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10 easy packed lunch ideas for busy days

I reckon it is pretty easy to eat healthy lunches……that is if you only have healthy food in the fridge, and as an extra precaution you also hide your car keys to make sure you do stay at home to eat said healthy lunch. (p.s. This may cause problems if you hide your car keys and then can’t remember where they are when you are already running late for an appointment.)

But, how do you have a healthy lunch when you have to actually leave the house and go to places like …..say…. work.

Here are 10 simple lunch ideas that will save you time. From salads, to healthy and hearty warming lunches that you can make ahead. These delicious ideas will help you stay satisfied throughout the afternoon, and because you made it yourself you will have the satisfaction of knowing exactly what you are eating, no nasty preservatives or hidden sugars thanks very much. Just think of all the extra time you’ll have to sit down and enjoy your lunch, rather than waiting in line to order it. You will also save money, as well as the obvious benefit of eating nutritious and healthy meals.

Wait! Before we get started it is a good idea to take a bit of time on a Sunday to plan and prepare your lunches for the week. By packing your lunch the night before it is one less thing to worry about in the morning. Not saying all this will be easy. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can be challenging, and it does take a level of commitment to do this.

Here are 10 ways to make it easier:

1. Make double dinners

This option is quite obvious as it is quick, easy and cost efficient.

a) Heat at work, or heat at home and pop in a thermos before you leave for work. Think Bolognese, stews, soups, chicken drumsticks and curries. These are all easy to make in bulk, especially if you have a slow cooker.
b) You can keep some for lunches or freeze portions for later.
c) If you already order your dinners from Wholesomeness, add some more delivered meals to your order to use as serves for lunches.

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2. Salad

Before you say ‘booorrringgg”, salads are packed full of everything your body needs to get through the day, full of fibre, vitamins and nutrients. Here are some tips to making salads easy and fun.

Salad jars – Get your hands on some mason jar and fill with different salads.

Add dressing first: Balsamic and olive oil options are a good choice. Then add tomato, capsicum, red onion. Anything that would taste good pickled and acts as a barricade layer to the liquid.

Then add more vegetables: Mushrooms, beans, avocado, sprouts, celery. Add your grains: brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat. Then add your protein: egg, ham, chicken, tuna, roasted or leftover meat from dinner, feta or mozzarella cheese or beans. Protein is what is going to fill you up and get you through the afternoon. Add your base: spinach, leafy greens, nuts/seeds

Options are endless: cobb salad, greek salad, sweet potato salad. They do stay fresh as the dressing stays on the bottom. See more great recipe ideas here.

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3. Canned Tuna

A great source of Omega 3 fatty acids, Vitamin B12 and protein

a. Sustainable brands are becoming more common – Fish 4 Ever is Australia’s # 1 Sustainably fished Skipjack Tuna as rated by Greenpeace for the past 5 years. 100% Pole and Line caught. Click here for a list of Fish 4 Ever stockists in Queensland.
b. Combine tuna with good quality mayonnaise, or a baby spinach salad, or combine with tomatoes and basil
c. Top tuna on rice crackers or other wholesome crackers d. Keep a few cans of canned tuna at your work


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4. Fermented food

Fermented food has been used by different cultures for many years. Fermented foods include sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, kefir, fermented vege’s/fruit and yoghurt.

a. Adding a small amount of fermented foods to every meals provide a number of benefits including: increased vitamins, boosting your immune system, improving digestion, and adding good bacteria to your gut.
b. Add chopped fermented pickles to tuna, or salads.
c. Have some tzatziki with ham or as a dip.
d. Add raw sauerkraut as a side to ham or meat dishes.
e. Drink some kombucha or kefir.

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5. Boiled egg

Eggs are a great source of protein, boil half a dozen eggs on Sunday night and store them ready in the fridge.

6. Dips and vegetables

Use vegetables (carrots, capsicum, beans, cucumber) for dipping into guacamole, tzatziki, hummus, beetroot or pesto dips.

7. Leafwhich

Use leaves such as lettuce, silverbeet or ‘massaged’ kale as a wrap or ‘taco’, with a filling of grated carrot, beetroot, shredded chicken or whatever else takes your fancy.

8. Avocado

Avocado’s are a great source of vitamins and full of healthy, beneficial fats that help to keep you full and satiated.

a. Avocado Shell Salad: halve an avocado and top with red onion, tomato and humous.
b. Or spread avocado on rice crackers with a little lemon juice, salt and pepper.

