Lunchbox Challenge: Week 2, Grain 1

I truly loved reading all of your thoughts on fitness and the workplace. One thing is for sure—we all agree that being physically fit certainly plays a huge role in behavior in the workplace. I’m so fortunate to have such wonderfully intelligent and like-minded readers!

It’s time for the second week of the lunchbox challenge. I don’t know how long the challenge will continue—I’m just having fun letting it play out.

For anyone who isn’t familiar with the challenge, feel free to get caught up:


  • Wrap 1-sweet potato, pomegranate, tempeh wrap
  • Wrap 2-eggplant, goat cheese, green pepper wrap
  • Wrap 3-sweet tofu and green apple filled wrap
  • Wrap 4-chunky chickpea and spiced Greek yogurt wrap

This week is going to be all about the grains.

The first featured grain? Red quinoa. Quinoa is actually a grain-like crop that is closely related to beets and spinach. You had me at beets.

It’s also gluten free and is considered to be one of the best sources of complete protein and amino acids. It’s also a good source of dietary fiber and is high in magnesium and iron. <—I mean all of that just sounds fabulous already, right?

Before cooking, rinse your quinoa. This minimizes some of the earthy taste. I actually enjoy the earthy taste, but others in my family? Eh, not so much.

I used my rice cooker (!!) to cook up a big batch. This was my first time cooking quinoa in a rice cooker—and it worked like a charm!! Sorry stovetop, but you are history!


While your quinoa effortlessly cooks away, peel and chop one sweet potato.

Toss the sweet potato in about 1/2 T. of olive oil + salt n’ pepper. Roast at 450 degrees for about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, assemble the rest of your ingredients.

  • 1 C. black beans (drained & rinsed)
  • 1 C. cooked quinoa
  • roasted sweet potato
  • 2 c. chopped baby spinach

For the sauce:

  • 1 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 T. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 T. nutritional yeast
  • 1 mini scoop stevia
  • 1/2 T. Italian seasoning

Mix together all the ingredients + the sauce.

Choose your sides.

  • chopped kiwi (skin on!)
  • baby carrots & cucumber
  • coconut crème pie larabar

I ate the other half of the sweet potato and black bean red quinoa for lunch yesterday, and I know it will be even better today after the flavors had a chance to blend overnight!

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