FoodTrients To Go: Pack More Into Lunch

School Lunch box

By Grace O

Everyone is busy, which makes grabbing fast food or convenience foods so tempting at lunch time. There are many days that I have to go from meeting to meeting without any time to stop for lunch, so I find myself eating on the run. When I do have time, I’m always interested in checking out new dishes and new restaurants, but that can lead to way too much temptation.

When it comes down to it, I know that if I’m to make the best choices for my mind and body, I should take my own advice and prepare my mid-day meals.

Both my cookbooks, The Age GRACEfully Cookbook and the new one, The AGE BEAUTIFULLY Cookbook contain lots of recipes you can prepare ahead and bring with you to work or school. And no more brown bags are needed! Stores like Bed Bath and Beyond, The Container Store and a company I saw at the Natural Products Expo last March called SoYoung have stylish options for transporting food. Most are insulated and have attractive designs. Through in some cook containers and an ice pace and your lunch will stay cold and fresh.

If you’re tired of the brown bag basics – PB&J, turkey and cheese, or ham sandwiches – I’ve included some out-of-the-box recipes that are perfect for packing taste and great benefits into your lunch box.

Lentil Salad

lentil-salad

Serves 2

Lentils contribute protein, fiber, and vitamin B6 to this hearty dish, making it both satisfying and energizing. The red cabbage, red wine vinegar, and leeks add a host of healthful benefits: anthocyanins, indoles, isothiocyanates, sulfur compounds, and resveratrol. This delicious salad can be a main course and packs easily in a plastic container.

Ingredients

1 cup of dried green or black lentils
5 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
1 chopped leek (white part only)
¼ cup red wine vinegar
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 minced shallot
Sea salt and ground pepper to taste
½ cup shredded red cabbage
¼ cup diced yellow bell pepper
¼ cup diced red bell pepper
¼ cup diced celery
¼ cup seeded and diced cucumber
Red cabbage or lettuce leaves

Instructions

1. Place the lentils in a pot of boiling water and cook until al dente, about 20 minutes. They shouldn’t be crunchy, but they shouldn’t be too soft, either. Drain and set aside.
2. Heat 1 Tbs. of the olive oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté the leek until opaque and soft, about 5–10 minutes.
3. To make the vinaigrette, place the remaining 4 Tbs. olive oil, red wine vinegar, mustard, shallot, salt, and pepper in a container with a tight-fitting lid. Shake well.
4. In a large bowl, combine the lentils, leek, cabbage, peppers, celery, and cucumber. Add half the vinaigrette and toss well. The salad will be slightly warm.
5. To serve, arrange over red cabbage or lettuce leaves with the remaining vinaigrette on the side.

FoodTrients

Ai – Anti-inflammatory – Reduces the inflammation process in cells, tissues, and blood vessel, helping to slow aging

Ao – Antioxidant – Prevents and repairs oxidative damage to cells caused by free radicals

F – Disease Preventing – Reduces risk factors for common degenerative and age-related diseases

IB – Immunity Booster – Supports the body’s resistance to infection and strengthens immune vigilance and response

MBbeauty – Mind and Beauty – Encourages vibrant skin and hair and improves mood and mental agility

Radish Salad

radish-salad317

Serves 2-4

Radishes belong to the same family of vegetables as kale and cabbage and offer some of the same health-protecting benefits. I use a simple oil-and-vinegar dressing. The radishes should stay cool and crunchy in an insulated lunch tote with an ice brick.

Ingredients

2 daikon radishes or 1 bunch red radishes, stems removed
1 cup seasoned rice vinegar
2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. white pepper
2 chopped hard-boiled eggs
6-8 sliced grape tomatoes

Instuctions

1. Slice the radishes very thinly using a food processor or mandoline.
2. To make the dressing, mix together the rice vinegar, olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. Let stand and allow the flavors to blend for up to 1 hour.
3. Toss the radishes with dressing.

FoodTrients

Ai – Anti-inflammatory – Reduces the inflammation process in cells, tissues, and blood vessel, helping to slow aging

Ao – Antioxidant – Prevents and repairs oxidative damage to cells caused by free radicals

F – Disease Preventing – Reduces risk factors for common degenerative and age-related diseases

IB – Immunity Booster – Supports the body’s resistance to infection and strengthens immune vigilance and response

MBbeauty – Mind and Beauty – Encourages vibrant skin and hair and improves mood and mental agility

Ashitaba Potato Salad

ashitada-salad

Serves 4

Potato salad is a great way to showcase ashitaba leaves. These healthful leaves, grown in Japan and Southeast Asia, are often dried, ground and taken as a dietary supplement. I grow my own ashitaba plants here in Southern California and I like to eat them fresh. The dark green leaves taste like spinach or sweet kale. But if you can’t find fresh ashitaba leaves, this potato salad is delicious without them. I like to use fingerling potatoes, but you can use small white new potatoes or Yukon gold potatoes instead. I prefer the French haricot vert variety of green bean, but American snap beans or pole beans will work as well. Apples give this salad a sweet dimension. I chose Fuji apples for their firm flesh, but almost any variety will do.

