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lunch boxes for adults | vegetable fried rice for dieters, mango salsa and home made yogurt

Someone asked me about lunch box options last month and I started rattling about the various options one can carry to office everyday. I was talking to a new mother who has to leave her daughter to her grandparents before leaving for office, the lunch box is prepared by a part time cook who can prepare only the basic Indian dishes.

One of the challenges faced by working mothers is taking care of their own health and they often find themselves compromising on their own food, mostly to save some time or just succumbing to whatever is available. There is so much to tackle everyday.

As I was talking to this acquaintance, I decided I will do a series of lunch box options with very simple yet tasty recipes that can be prepared easily with limited cooking skills. These lunch boxes have to be healthy and calorie smart, something that is filling, satisfying and energizing for a working day. And yet something that keeps one stick to their dietary goals.

lunch box types

I will be doing a series of lunch boxes for health conscious adults, what kind of lunch boxes to use and what kind of foods to carry in different seasons. In summers one needs to take care of the food that may get spoiled in a sealed lunch box, while in winters one needs reheating the food in office microwave or oven. We will discuss all those concerns one by one.

There is no limit to options but one has to plan smartly, make arrangements for ingredients and instruct the cook accordingly if the food is cooked by a part time or full time cook. There are many who cook their lunch boxes on their own and pack for office, in that case you may need to do some preparation the night before. I would recommend you get some help in chopping the vegetables and keeping them refrigerated in Tupperware containers or Ziplock pouches.

And then preparing a balanced lunch box meal wouldn't be difficult within 20-30 minutes in the morning. Here is a fried rice with mixed vegetables and sesame powder with just 3 tbsp cooked rice used per serving. A mango salsa makes a good accompaniment for such a rice dish and some home made yogurt balances the meal perfectly.

lunch box for adults

You can get the vegetables chopped finely the previous night, the rice can also be cooked and refrigerated or can be cooked in rice cooker in the morning while you prepare the vegetables. Mango salsa needs to be chopped in the morning, it stays well for about 4-5 hours at room temperature.

Recipe of fried rice (2 servings)

ingredients ...

cooked rice 5-6 tbsp
finely chopped cabbage 1 cup
grated carrots 1/2 cup
par boiled or frozen peas (frozen peas cook faster if they are tender) 1/2 cup
sesame powder 2 tbsp
salt and pepper to taste
garlic powder a pinch
dry ginger powder 1/2 tsp
turmeric powder 1/2 tsp
ghee 2 tsp
cumin seeds 1/2 tsp
lime juice or anardana powder (optional)

procedure... 

Cook rice on the side if precooked refrigerated rice is not being used.

Heat the ghee, add cumin seeds and let them crackle. Add the chopped vegetables at once along with salt and pepper. Stir to mix and cover for 5 minutes on low flame.

Add the powdered spices and stir well to mix. Cook for another couple of minutes, add lime juice or anaradana powder if using. Add the cooked rice and sesame powder and mix well. Adjust seasoning and pack.

Recipe of mango salsa (2 servings)

ingredients...

ripe mangoes chopped in small cubes 1 cup
finely diced red onions 2-3 tbsp
finely chopped coriander and mint greens 2-3 tbsp
finely chopped green chillies to taste or red chilly flakes
salt to taste
lime juice to taste if serving the mango salsa immediately
or balsamic vinegar or apple cider vinegar if packing the salsa in the lunch box

procedure...

Mix everything together and give it a good stir. Pack as required.

lunch box for adults

I have been setting my own yogurt for years and recently I shifted to making yogurt in an earthen pot. Both of us are so addicted to this home made yogurt set in an earthen pot that we don't eat any packaged yogurt anymore. So much so that Arvind used to get single serving packs of yogurt from his office canteen earlier during his lunch, but now he carries the home made yogurt everyday. That is one good change that we made recently. Even I am eating more yogurt that I used to eat or force myself to eat.

You can always set yogurt in glass containers as I used to do earlier. Let me know if you find it difficult to make your own yogurt at home. I will do a detailed post on how to make yogurt at home using pasteurized milk as that is what we get in cities mostly.

This lunch box is very filling and not at all heavy. When I eat the same lunch I prefer eating the yogurt a little later as a snack. Plain home made yogurt will be much more tasty than the packaged flavoured ones trust me.

There will be more on lunch box options here, stay tuned. And ask any questions if you too want a balanced lunch box meal best suited for you.

The lunch box set featured here is from Tupperware
.
tupperware lunch box set

Tupperware is giving away a steamer for the readers of healthfooddesivideshi.com who are following this lunch box series spread across 6 weeks. Just comment on this post saying what are the lunch box options you like generally and what more you would want to learn to make your lunch box more balanced. Please provide your mail id too so I can contact you once the winners are decided.

tupperware steamer

The winners will be decided on the basis of answers provided in the comment section. So start commenting, this give away is valid for 6 weeks (till end of July), there will be 2 winners and 2 giveaways. The other give away will be announced in the next post in lunch box series.

