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optimising nutrition the fuel crisis of work lunches

Updated: Feb 19, 2023

At this time of year, many are working towards refreshed health and fitness goals. A critical component of anyone's performance is how we fuel our bodies. Not just what we eat and drink but also the when and how. Lunch at work is a topic that comes up a lot in the coaching conversations I have around this topic.

Grabbing sub-optimal food while on the go or finding lunch has been missed altogether is not going to help anyones afternoon performance.

Putting a little more thought and yes, some effort can make a huge difference. Here's an example of a work lunch you can make in advance which will keep you fuller for longer. There's an added bonus too, it will help keep more pounds in your pocket too.

super simple Spiced brown rice

The ingredients

  • 65g Brown Rice/wholegrain rice

  • 8 cherry tomatoes sliced in half

  • A generous portion of cucumber - cut into chunks

  • 1 spring onion - chopped finely

  • Tablespoon of savory spice mix (buy from your supermarket or you may find great value alternatives in specialist Asian supermarkets)

  • Mixed salad leaves to top

  • Splash of olive oil

The method

  1. Put a pan on to boil some salted water - check your rice packet instructions for the volume of water and rice cooking time

  2. Weigh out your brown rice. In the past, I've tended to judge rice rather than weigh it. This is a shortcut not worth taking in my view. The right amount of rice to water means you increase the chance of a good result.

  3. Chop the tomatos, spring onion, and cucumber up.

  4. After the allotted cooking time, try the rice to make sure it has cooked. Drain off any excess water.

  5. Add a splash of olive oil to the rice - this will help the rice from sticking together and help the spice mix stick to and therefore help the absorption by the rice.

  6. Stir in the spice mix.

  7. Add the salad.

  8. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

  9. Box and once cooled keep in the fridge. It will keep fine for a couple of days. So you could batch a couple of lunches up. This is what I tend to do and while it's a bit more effort it does mean that lunch is something I don't need to think about in the morning.

Mix it up

You can mix this recipe up by changing the salad elements or adding vegetables. There is a wide range of different spice mixes you could experiment with too. And if you want to add meat or fish, then, of course, you can.

Three comments about brown rice

  1. It does take longer to cook - I've found the one I use is about 30 minutes. When flavored with other things I bet you won't notice any difference in flavor to white rice.

  2. Brown rice makes your body work a little harder to break it down so you will be fuller for longer - a technical term it's a complex carbohydrate. It also means you will avoid a slump as your body deals with sugar spikes generated by simple carbohydrates such as white rice.

  3. Brown rice is great value. 500g will cost you around £1.25 - that's a lot of lunches. Compare that to a sandwich from one of the high street chains.

Sometimes is better than no times

If you haven't done anything like this before then why not give it a go? You don't have to be a slave to do it forevermore. Experimenting and seeing how it makes you feel is something worth considering. Go for one or two days a week to start with and see how you get on.

Star of the show

This is the spice mix I used in this particular version of the rice. It includes a bunch of different seeds which are also great for us.

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