I remember the first day I started work at Sweaty Betty. I went to the kitchen to make a cup of green tea and the microwaves were full of steaming kale and organic flaxseed/hemp protein/chia seed porridge pots. And that was just for breakfast. I felt somewhat ashamed of my Pret salad, which I discreetly tucked into the back of the fridge – behind shelves full of quinoa salads, boiled eggs and more greens than you could feed a field of horses. It was clear I had to up my lunchtime game, and fast.
It started with ready-made quinoa (Merchant Gourmet makes the best!) and diced up tofu. Occasionally I’d go as far as boiling a big batch of lentils on the weekend to get me through the week. And soon I became a lunch prep pro. Funny thing is, the difference it made to my training was astronomical. Eating wholesome, preservative-free, homemade food at lunch meant I had so much more energy in the afternoons. No emergency sandwiches when work prevented me from stepping out before the hunger hit. No more 4pm chocolate fixes in response to low blood sugar. Post-work workouts? I was smashing them, and had an extra skip in my step all the way home.
That’s why I designated one of my 2015 New Year’s Resolutions to getting more creative with my midday munching. And to some extent I’ve made good progress. My local organic food shop, As Nature Intended, has claimed a fair share of my wages since I’ve started stocking up on all manner of pulses and rices to add variety to my lunchboxes. But to hold me even more accountable to this mealtime mission, I’m launching this new blog series to share my favourite weekday recipes. From super simple to slightly trickier concoctions that are a real treat, I vouch that every recipe I post will be easy to incorporate into your busy schedule with just a little forward planning.
Starting nice and simple, I want to share this healthy take on one of my all-time favourite lunchtime dishes – coronation chicken. I’ve been eating mine all week on top of sweet potatoes (pre-baked on the weekend) and with a side of salad or steamed beans. And for all of the 5min it took to prep a big batch on Sunday night, it’s been a great source of inspiration from the first tea break to the much-anticipated moment the clock ticks 1pm. Or maybe slightly earlier… Don’t judge me until you’ve had your first bite!
Healthy Coronation Chicken
Makes 4 servings
Breast of 2 chickens or roast chicken leftovers
4tbsp olive oil mayo (I like this Biona Organic one; look for olive oil over sunflower oil in your mayo to keep your mind sharp with a healthy dose of omegas, or try swapping with natural Greek yoghurt for an even leaner variation)
2tsp mild curry powder
Ground black pepper to taste
1tbsp Tomato or mango chutney (optional)
1. Mix the mayo, pepper, optional chutney and sultanas in a large bowl until the colour is consistent.
2. Tear the chicken into thin strips and stir it in vigorously until well coated in the paste.
3. Add in the curry powder, 1/2 a teaspoon at a time. I save this for the end so I can check the taste is just perfect before it gets too much kick.
4. Store it in the fridge, ready to spoon over your choice of sweet potato or open sandwich for lunch, or Ryvita crackers for a protein-packed snack. Never let me hear you say simple is boring!
Do you have a go-to packed lunch? Let me know what kind of food inspiration you’d like to see on these pages, and you may just inspire me to explore a new avenue of weekday meal prep!