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Cooking with Karina: Lunches that Work, for Work

Karina Arnold
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Quinoa Salad

This Quinoa Salad is healthy, quick to prepare - and tweak to your taste - and easy to bring to work or school. (Photo: Karina Arnold)

Karina Arnold is a rising sophomore at the University of Oklahoma who’s passionate about healthy cooking. Every Monday, she provides creative, healthy recipes and tips on clean eating. 

Big lights, big city, big bucks being made, but also a big commute. With 26 or more minutes being the average work commute for Houstonians, it is not probable one will go home to enjoy lunch. Furthermore, Houston is ranked the number one city in America for meals out per week, thus, taking a lunch to work is practically unheard of. Co-workers and bosses oftentimes invite you out to eat, and how could you say no when Houston boasts a multitude of award winning restaurants and some of the most diverse cuisine in the world? However, going out often can break the bank and is not always the healthiest choice. Here are some simple recipes and tips that will make your work lunch fit for a foodie.

Black Bean Quesadillas

These Black Bean Quesadillas will satisfy a Tex-Mex craving but with less calories. (Photo: Karina Arnold) 

Remember that baked chicken from the Baked Chicken and Veggies dish in my Healthy Swaps post? You can use that chicken in a variety of ways for lunch the next day. Try this Shredded Chicken Baked Sweet Potato dish for a quick, warm meal. Further stretch your leftovers and dollar with this Quinoa Salad made out of the same chicken and quinoa from the night before. Have the craving for some Tex-Mex? Use that same chicken to shred over this Black Bean Quesadillas. Co-workers going to get Mediterranean food? Join them and bring your Cucumber Sliders and Hummus lunch, which is great for those trying to decrease their carbohydrate intake but still feel satiated. If you’re vegan, feel free to subtract the chicken or deli meat in exchange for tofu or chopped vegan sausages.

Cucumber sliders

Cucumber and hummus sliders. (Photo: Karina Arnold)

All these options and combinations are mouthwatering, but how will your food survive the journey from home to work? Generally, plastic Tupperware is practical, but for meals you plan on reheating, stick to glass or microwavable plastic containers. Insulating and keeping your food cold is important to preserve freshness, so look for lunchboxes with cooling technology. A great option is the Packit Lunchbox. These lunchboxes have insulation along the lining, allowing you to eliminate freezing an ice pack and they come in a multitude of styles and sizes. Customizable crockpot holders also provide ample space for your food and stabilize your food when you are carrying it. Lastly, use a portable soup container not only for soup, but also for easy salad transport. With so many cool (that’s right, Tupperware can be cool) and innovative options, taking lunch on the go is easy!

Follow these tips and tricks to make your lunch work for work. Comment below with your favorite meal you look forward to bring to work or school for lunch!

See more posts on healthy cooking from Karina and more Buzz recipes here. 

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