Culinary Journeys

5 days, 5 dishes - How to eat healthy at work AND save money

Sophie Eastaugh, for CNNPublished 21st October 2015
(CNN) — Work is manic, the commute is long and you're juggling a dozen commitments.
In times of stress and hunger, the temptation to reach for the greasiest cheeseburger or most sugary cake can be irresistible.
Though such offerings provide temporary pleasure, the slump after a heavy meal or sugar binge will send you face planting into your to-do list faster than you can say stuffed crust pizza.
Try these lunch ideas, sent in from around the globe by CNN readers:

1. Polish delights

Top marks to Marysia from Poland for this ingenious creation of baked eggs in baked potatoes -- a great option for those working from home.
Halve the potatoes and chuck them in the oven for around 45 minutes to an hour. Five minutes before they are ready, scoop a well out of the flesh and crack in a raw egg.
Bake to your taste before topping with chilli flakes and sea salt -- an Instagrammable plateful of satisfaction.
And her suggestions for some midday fueling don't stop there.
We're hankering after an invitation to Marysia's house for lunch, as another one of her dishes has also got the drool factor.
Tear open artisan bread (sun dried tomato and olive in this photo) and spoon over some low-fat ricotta.
Drizzle with honey and add a shake of thyme, both dried or fresh will work.
The combination of creamy ricotta, sweet honey and fragrant thyme is to die for.

2. Salads with a difference

To save money and prepare for easy midday feasting, stock up your fridge with fresh veg and goodies at the start of the week.
Green salad basics, treats like ham or feta and store cupboard staples such as olives, capers and tuna will go a long way in helping you achieve master-of-the-packed-lunch status.
But a lunch box from home does not have to equal boring, as these sumptuous salads show:
Make the most of late season figs, paired with serrano ham or bresaola (a spiced, air-dried beef) as in this delicious meal enjoyed by Ghida Nsouli in Beirut.
Salty parmesan and peppery rocket will complement the sweet figs and cured meat beautifully -- who said tasty needs to be difficult?
For a more humble option, put an egg on to boil as you get ready for work.
Slice it over some salad with a side of beans for a protein-filled lunch, like this suggestion from Nigeria's Ajoke Olumide.
If you have time, make homemade baked beans by adding Tabasco, shallots and paprika to butter or cannellini beans -- it will pay dividends in taste.

3. Go fish

Along with avocados, oily fish such as salmon and tuna contain high levels of Omega 3, which can help increase calorie-burning muscle, according to research.
Not only that, but scientists suggest that eating fatty fish can boost your brain power and reduce anxiety, making those afternoon spreadsheets easier to bear.
Rebeca Mijares from Spain recommends "tiradito de atún" -- similar to ceviche -- it's finely sliced raw tuna believed to have been adopted from Japanese immigrants to Peru.
She has paired it with sliced avocado, green chillis and a splash of soy sauce and lime -- you could use smoked salmon if fresh tuna is difficult to find.
For a taste of Scandinavian heaven, try Taipei-based Chef Ola's crab salad with avocado, sweetcorn, peppers and mayo.
Much cheaper than lobster, crab is full of protein and Omega 3. Mix it up with prawns or crayfish if you prefer.

4. Cut down on meat

Over 14% of greenhouse gases comes from meat and dairy farming, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Association, which is more than all the emissions from cars, trains and airplanes combined.
So whether it's "Meat Free Mondays" or any other day of consumption, the urgency of reducing our meat and dairy intake has never been more striking. Vegan options are kinder on the waistline too.
Take a (kale) leaf out of foodie traveler Trips and Taste's book with a nutrition-packed sandwich of avocado, tomato and rocket. This one from New Jersey eatery Seed to Sprout uses coconut butter, but a good olive oil would do just as well.

5. Think outside the box

Don't limit your plate! While you may be stuck in the office, food can be the vehicle that takes you to new places -- so why not try an lunch idea from further afield?
Alysha Yoder from Pennsylvania, U.S., drew inspiration from the Middle East in creating her homemade falafel with tzatziki, feta and salad.
Make them in bulk and fill the freezer or cheat and buy them -- just make sure you try them!
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