If you ask a mom how many times they sat down and ate a good healthy lunch this week, most will say not many. Now ask a mom how many times they ate the leftovers sandwiches, chicken nuggets or noodles off their kids’ plates.. you’ll get a higher number! I am incredibly guilty of sucking at not only eating properly but just eating in general. A stumbled across a make-ahead lunch solution which changed my eating habits forever.
One word… QUINOA! I’m serious! When I began training for the Vancouver Sun Run part of my sponsorship was meals from my lovely friends’ Whole Cuisine and they kept sending me quinoa. What is this little ball of weirdness?! If you’re like me at all, you probably pronounce it wrong for the first little while or questioned how you pronounce it. Search no longer, it’s pronounced “keen-whah”, not a grain, but it’s actually a seed!
Why do I love quinoa? Well, it actually contains more protein than any other grain or seed. What’s even better is when your kids like it too! Quinoa is a complete protein meaning it actually contains essential amino acids our body cannot make on its own!
I personally find Quinoa a bit bland so I like to cook mine in a broth, as opposed to water! Alongside some very simple herbs and spices, this has become a very simple make-ahead dish that both Zoe and I enjoy! It was really easy to fall in love with Quinoa especially knowing all the good stuff that comes along with it, a great source of calcium, high in lysine, B- Vitamins and iron and did I mention gluten-free?
This simple lunch contains ingredients that I normally have in my fridge. Lunch is served within 45 minutes and lasts 3 days. It’s one of those things that after the initial cook time, I can put together within minutes as an easy lunch on the go, therefore removing all excuses of “I didn’t have time” or “there was nothing to eat”
Without further adieu, the recipe that will change lunchtime forever!
Broth or Water (whichever you prefer)
Baked Chicken Breasts
Grape Tomatoes cut in half
With leftover Chicken from our weekly beer can chicken, I’m usually half way there. However, 2-3 chicken breasts in the oven with some herbs and spices work the same. Cut it into cubes, keep it separate and dish out as needed. Zoe doesn’t like her ingredients to touch so I serve these contents in a broken down form for her!
While the chicken is cooking, this is when I prepare the quinoa. Depending on which brand you’re using, they will have different instructions. This is one of the only time that I will ever really follow the instructions as is. I’ve learned my lesson, quinoa is one thing you don’t mess around with!
Cut cucumbers into cubes and tomatoes in half and set aside. Cucumbers are Zoe’s favourite so we go through armfuls of them a week, no lie! If I’m feeling really adventurous, I’ll sometimes make bruschetta ahead of time and add that instead of grape tomatoes.
I like to leave all ingredients separate until ready to eat, this way it’s easier for you to serve the kids what you know they will eat and for you to also portion out your food. Some days I like to go heavier on the tomatoes than others but nonetheless. This prep is very easy, cleans up fast and will last for days. Having the Chicken and Quinoa done ahead of time make lunchtimes 1000 times easier especially when it comes to feeding the zoo (kids)and I feel better knowing that I’ve made a solid effort to take care of myself. Remember your body is like a car, it’s not going far if you don’t put fuel in it and just think healthy food is like putting in premium gas, you get better gas mileage and your car feels better!
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