finish line, it’s nearly impossible to perform without it.

And as with all pit stops, the tools and effort involved around tuning up the car greatly influence its ability to get back and chase down the checkered flag.

I do my best to pack my own lunch every day – and my husband’s when he’s open to it.

This isn’t always easy – and it certainly takes a bit of forethought, but the benefit of knowing exactly what I’m eating, and promoting nutritious, delicious, and balanced meals really helps to keep up the habit.

While I’m certainly no expert, I thought I would share a few thoughts how I try to make tiffins more tempting (and how I try to make making tiffins more tempting, too). But don't restrict these ideas to brown bagged lunches - they are useful for making lunches at home too!

Dinner tonight = a base for lunch tomorrow.
In the interest of saving a bit of time, I try and prepare a bit of extra dinner so that I can use some of it towards my lunch the next day. I can typically pack it up after we finish eating and a good portion of lunch is already made! I can enjoy my evening, confident that I need not frantically dart around in the morning, making substandard choices.

Besides the time saving factor, I have an even more important reason for doing this. As someone who adores cooking and baking, I pride myself on preparing high quality meals for dinner. I take time and care in preparing them, garnishing them, and savouring them. There is simply no way that I could possibly replicate this kind of love and attention to detail at 6am while frantically trying to throw something together. It’s a win-win situation: the quality of the food in my lunch is much better, and it gives me something to look forward to during the morning!

Fruit & Veggies = worthy lunch companions.
I won’t lie. Part of my enjoyment of food is oogling it. The more vibrant and colourful it is – the louder it sings. Fruits and vegetables provide the most beautiful colour palate, so I’m sure to include them as the majority of my lunches. I like to combine fresh fruits and vegetables into different types of salads – and finish it with a light homemade dressing. As a bonus, tossing a salad together takes very little time – you can throw one together while your dinner is cooking. I urge you to experiment with different flavour combinations. Here are a few of my favourites:

  • Baby spinach, orange segments, baby carrots, golden raisins, and a light dressing made with mango chutney combined with a little vinegar to thin it out.

  • Blanched broccoli (for the vibrant colour!), apples, baby carrots, red onion, celery, and a light dressing made with light mayo, a little vinegar, and a touch of sugar. Combine this one the night before to let the flavours mingle!

  • Romaine lettuce, black beans, corn kernels, green and red peppers, cilantro leaves, softened onions and mushrooms, and a light dressing made with fresh salsa, light sour cream, and a dash of lime.

Hint: Fruits and veggies that tend to go soggy are best kept intact until just before serving – so toss them in whole, along with a sharp knife, and prepare your salad fresh!

A tiny treat = a reward for your dedication.
Wait! Before you jump up and reach for that box of Oreos, I urge you to stop and really think about what constitutes a treat. Perhaps it’s not sweet at all! Many of the treats that I include are simply things that I don’t indulge in often – and often times they are savoury! Once in a while I’ll include some delicious thin slices of prosciutto, or top a dish with some finely shredded Parmigiano Reggiano, or thin slices of fresh Manchego from the market. If it is sweet, perhaps it’s fresh fruit that is in season, a small piece of dark chocolate, or a tiny sliver of your mother’s homemade pie.

Do yourself a favour – splurge on a little high-quality treat to tuck in once in a while. If cost is an object, remember that it’s likely more affordable now that you aren’t eating lunch out everyday.

Limiting lunch distractions = a chance truly experience lunch.
Given all of the time, ingredients, and effort you have put into making such a lovely tiffin, do yourself the justice of really enjoying it! Eat away from your desk, phone, and any other work distractions. Use a knife and fork. Eat small bites, put utensils down, and truly delight in the tastes and smells of your creations. Imagine if you had to write down what each bite was like – what kinds of words would you use to describe it? These little tricks truly make my lunch much more enjoyable, and allow me to be refreshed when I settle back down to work.

So there you have it. This is certainly not an exhaustive list, just a few things that you may want to keep in mind. Do you have any tricks that help make tiffins more tempting? We’d love to hear from you!

Until next time, I wish you health, happiness, and balance!

Gilly's Tiffin (Thursday):

  • baked solider beans with molasses and proscuitto (leftovers)
  • a homemade whole wheat pocket bread filled with baby spinach, sliced nectarines, shredded baby carrots, and dijon mustard
  • celery sticks with light cream cheese


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This Post was written by Gilly from Humble Pie


I can't believe I just found this blog. It's so cool! I could have used it years ago. I really need to visit here often so I can quit spending money at lunch on food that's not that good for me. Thanks for the ongoing inspiration.

Cyndi said...
February 2, 2007 at 6:37:00 AM GMT+1  

Gilly, this is a brilliant post. I have to adimit that there are times I miss lunch when I am sitting in front of the computer - but I like many of your ideas. That picture is so colorful who can resist.

Meeta said...
February 2, 2007 at 10:30:00 AM GMT+1  

I'm so glad that you have found us! I hope that we are able to keep inspiring you to take care of both yourself and your loved ones!

I was probably the worst back a few years ago - I'd literally stay in my seat for 9 hours a day - not healthy by ANY sort of standards. My productivity, ability to deal with stress and overall health have improved dramatically by taking a good 30-45 minutes to nourish myself - in many senses.

gilly said...
February 2, 2007 at 3:01:00 PM GMT+1  

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