Tuesday, 20 September 2011

The Academic: Lunch for the Time-Starved and Inexperienced



Everyone tells us that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but when I wake up, eating is generally the last thing I want to do. And, when I do eat first thing in the morning, I just end up feeling sick. So I usually put off lunch for an hour, or just don't eat it.

As such, the responsibility for the day's energy falls on lunch.

I am sure I'm not alone among you when I say that food makes me feel sluggish. And that's fine at night, but when I'm trying to think during the day, all I can think about is the food in my stomach.

BUT, later on, it becomes important. Sure, if I don't eat, I feel like I'm working, but I get distracted and tired and end up getting a headache. When I eat lunch, I may feel bloated for a little while, but I can concentrate for all three hours of a lecture, and I take notes, and I actually LEARN.

As I've said, I'm not the most culinarily skilled person, but even if you are, you usually don't want to spend a heap of time making lunch on a weekday.

Here are two of the things I love making. You can eat them pretty much any time in the day (sometimes I have them closer to breakfast, sometimes closer to lunch). You'll have the energy to concentrate, and you'll be satisfied enough that you won't want to eat EVERY SINGLE THING IN THE UNIVERSE AT DINNER.

Not that I ever have that problem...

What You'll Need
I could seriously eat this every day, and sometimes I do. If you're feeling particularly peckish and/or don't care about the extra carbs, you can make this into a sandwich or wrap.

I usually have:
  • Two pieces of Soyco Malaysian Peanut Satay Tofu (but you can use any flavour you want, really)
  • An avocado
  • A handful of cherry/grape tomatoes (The Perino brand are much nicer than the generic Coles/Woolworths brand); or just a few slices of regular tomato
  • hummus
  • baby spinach leaves
  • left-over roast veggies
Maybe you don't want to buy prepackaged tofu, or maybe you're just terrified of tofu, but you will not regret this. The tofu is pre-pressed and already marinated, so you can use it straight away. And, more importantly, it gives you PROTEIN (note from Matt: and in some cases, tofu also gives you a good hit of calcium!), so your body and brain have energy to work during the day.

What You'll Do
Grill the tofu for a few minutes (until it's slightly brown, but still has some liquid on it), then turn it over and do the same on the other side. If you leave it in a little longer, it will dry out a little, but will still be fine. If you leave it in too long, though, it will turn into rubber and taste awful.

At the same time, you can grill the tomatoes as well; cut them in half and put a few grinds of salt and pepper over them.

If you're having bread, you may also want to grill the bread for a little while as well, so that it ends up nice and crisp. Putting some oil/margarine on each side will help with this, but do so at your own risk! (it ends up becoming very decadent). Have two pieces of bread ready (one for each piece of tofu).

While everything is under the grill, cut the avocado in half. You'll only use half (unless you're super hungry), so wrap up the other half and put it in the fridge. Either slice up the avocado, or put it in a bowl and mash it up.

When everything is ready to go, just put it all on a plate, and eat it! (seriously, who's eating it? the Queen?)

If you want to be a little more fancy, just stack the ingredients as you see fit on top of the bread and make an open or close sandwich. So many options!

The Other Sandwich
This is great if you've had roast veggies the night before. My favourite is sweet potato, but regular potatoes, pumpkin, or all three will work just fine.

First slather some avocado on the bread. If you want, put avocado on one slice, and hummus on the other. Then lay down the ingredient in any order that sits right with you. I generally go:
  • roast veggies
  • baby spinach leaves
  • cherry/grape tomatoes
This is probably my all-time favourite sandwich, so I have it sparingly (helped by the fact that we don't have roast veggies all that often!)

So there you have them; two delicious sandwiches that are easy to make, will fill you up, and are absolutely delicious!

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