9. Green smoothie

Green smoothies are great because they still provide fibre (as opposed to juices). Dark leafy greens contain plenty of antioxidants and vitamins. You can prep and blend and store in the fridge for up to 2 days. A good green smoothie is made up of a few things, leafy greens, vegetables, some fruit, liquid and other extras:

a. Leafy greens: spinach, kale, bok choy,
b. Fruit: berries, banana, pineapple, apple, avocado, pear (you can also use frozen berries,
c. Liquids: water, almond milk, coconut water/milk, and cultured drinks (kefir, whey, kombucca)
d. Extras: chia seeds, green superfood powders (Spuralina, maca etc), cacoa powder, nuts, spices
e. This website is a good guide to green smoothie making.


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10. Choose Water to drink!

You don’t want to ruin your healthy lunch by adding a sugar-laden soft drink or juice. So there you go, I hope you found some of these ideas helpful. Good luck! Mix it up and add variety.

Remember to pack it right, invest in some good quality lunch containers or thermos. There still might be times when you need to purchase your lunch, so plan ahead and choose places where you know they have healthy options. And remember you can always get chef prepared healthy meals delivered from Wholesomeness. Easy Peasy!

Now I would love to hear from you guys – what are your tips for packing healthy lunches to work?

CoreyOUR GUEST BLOGGER: Corey is a wife and mum of 2. Seeing so many sick people around (including herself) inspired her to research what foods we should be eating for optimal health. She began implementing changes with amazing results. She now has a new love for delicious, wholesome and nutritious food. She believes healthy nutritious eating is a key to a happier life.


So, I thought I was pretty healthy...

CoreyGUEST BLOGGER: Corey is a wife and mum of 2. Seeing so many sick people around (including herself) inspired her to research what foods we should be eating for optimal health. She began implementing changes with amazing results. She now has a new love for delicious, wholesome and nutritious food. She believes healthy nutritious eating is a key to a happier life.

I am Corey, I am not an expert health professional, but like most of you I DO want to be an expert at looking after my health, and doing everything I can to feel great, be healthy and have loads of energy.

I have spent many years in administration roles in hospitals, but one particular job changed everything for me. I would leave work at the end of the day feeling immensely frustrated.   Every day there were piles of medical reports detailing patient’s health issues; diabetes, heart disease, obesity, the list goes on. However, the most frightening part was that the children’s pile of medical reports was always higher than the adult’s. It got me thinking:  Why are there so many sick kids? Why the sudden rise of autism, diabetes, heart disease and cancer? What is going on here?

It made me look at my own health, and I realised it had slipped considerably. You see, I came from a fairly “healthy” childhood, eating within the Australian dietary guidelines, lots of home cooked meals and very rarely any junk food.  However as I child, I was always sick with stomach issues.  I also suffered from sinus and hay fever. I would sneeze A LOT! My family stopped saying, “bless you” after the 3rd sneeze, they thought it was hilarious.  For me it was no fun at all.  My mum had me treated by a naturopath who put me on a wheat and dairy free diet. I started feeling a lot better.  I would take my brown rye bread to school and tell everyone it was “chocolate bread”.   I decided not to mention the Easters eggs were made from Carob.

Things changed when I moved out of home.  My diet went from wheat, dairy and sugar free, to loads of processed food, sugary breakfast cereals, plenty of take-away, and very little exercise.  Sorry Mum!

I also LOVED baking. I would make cakes and biscuits for parties and for my family all the time.   My husband is German and afternoon “Kaffee and Kuchen”  (Coffee and cake) is a big tradition.

I never thought about the sugar or the wheat that I was eating – I figured I was baking from scratch and that was good..….right?

Around this time my husband suggested we do a “cleanse” as he had not been feeling that great.  At first I was a bit defensive, but then though, ”Well I haven’t been feeling the best either, and I was starting to worry about the high levels of sugar and processed food in our diet.  Hey it was just for 2 weeks – I could do that”. So it was settled– two weeks with no wheat and no sugar (whole fruit was okay). The first few days were crazy with migraines. It was horrible!  I felt sick!  Why was I doing this again?!?   It wasn’t until day three that I started really feeling better, it was like a cloud had lifted.  No headaches, no sinus issues, and plenty more energy.

During this time I started doing my own research about sugar and it’s effects. I read almost every health book in the library, including David Gillespie’s “Sweet Poison”, Mark Sisson’s “The Primal Blueprint”, and Dr William Davis’ “Wheat Belly”. All the books claimed new research showing no links between saturated fat and heart disease.  What?!?  If you want to read more about it here is a link to the latest study published by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

The information I was reading was conflicting almost everything I had been taught about healthy eating and healthy lifestyles.  I watched documentaries and discovered the links between sugar, heart disease and diabetes. I was astounded!  I didn’t want to eat so much sugar anymore.  I did a big cull of the cupboards and starting experimenting with wheat free and sugar free recipes. Let’s just say some were a disaster, but over time they have improved remarkably.

