Chef Tips: How to Have an Easy Healthy Lunch

Today’s post and recipe comes from our friend Seamus Mullen, an award-winning chef, restaurateur, cookbook author, and leading authority in the conversation on food, health and wellness.


Life can get really busy this time of year. We all go head-first into the New Year with intentions to take better care of ourselves, lose that extra 10 pounds, or simply improve our health altogether. But too often the hectic game of life gets the better of us. A lot of people especially struggle to eat well at work. I’ve found that it’s easiest to stay on track with my health and nutrition by following these three guidelines.



1. Set up for success

When there’s junk food around, it’s easy to be tempted. Replace those sugary snacks with healthier options like raw nuts or celery with almond butter. Remember, the better the quality of your ingredients, the better your food and snacks will be. Likewise, the more nutrients you pack into your meals, the less you’ll want to snack anyway.

2. Have a Plan

I always jot down a couple meal ideas so I have a rough plan for the week ahead. I eat a lot of my lunches while working from home, so I like to have an idea of what I’m going to eat in advance. My go-to lunch is often a variation of what I call the “BAS” or “Big Ass Salad.” This is usually a mix of different leafy greens, with raw or cooked vegetables, nuts or seeds, and a protein like eggs, chicken, or grass-fed beef, all topped with a flavorful vinaigrette.

I’m a big fan of cooking in large batches. For example, I’ll roast two whole chickens and some Brussels sprouts on Monday, then eat the leftovers with greens for a quick and tasty lunch on Tuesday. For a ready-to-go vinaigrette, I’ll toss all my ingredients in a small mason jar, shake it up, and store in the fridge until I’m ready for lunch. Sometimes I put all my salad ingredients in a large mixing bowl or a portable glass container, and set it aside in the fridge. At lunch time, all I have to do is dress the salad and I’m good to go!

3. Stick to a Routine

Habits are hard to form but they’re even harder to break. When it comes to nutrition and fitness, I always follow a plan. This includes variations on the same breakfast and lunch as well as a steady schedule for my exercise. This way, I’m less likely to skip the gym and snack on unhealthy foods and more likely to build up positive momentum to keep up the healthy habits.

Try this: plan out 3 variations of the “BAS” (Big Ass Salad) recipe below and rotate through those three salads for lunch, Monday through Friday for two weeks. Take the weekends to have a little more flexibility around meals. Most people find that simply planning out lunches for two weeks helps reduce the temptation to snack on junk food and keeps them on track. Having a regular exercise routine only further reinforces the positive momentum.

The Kale and Radicchio “BAS” with Creamy Kefir-Lime Vinaigrette

This salad makes 2 servings.*

  • 3 cups mixed baby kale and radicchio
  • 1 cup or 3-4 oz roasted chicken or rotisserie chicken meat
  • 1 cup roasted Brussels Sprouts (I sauté them over high heat the night before in olive oil with salt, pepper and a squeeze of lemon until tender, about 7 minutes)
  • ½ cup Lifeway Farmer Cheese
  • 2 TBSP raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1 carrot, cut into ribbons with a vegetable peeler
  • 2 sprigs cilantro, torn.
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the vinaigrette

*For nutritional information, check out the recipe page here.


Find out more about Chef Seamus Mullen by visiting his website. Be sure to follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more of his recipes and tips for how to live a healthy, happy life.