If you like eating rice there are a few rice recipes that will satiate your rice loving appetite and yet make the meal balanced for you. Try them for lunch box rice meals too if you wish.

This giveaway is open till the end of July 2015, applies within India, apologies for not being able to ship worldwide. 
Please provide your mail id in the comment section so I can get in touch with you.

lunch boxes for adults | vegetable fried rice for dieters, mango salsa and home made yogurt

15 comments

  1. Hi, This is a lovely dabba lunch which one can always share with ones colleagues. But sometimes one doesn't have lots of space or time, and then one looks for some kind of single dish set up like a pita filled veggie packet, and say a fruit, can be consumed slowly while working . I would love to know what one could use instead of a pita ie a bread substitute which is not maida. And something that wont go all soggy on applying say, some chutney before itself . I don't go to work, but the daughter does, and doesn't have the luxury of a lunch area/room..... :-(

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  2. I am looking forward to seeing more options in this series. I have a newborn and am always short on time. I generally take boiled eggs/chicken/greens salad or sprouts salad with dressing and nuts packed separately. Sometimes mixed vegetables paratha or brown rice khichdi and dahi. We have a subway near the office and I sometimes get their sandwiches.
    -Sonal

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  3. Thanks for your comment and suggestion Suranga.
    I think this kind of a lunch box is difficult to share with colleagues as it can get messy when many people dig into this.
    I will post some options to include pita sandwich with alternative flours or wraps that can be eaten easily.

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  4. I love rice and always always carry them for lunch.I would love some well balanced easy to cook lunch with some meat/fish thrown in ;) . I like my lunch to be interesting and would love some ideas .Also having a good collection of smart ,easy to use lunch boxes is a bonus!!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Amrita. I will try and incorporate those options.

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  5. I am looking for healthy and tasty lunch box ideas which balance the three doshas ( vata, pitta, and kapha) :)

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Kiran. All individuals have different body type and constitution so we can't really balance a meal for each individual on vata pitta kapha basis. In consultation with your ayruveda doctor you can substitute some of the ingredients or components of these lunch boxes.

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  6. My email id : mintishahi@gmail.com

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  7. I love my basic Indian lunchbox with sabzi, roti & curd. However, as you can see, I keep it very simple thanks to the morning rush :) Sometimes, I try to bring in some change by adding store-bought chinese sauces etc, but I know that's not healthy. Maybe you could guide us on chutneys / sauces etc that could be prepared once a month and then used to flavor the everyday tiffin sabzi :)
    Also, maybe something that can be easily prepared & carried as a mid-evening snack (By the way, I found your blog post on Sattu very helpful :) )

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Ritika. Your suggestions are very useful for the people who love basic ghar ka khana, I will try and include a few home made (easy of course) sauces and chutneys to make basic plain meals tastier.

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  8. I love my basic Indian lunchbox with sabzi, roti & curd. However, I try to bring in some change at times by adding store-bought chinese sauces etc, but I know that's not healthy. Maybe you could guide us on chutneys / sauces etc that could be prepared once a month and then used to flavor the everyday tiffin sabzi :)
    Also, maybe something that can be easily prepared & carried as a mid-evening snack ( By the way, I found your blog post on Sattu very helpful :) )

    ReplyDelete
  9. Since I'm mostly on the move, carrying elaborate lunchboxes is not always possible. I need something which is wholesome yet light. For that I prefer stir fried / steamed veggies with salt and pepper and some meat (sausages / ham / bacon etc).. it's better if sprouts are also added to this :)
    I also like simple rice preparations with home made chutneys - tomato/lemon rice with coconut & daal chutney. Our own Tehri with lots of veggies and soya chunks are nice too with some tomato chutney.

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  10. I usually carry a salad and rice with dhal or vegetable stir fry and curd.......like to see more healthy stir fries and salads........

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  11. Just love this post … Your series is just in time as the schools have reopened this month. I pack snacks and lunch for both my Husband and 4 yr old, who have different tastes, along with breakfast. On some days it takes a toll on my brain as to what to make? Chennai summers are no help with fresh fruits and vegetables doing a disappearing act. We are vegetarian and husband hates curds, so that option is out, and only rice makes him feel sleepy. So I try and make roti – sabji or roti – dal cooked with subji (palak dal,or dal with lauki etc) for a healthy variation. These days we have ventured into eating Millets in place of rice and I am trying to figure out different ways to incorporate them into the diet like upma or fried rice but with millets.
    Any ideas on how to incorporate them into the lunch Box?

    Samidha (asamidha@yahoo.com)

    ReplyDelete

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