6 ways to switch up work lunch

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Working long hours in a small business takes its toll, not only on your well-being, but on your wallet too. Between transport, coffees and keeping your work wardrobe sufficiently stocked, ensuring you’re well fed too can really set you back financially. New research from ING DIRECT shows that Aussies spend $8.3 billion buying their work lunches annually.

Here are three cost-effective, healthy and delicious lunch recipes to try. Don’t forget to let us know what your favourite lunch is you have while working on building your small business.

1. Black Quinoa, Spinach and Apple Salad

Delicious and made from nutrient rich, versatile ingredients that won’t break the bank.

Ingredients
1/2 cup of black quinoa (cooked), 2 cups baby spinach leaves, 1 red apple and 1 grated carrot and 4 tsp goats curd Dressing 3 tbsp olive oil, 1/2 lemon squeezed, 1 tbsp hot english mustard, salt and pepper

Method

1. Cook the quinoa as per packet instructions. You can do this the night before, and cook extra for additional meals throughout the week. Allow quinoa to cool before adding to salad.
2. Combine all dressing ingredients together and stir well. Set aside.
3. Cut apple into 1cm cubes, and combine with spinach, carrot and goats curd in a large bowl. Finally, add the quinoa and drizzle with dressing before stirring well.
4. Seal in airtight container to retain freshness.

2. Asparagus, Pumpkin & Goats Cheese Mini Frittata

Make a batch ahead of time and freeze. Pop your frozen frittata in your lunchbox and by lunch it will be ready to heat and eat.

Ingredients
500g pumpkin, cut into 3cm cubes extra virgin olive oil, 10 eggs, 1 bunch chopped chives, 1 bunch thin asparagus, (cut into 1.5cm pieces and blanched in boiling water for 1-2 minutes), 120g goats curd

Method
1. Preheat oven to 200°C. Spread pumpkin cubes on a baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil and season. Roast for 6-8 minutes until slightly tender. Reduce oven to 180°C.
2. Grease muffin tin or line with baking paper/cupcake liners. Dollop a sugar cube size of goats curd in each muffin mould.
3. In a bowl, lightly beat eggs, stirring in chives, salt and pepper. Add roasted pumpkin and asparagus and mix well. Spoon mixture evenly throughout muffin moulds. Dollop remaining goats curd on top of each frittata.
4. Bake for 18-20min or until golden brown on top. Stand for 10 minutes. Serve, fridge or freeze.

3. BAR-TOM: Basil, Avocado, Ricotta & Tomato Sandwich

Make and pack in the morning or take it to the next level by assembling at lunch time. Tip: the key is toasting the bread first.

Ingredients:
1⁄2 avocado, 1⁄2 cup firm Ricotta, handful of basil, 1⁄2 teaspoon grated lemon zest (optional), 2 slices soy linseed, sourdough or rye bread, 1 sliced tomato and salt and pepper

Method:
1. In a bowl mash the avocado with a fork. Add ricotta, basil and lemon zest, and mix evenly. Season with salt and pepper.
2. Lay tomato slices on one slice of bread. Add a generous amount of ricotta mixture on top of the tomato. Close the sandwich and wrap tightly.

4. Get your whole team involved

Ready to try taking turns bringing in lunch at least one or two days a week? Set a budget and decide on an approximate weekly budget for group members to use as a guide. Fussy eaters needn’t be a problem, simply figure out what ingredients are no go’s. This is particularly important if you have colleagues with food allergies and intolerances. This is also a way way to ensure you spend regular time ‘team bonding’ and coming up with new ideas for the business over a healthy lunch.

5. How to start a ‘salad club’

Let the supermarket catalogue lead the way and opt for weekly specials when you’re on duty. At the end of the day you want to get the best value for money and shopping for deals is the easiest way to save. If supplying lunch five days a week is hard, start small instead. Even if you’re doing salad club for two or three days a week, there are savings to be had. This allows greater flexibility when it comes to your commitment, and is a good option if any of our small business colleagues work part-time.

6. Ready to do lunch? Here’s how to get started!

While we’re not all capable of making friends with salad, most of us have friends or, at the very least, money-conscious colleagues. They’re the perfect accomplices to help fulfill your mission of a more plentiful bank account. The idea is a rotating roster whereby you and your colleagues take turns at supplying lunch, one week at a time. The person ‘on duty’ pays for and brings in lunch for their allocated week, before kicking back and relaxing while their colleagues make all the effort in weeks two, three and four. Don’t forget to let us know how you go!

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