Most of us in the office world have felt this on almost a daily basis: 12:25pm rolls around, bringing that unforgiving tummy rumble that will just not go away. We need to feed. Right now.
So, what can you do? You don’t want to blow the budget on buying restaurant food every day even if there are healthy options near your office, but you don’t want to ‘brown-bag it’ either (that could get boring!).
The stress of a workday can often make us feel hungry for comfort cuisine, so it’s easy to just go with very unhealthy fast food or microwavable TV dinners that will drain your beauty energy before the day’s even half over. Fast and typical “convenience” type food options do not make us feel satisfied or well. You’ve only got 30-60 minutes to unwind before it’s back to the grind –so let’s treat our minds and bodies to cuisine that soothes, empowers, energizes, and fills us up!
Is this even possible in an office kitchen? You might be surprised. On-the-go luxuriously healthy cuisine can be crafted quickly, and sometimes with only those usual office kitchen appliances available.
Iconic Office Kitchen Appliances
Let’s explore what office kitchen appliances are usually available to us. We’re assuming you’re not going to have access to a full stove, oven, pots, pans, or even the usual kitchen utensils (most of the time, office kitchen utensils aren’t exactly ‘clean’). What do we have to work with?
- Coffee maker
- Sink and faucet
- Toaster oven
Believe it or not, we can work with this list.
The Prep Work
Perhaps the most important aspect about office kitchen cooking that we should stress is that prep work is key. The quality of the meal you want while in the office is equally proportionate to how much you prepare for it before you go to work. You don’t want to have to spend your time whipping out a cutting board and chopping up your vegetables during your lunch break when you could be enjoying your food and maybe even a moment of quiet time in the sunshine when you’re done cooking, right? In order to make the most of your time, do as much ahead of time as possible.
For instance, if you want to make the Ananda Burrito, you can dice your celery, parsley, and onions and measure the ingredients for your dressing out ahead of time. Go ahead and mix the mustard and lemon juice together, then measure the nutritional yeast out and pack it to mix in at lunchtime. Take your avocado to work with you and slice it up when it’s time to eat so it won’t look brown and unappetizing by the time lunchtime rolls around. The whole recipe takes only about 3-5 minutes to make, so you’ll be eating in no time at all—way quicker than you would be if you were to go out for lunch—and you’ll have time not only to savor your food but to take some time for a little midday reflection away from your desk.
Coffee Maker & Toaster Oven Creation
One of the most underused office kitchen appliances we have available is the common coffee maker. When we omit the coffee from the equation, what do we have? Basically, it’s nothing more than a device that quickly heats water and then transfers it to a container. While this water isn’t boiling, it comes out at roughly 200 degrees.
You can do a lot with 200-degree water. Whether you’re working with a regular coffee pot or a Keurig, you can cook up some veggies. If you’ve chopped them ahead of time, you can just put your vegetables in the pot (clean it first, of course!) or a mug and then run water through the machine. Cover them for a few minutes until they’re tender, and add your seasonings of choice. In fact, just add a soup mix, and you’ve got yourself a hot, healthy vegetarian soup in minutes flat. Simply run the water right through the coffee maker into the pot (without the coffee), pour the 200-degree water into your bowl, and add your own soup mix.
If you want to take a soup, like the Raw Red Pepper and Tomato Soup or the Cauliflower Energy Soup but don’t want to eat them straight out of the fridge, you can heat up some water in the coffee pot and pour it into a bowl, then stick your mug of soup down into the bowl for a few minutes to heat up your lunch without eliminating any of the nutrients (stir occasionally while you wait). It won’t get the soup steaming hot, but it will still be warm and delicious.
You can make the Open Faced Avo Beauty Sandwich as long as you have access to a toaster. Toast your gluten-free bread while you slice up an avocado. You can slice your tomato the night or morning before work, pack that up, and throw that container in your lunchbox with an avocado and your seasonings.
Want To Actually Cook In Your Office Kitchen? You Will Need This.
Of course, a coffee maker, toaster, and assorted selection of coffee mugs will only get you so far. For a lot of healthy vegetarian (or vegan) cuisines, you’re going to need a stove.
Fortunately, there are innovative stovetops that can fit inside a filing cabinet. For example, Duxtop has a line of portable stoves that are very slim, and they can simply be wiped off and stored. In addition, they are very safe, and they don’t use any type of gas.
So, if you had a desire to whip up a quick, healthy dish that required boiling, simmering, or searing, you could simply bring your portable stove and a small pot or pan. Even if you had very little storage at your desk, this system cleans quickly and takes up very little space.
I also recommend that you have a separate ‘mobile kitchen’ bag, so that you don’t lose any of your cookware, utensils, etc. at the office. Because time is always a factor with break lunches, you will want your mobile kitchen to be as organized as possible. Spend less time cooking and cleaning and more time eating and relaxing, maybe even with a few minutes for meditation before you get back to work.
Don’t let the daily grind get in the way of your goals of good health and a beautiful body. While cooking in the office this way may be against the norm, you’ll feel better and more energized when it’s time to push through the second half of the work day.
This is lovely in theory, but I cannot even imagine the chaos that would ensue if someone were to put vegetables or soup in the work coffee pot. I like to eat a big nutrient dense salad and save the cooking for dinner.
I am the office go-to-gal for smoothie making. I have my Vitamix at home but my Nutri-bullet sits on my desk. I buy groceries to take to my office Monday morning and store in my desk or office refrigerator.. I bring cut veggies, almonds and figs, bags of spinach and kale as well as frozen fruit and coconut water. Less time to make a fresh smoothie than it is to walk to the student union to get a candy bar.