Let me introduce one of my favourite lunchtime staples: Grilled Chicken with Pearl Barley and Mixed Vegetables. Trust me – this will be your HEALTHIEST packed lunch EVER!
Maybe it sounds a bit fancy, but I can assure you that you’ll be able to sort out a WHOLE WEEK’S worth of packed lunches in less than an hour on a Sunday afternoon (this is my protocol). After a while, you’ll be able to cook your 5 meals in your SLEEP! It’s just so easy! And the best part is: this packed lunch is SUPER HEALTHY!
The reason why I decided to make this my staple lunch: the macros are PERFECT for me! This baby is sub 20% fat and equal protein to carb ratio. I’m sure you’ll agree that it can be extremely tough to cut fat out sometimes. I find myself naturally drawn to feta, avocado, bacon, and pretty much any form of cheese! So it’s pretty easy to go off track if you don’t watch yourself very CAREFULLY!
Believe it or not – most people who actively track their MACROS quickly realize what a challenge it is to keep fat sub 20%. If you drink a lot of coffee (with full cream milk), eat whole eggs, and a little meat…POOF – that 20% fat disappears DARN fast!
Click the link below to learn how to track your MACROS!
But anyway, back to my favourite and healthiest packed lunch recipe!
As I said – I make a whole week’s worth (5 meals) of packed lunches on a Sunday afternoon. I also buy those tin foil containers to put the meal in because it just makes it SO MUCH MORE CONVENIENT (for freezing, packing etc).
The process is pretty simple:
- I prepare the chicken breasts
- I place them in the oven
- I prepare the vegetables
- I place them in the oven
- I cook a big batch of healthy carb – like barley, in this case, however, you can substitute brown rice or quinoa.
- Pack away..and
THIS MAKES A WORKING LUNCH A PLEASURE!
And easy to stay on top of your diet 😉
A note on the carb: As stated above, I used barely in this particular recipe. However, I can recommend substituting barley with brown rice (NO WHITE RICE!!!!) or quinoa. These are definitely your healthiest carbohydrate options because they are GLUTEN-FREE (quinoa and rice) and LOW GI. This will ensure your lunch is packed with nutrients, high in fiber and SUPER FILLING!
And let’s not forget: to finish your lunch off with a BANG – keep a bag of washed baby spinach in the fridge and add a handful to the meal at the end. I pack a little container of baby spinach separately and add it just before eating. I promise this addition will appeal to your VISUAL senses (such beautiful colours!).
How long will it keep in the fridge??
I usually keep MONDAY, TUESDAY & WEDNESDAY in the fridge…and freeze THURSDAY & FRIDAY – so remember to take them out the night before!
- Serves: 5
- Calories: 321
- Fat: 5.9g
- Carbohydrates: 35
- Sugar: 5.3g
- Fiber: 8.1g
- Protein: 36.7g
- 4 large chicken breasts (not 5), seasoned and grilled (cooked 20-30 mins)
- ½ x 5 cups pearl barley, cooked
- mixed vegetables: 2 large carrots, ½ red onion, ½ bag cherry tomatoes, 1 yellow pepper, 1 red pepper, 2 medium courgettes.
- Handful baby spinach, washed
- Optional: 30g feta, a drizzle of balsamic reduction.
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
- Chop the mixed vegetables (I like to chop the baby marrow and carrots around one inch thick and at a slant).
- Season the vegetables with preferred seasoning (I like paprika, salt and pepper).
- Drizzle with oil – only a tiny bit, around 2 tsp.
- Roast in the oven for 20-30 minutes or until starting to caramelize.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
- In the meantime: prepare the chicken (reheat if necessary, cut into slices).
- Prepare your lunch containers and divide the chicken and vegetables between 5 containers.
- Add ½ cup pearl barley to each container.
- Store containers in the fridge, or freezer.
- Just before serving - add baby spinach, and optional extras.
TRY A DIFFERENT STARCH
! ENJOY YOUR HEALTHIEST PACKED LUNCH !