Ingredients

1½ lbs. fingerling potatoes
1 cup green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
½ cup cubed Fuji apple, skin on
¼ cup diced celery
½ cup young ashitaba leaves, torn into small pieces, plus extra for garnish
1 cup Watercress Dressing (see below)

Instructions

  1. Cube or slice the potatoes and simmer in salted, boiling water for 12–15 minutes or until tender but not mushy. Drain and cool.
  2. Blanch the green beans in boiling water for 5–6 minutes and then shock them in an ice bath to set the color.
  3. Combine the potatoes, green beans, apples, celery, and ashitaba leaves, and toss with the dressing.
  4. Divide among 4 bowls and garnish with the ashitaba leaves.

FoodTrients

F – Disease Preventing – Reduces risk factors for common degenerative and age-related diseases

strength  Strength – Builds strength for bones, muscles and joints. Increases bone density, builds and repairs tissues

Watercress Dressing

Fresh Watercress

Yields 2 cups

Use this on just about any green leafy salad with fresh vegetables. For a thinner dressing, use regular or low fat yogurt. Marinated or flavored, crumbled feta cheese might be fun to use in this recipe. Other nice additions would be ¼ tsp. of crushed garlic and/or ⅛ cup of red onion.

Ingredients

1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 cup whole watercress leaves, without stems
¼ cup crumbled feta cheese
½ tsp. salt or salt substitute
Dash of black or white pepper

Procedure

Place all the ingredients in a blender and whirl together for about 30 seconds or until the watercress leaves are finely chopped.

FoodTrients

F – Disease Preventing – Reduces risk factors for common degenerative and age-related diseases

IBImmunity Booster (including anti-bacterial) – Supports the body’s resistance to infection and strengthens immune vigilance and response.

Sweet Potato and Jackfruit Delight

jack-fruit-dessert0319

Serves 6-8

This dessert is very popular in Asia. Jackfruit, one of the world’s largest tree fruit, is very high in antioxidants and has a mild tropical taste. Coconut milk helps hydrate the skin and keep it elastic. Sweet potatoes are packed with carotenoids and potassium. Packs well in a plastic container.

Ingredients

¼ cup tapioca
2 cups water
1 can (8 oz.) jackfruit, drained of syrup
4 cups coconut milk
1 lb. peeled and cubed yellow and orange sweet potatoes
¼ cup sugar

Instructions

1. Place the tapioca in cold water in a medium saucepan and slowly bring to a boil. Cook over medium-high heat until tapioca is translucent and soft, about 1–3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
2. Cut the jackfruit into strips and set aside.
3. In a medium saucepan, bring the coconut milk to a boil. Add the sweet potatoes and boil until tender, about 5–10 minutes.
4. Add the jackfruit, sugar, and tapioca to the sweet potato mixture and cook an additional 5 minutes.
5. Serve warm or chilled

FoodTrients

Ai – Anti-inflammatory – Reduces the inflammation process in cells, tissues, and blood vessel, helping to slow aging

Ao – Antioxidant – Prevents and repairs oxidative damage to cells caused by free radicals

F – Disease Preventing – Reduces risk factors for common degenerative and age-related diseases

IB – Immunity Booster – Supports the body’s resistance to infection and strengthens immune vigilance and response

MBbeauty – Mind and Beauty – Encourages vibrant skin and hair and improves mood and mental agility

There you have it. Everything from salads to dessert for healthful on-the-go dining.

About Grace O

Grace O has been cooking and baking professionally and recreationally all of her adult life. As a child in Southeast Asia, she learned the culinary arts by her mother’s side in her family’s cooking school. She became so well versed in hospitality and the culinary arts, she eventually took over the cooking school and opened three restaurants. She is widely credited with popularizing shrimp on sugar-cane skewers and being one of the first culinarians to make tapas a global trend. She has cooked for ruling families and royalty. Grace O’s move to America precipitated a career in healthcare, inspired by her father, who was a physician. Twenty years and much hard work later, she operates skilled nursing facilities in California. Grace O strives to create flavorful food using the finest ingredients that ultimately lead to good health. Her recipes, although low in saturated fat, salt, and sugar, are high in flavor. Grace employs spices from all over the world to enliven her dishes, creating food that is different and delicious. She believes that food can be just as effective at fighting aging as the most expensive skin creams. And since she’s over 50 herself, she’s living proof of that. foodtrients.com
What Do FoodTrients Do?
Ai Anti- inflammatories

Reduce inflammatory process in cells, tissues, and blood vessels, helping to slow aging and reduce risk of long-term disease.

Ao Anti- oxidant

Prevents and repairs oxidative damage to cells caused by free radicals.

IB Immunity Boosters

Support the body’s resistance to infection and strengthen immune vigilance and response.

MB Mind

Improves mood, memory, and focus.

F Disease Prevention

Reduces risk factors for common degenerative and age-related diseases.