The two week cleanse, turned into a month, and then 3 months, and now over 1 year on, and our family are so much healthier. I can honestly say I am feeling the healthiest I ever have felt. Although losing weight was not the main issue for me, I was always conscious of my “baby belly” after having 2 children. I would wear those horrible spandex underwear to hide my belly. I don’t have worry about that anymore. Yah! I have gained lots of muscle, even with doing very little exercise. I have more energy; kids are doing better at school, and very rarely get sick. My children (8 & 10) are now aware of what they are eating. They still have occasional treats, however, they now look at food, and food labels and make healthier choices. It has been amazing to watch.

It was well and good to read all the books, but to try this whole new lifestyle and know that it has worked says more than any book or film can.  My friends and family have seen my transformation, and now many have also chosen to take steps to eating more wholesome real food.

We eat better than we ever have, and are still looking at ways to improve. We now eat loads of grass-fed meat, vegetables, eggs, fermented vegetables, nuts/seeds and a small amount of diary. I even went and bought cauliflower for the first time ever……crazy stuff….right?  Still might take me awhile to buy Brussel sprouts. Yuck!

I now find myself loving meals and food, and my taste buds have improved remarkably, and I have learnt to make super delicious food that is nourishing, wholesome and delicious. The best part is that I am no longer craving sweets like I used to. I had such a “sweet tooth”. I now can happily decline a piece of cake. I honestly never would have thought that was even possible. I can’t believe the foods I used to eat, and what I thought was healthy was really doing me no good at all.

Over this time I realised that Industry processed foods are not nourishing us, and the massive rise in diseases like heart disease, cancer and diabetes most likely have a lot to do with that. I truly believe that eating wholesome food will make a huge difference in the health of this country.

The North Side's Newest Paleo and Gluten-Free Cafe – Gourmand & Gourmet

Living in the ‘burbs in Brisbane is no excuse for not eating fresh and healthy anymore, especially not on the north side with the organic and paleo feeds that Wholesomeness is dishing up!

Our fave healthy meal delivery service now has their very own café in the Grange, complete with a juice bar, a cabinet full of fresh salads and nutritious treats and a sunny deck for sitting down to a wholesome meal.

Whatever your excuses usually are for ditching your health resolutions and instead resorting to a sugar-filled, unhealthy feed, Wholesomeness has the right stuff to get you back on track.

Pop by on your way to work and you’ll be able to start off your day with a bulletproof coffee (said to be the best in Brisbane!) and a nutrient packed acai bowl topped with crunchy granola while you pick up a takeaway paleo meal or salad for lunch while you’re there. You can even treat yourself to a sweet snack from the counter for that mid-morning hanger. Who wants a bag of chips when you could have protein balls and coconut bread?

If it’s the gym you’re heading to, stop in for an energising pre-workout smoothie – and a protein-packed post-workout smoothie on the way back! Wholesomeness uses Raw protein powders in all their goodies, so you can rest assured they’re vegan and organic.

On the weekends, when nobody feels like slaving away in the kitchen, Wholesomeness are there for you with their all day breakfast and lunch menu. Weekly specials like their pulled pork and potato rosti and chicken schnitzel with a coconut and almond crumb, sweet potato chips and avocado salsa will push all thoughts of takeaway burgers out of your mind. Add in an organic cold-pressed well-being juice packed with pineapple, carrot, turmeric, passionflower, jasmine, lemon, lime and lavender (all for $6!) and you’ll be set up for the most productive weekend you’ve ever had! Best of all, you can get it all right up until 7.30pm on Fridays and Saturdays! What were those excuses again?

Almost all of the produce Wholesomeness uses is organic and local, so it’s not just good for you, it’s good for the community and the environment. Every meal, both dine in and takeaway, is gluten-free, dairy-free, contains no artificial nasties and is 100% delicious!

If you live life at a frantic pace and just can’t find a single minute to stop by the café, you can also order Wholesomeness’ fresh paleo meals online and get them delivered right to your door or workplace. Talk about time saving!

Conveniently located at 8 Days Road, Grange (with plenty of parking, we might add), Wholesomeness are open from:

  • 6am to 6pm Monday to Friday
  • 6am to 7.30pm on Friday
  • 7am to 7.30pm on Saturday and
  • 7am to 3pm on Sunday.

No excuses!

Words by Ranyhyn Akui

Keeping the G&G up to date with all the latest tasty tidbits requires a lot of double lattes and espresso martinis, so we occasionally need to give out some sponsored love. But rest assured that we only work with businesses that we think are really nifty, as the sponsor for this post is!

