By Chevaune Hindley
As a busy working mama, Zoe Bingley-Pullin knows how important a healthy diet and exercise regime is to keep her mental health in check (which has never been more important than these past few months in iso!) and she even schedules exercise sessions into her diary like any other appointment.
Zoe, who is a nutritionist and celebrity chef, says a nourishing meal is key and often mums forget to look after themselves, because we’re always rushing to pack the kids’ lunchboxes in the morning or making sure they have snacks throughout the day. That’s why Zoe tries to stay organised and packs herself a lunch before she heads out to work, and it’s something WFH mamas can do too! Because it’s so important to keep yourself fuelled on healthy and nutritious meals when you’re on the go all the time.
1 // Get the balance right
When thinking of lunchbox meals, pick a food item from each food group to combine to create a complete meal. This formula should help to make lunchbox planning easy AF.
Protein: meat, fish, legumes, eggs, cheese, tofu, nuts/seeds
Healthy fats: avocado, extra virgin olive oil, nuts/seeds
Complex carbs: brown rice, freekeh, sourdough bread, legumes, sweet potato
Veggies: tomato, cucumber, green leafy’s, green beans, broccoli, beetroot, cauliflower, sprouts, capsicum, carrot
A few meal ideas:
Baked tofu with roasted sweet potato, leafy greens, cucumber and avocado
Chickpeas tossed with brown rice, nuts/seeds, roasted cauliflower and leafy green
Sandwich using sourdough topped with avocado, feta cheese, sprouts and grated carrot
2// Keep snacks simple
A snack is designed to see you through to your next meal and add nutrition to your diet. Opt for simple snacks such as raw fruit, nuts/seeds, yoghurt, hummus, veggie sticks or a packet of roasted chickpeas – most of these can be organised at the start of the week, ready to go straight into the lunchbox each day.
3 // Use your leftovers
It goes without saying, leftovers are a saving grace during the working week! If you aren’t into reheating meals, simply cook more key ingredients and turn them into a new meal. For example, some extra chicken or fish, along with extra roasted vegetables or grains. The following day, simply toss the key ingredients with a handful of leafy greens or other vegetables, nuts/seeds and you have an express balanced meal.
4 // Premade toppers
If you are in a lunchbox rut, even the most boring combo of ingredients can easily become exciting with a few key toppers.
Fermented or pickled veg – kimchi, sauerkraut or dill pickles
Dressings: tahini mixed with garlic, lemon juice, water, salt and pepper
Toasted nuts and seeds or coconut flakes
Dips: beetroot, hummus, pesto etc
Hot sauce or tomato salsa
5 // Have the right containers
If you don’t have the right containers to pack food into, it’s easy to fall into the takeaway trap. Reusable containers are environmentally friendly and make healthy eating more achievable. Purchase a wide range of BPA free containers in varying sizes, some which can be used to reheat food, and store them where they can be easily accessed. As simple as this sounds, it will make a difference to feeling motivated to pack a lunch.
6 // Keep a list
When you have hit the jackpot with a lunchbox combo win, write it down. Do this until you form a list of meals and lunchbox additions. When in a rut or stuck for ideas, refer back to the list for ideas so reinventing the wheel isn’t necessary! Keep the list in a handy spot like the fridge.
Zoe Bingley-Pullin started her career as a trained chef and nutritionist before going on to host Good Chef Bad Chef for five seasons. After leaving the show, she’s enjoyed working on the House of Wellness, manages her own consulting business, has self-published two books and has now teamed up with Dietlicious to launch her 4 Week Body Reset Program with movement videos, meal plans, cooking demos, guided meditations and daily emails.