Five Minutes with MMA Fighter Damien Brown

At the end of 2014, we received an interesting request via social media from a local Brisbane professional athlete, ‘Can I please talk to you about sponsorship in the form of providing my nutrition in the lead up to my next fight on 28 February 2015 to become the MMA Light Weight Champion?’

Wholesomeness had never considered sponsoring anyone, let alone an athlete. We quickly called a few of our mates who are into sports and asked a few poignant questions like, ‘so what is MMA?’ Well, the answers surprised us. It’s the fastest growing sport in the world, and because it’s relatively new it is actually a lot safer than other popular contact sports such as the AFL (go the Blues). Mixed Martial Arts is a full-contact sport that combines different fighting styles, including karate, boxing, kickboxing, wrestling, Vale Tudo, Muay Thai and Brazilian Ju jitsu. Needless to say, we were intrigued.

Upon meeting Damien Brown and discovering that he wasn’t a leotard wearing hulk with a moniker such as Mr Meathooks (ok our imaginations had run away just a little bit), we found that he is a super nice guy and a very serious and dedicated sports professional. He works really hard to achieve his goals both athletically and professionally, and after that initial meeting we decided we really did want to help him reach his goals, by providing nutrient dense conveniently prepared meals in a combination of deliveries and pick-ups from our store.

Damien had found out about us from a friend doing our Paleo Whole 30 inspired 30 Day Reset Plan, and had a lightbulb moment where he realised he could eat Wholesomeness meals for the two months leading up to the fight, drop the necessary 10kg to make his weight division and free up all his evenings for training rather than grocery shopping, meal prep and cooking.  All he had to do was put it out into the universe and ask.

We were not only really flattered that he thought we could help him achieve his goals, but we were really curious too. Personally we have both lost our spare tyres following a predominantly paleo or primal template and cutting the crap by eliminating sugar, gluten and dairy from our diets. But we’ve never been the type to watch the scales too closely, so while it’s somewhere in the 8kg range for me (Georgia) it’s probably close to 10 – 15kg for Ben, but that’s over the last 4 years.

So we really wondered if it could be done in two months. The challenge was on. Don’t get me wrong, Damien was also working a full-time job, training with professional MMA coaches at Integrated MMA and Team Compton, his trainers at Crossfit Geebung and with his own gear from Again Faster, plus using supplements from ASN Chermside. But the real challenge from the nutrition perspective aside from dropping the weight, was staying energised enough to get through a full week of work plus training and conditioning to be at the peak of his game and ready on fight night.

Damien Brown is a busy man just being his awesome self, he is an inspiration to our team at Wholesomeness. We caught up with him post fight to ask a few questions to hopefully shed some light on how we helped make his journey to LW Champion not only possible but a little bit less stressful.

1. What is MMA all about?

MMA is about testing out your martial arts background, strengths and weaknesses against those of your opponent and about coming out the winner. We have to train in many different styles because each opponent will come from different backgrounds. I think that is what keeps my sport interesting, it keeps me on my toes.

2. As a professional athlete, what does your weekly schedule usually look like?

I’m a full-time shift worker and I train full-time 12+ hrs a week. It’s generally a mix of technique and conditioning with general fitness including weights and cardio. Overall I juggle work, training and married life with some downtime to relax as well. Right now MMA is rising in popularity in Australia, but most athletes here still have to maintain employment to sustain this lifestyle.

3. What do you do to prepare yourself for the challenge?

I have conditioning, technique and performance coaches who help me prepare all facets of my game prior to and during my fight camps. It takes a lot of hard work, but mostly it’s focus. I find that if I can be organised it’s one less stress that can unravel all the preparations both physically and mentally.

4. What dietary style do you prefer to get you there? How does it work i.e. carbs, fats, protein and how you change it up to get to the weight.

I like to use a diet/Meal Plan based around the zone diet, a diet balanced in protein, carbs and healthy fats. Then I adjust the ratios as it gets closer to weigh in. I find this style allows me to maintain energy levels, keep hormones and inflammation in check and assists in recovery.

5. How does Wholesomeness assist you in your preparations?

Wholesomeness provided me with a stable organic meal plan that gave me the ability to perform with the right amounts of energy and recovery at the highest level. This took a lot of time to prepare in the past that I can now redistribute between training and family time to allow me to find a healthier balance during my fight prep.

6. What is your mantra?

Balance: eat clean, train hard, relax…

7. What advice can you give someone looking to follow in your footsteps?

Find the right gym and coaches. Eat, sleep, train hard and dedicate yourself because if your not 100% committed you can end up hurt or falling short.

8. What does the rest of 2015 hold for you?

After winning my first title for 2015, I’m looking to put together back-to-back wins and go undefeated in 2015. I have just had a hand operation after breaking my hand in the LW Championship fight but when I recover that’s the 2015 plan.

Follow Damien on facebook