Lunchbox Tips for Busy Professionals


One of the main keys to eating healthily at work is being prepared and organised enough to pack your own lunchbox each day. This will naturally reduce your trips to the canteen or shop to purchase something unhealthy to eat on impulse. Knowing that you have a delicious meal packed away ready for your lunch ensures that you are less likely to grab something on the run and your energy levels will be sustained throughout the day.

Bringing your own lunch to work can seem like a chore but it is so worth it. Ever skipped lunch entirely due to being in back to back meetings all day only then to come out and eat a truckload of whatever is around? Have you been so exhausted at work that you are constantly reaching for the next packet of sweets or can of coke to ‘keep you going’ throughout the day? It’s called work life balance and it can be achieved.

If you are eating well at work chances are you will increase your productivity levels and have energy throughout the day. What we feed our bodies has a drastic effect on how we feel. Experiencing headaches at work a lot? Take a break from staring at the computer, go for a 5 minute walk in the fresh air and start downing water. Stop relying on sugar and Berocca to ‘get you through’ and start listening to what your body really needs. Sleep, rest, hydration and real food.

Here are some tips for ‘getting it together’ when preparing a healthy lunchbox:

  • Schedule enough time to pack your lunchbox – either wake up a couple of minutes earlier so that you can pack it in the morning or prepare it the evening before.
  • Plan and organise what you will take for your lunches so that you know what you’re going to buy at the shops beforehand. If you plan well ahead well you will be less likely to visit the canteen. Make lists- I jot them down in the ‘notes’ section of my phone so that I have them on me at all times.
  • Make enough dinner so that you can take leftovers for lunch the next day (especially cuts of meat such as roast chicken and steak that you can chop up and put into salads).
  • Make a big pot of soup on the weekend, freeze into individual Tupperware’s and use for your lunches the next week.
  • Make sure you include two healthy snacks in your lunchbox- raw nuts and seeds, fruit, lean beef biltong, boiled eggs, hummus and veggie sticks, popcorn (not the microwaved stuff please!).
  • Cold Meats- buy some shaved chicken or turkey and keep it in the fridge at work as a snack
  • Tinned tuna and chickpeas are pantry staples for my lunchbox. Mix them with some salad leaves and avocado and you’ve got yourself a meal.
  • Roast some butternut cubes the night before, cool and toss it in a salad for lunch the next day- add in some cous cous or quinoa to bulk it up and make it go further.
  • Salads- all you need is salad leaves, some lean protein (smoked chicken breast, steak strips, chickpeas, tuna, salmon or eggs), veggies and some healthy fats such as avocado.
  • Keep some herbal teas in your drawer at work for when the afternoon slump comes a knocking.
  • Make sure you keep a large bottle of water on your desk and keep drinking it throughout the day- so many people often mistake thirst for hunger.


  • Fried foods such as chips and deep fried foods- they will only make you sluggish.
  • Chocolates and sweets- which will raise your sugar levels initially and then shortly thereafter give you a slump.
  • Bread and carbs if you are trying to lose weight.
  • Fat free and low fat snack bars and protein bars- lots of sugar hiding in those!
  • Cakes, muffins, biscuits and pastries- hard when a colleague has a birthday and is bringing treats to the office. Rather limit yourself to one very skinny slice and make sure you’ve had your snack before doing so. Chances are you will be full from the snack anyways and not want to indulge as much.


Banana, Pecan & Cinnamon Bircher Muesli with Almond Milk

Thermomix IconDairy Free 2

I’m a big fan of breakfast- it’s undoubtedly my favourite meal of the day. Breakfast can be so versatile and I like to change it up as often as I can. Our breakfasts range from peanut butter smoothies, to toasted low carb bread with creamy scrambled eggs and avocado. I also make up a batch of homemade sugar free muesli which lasts us around 2 weeks. Then there’s Berry, Almond and Coconut Granola and these gorgeous little blueberry chia pots. What I like about this recipe is that you leave it to ‘soak’ overnight, thus all the work is done for you. The result- a bowl of creamy deliciousness ready to fill those hungry tummies! Kids love this one too.


  • 2 cups mixed raw nuts (I used brasil nuts, cashews, almonds and pecans)
  • 1 cup gluten free oats (I used steel cut oats)
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • seeds from a vanilla pod
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • handful of pecans
  • 1 cup Homemade Almond Milk



  1. Place the nuts, oats, chia seeds and spices into the Thermomix bowl or high speed blender.
  2. Mix together for 2 seconds on speed 7.
  3. Pour mixture into bowl and add a cup of almond milk.
  4. Leave overnight in the fridge and add in the sliced banana and shredded coconut in the morning.

Banana 4

Review: The Pudding Shop


Tucked away at the back of La Cucina Di Ciro restaurant lies one of Parktown North’s hidden gems. The Pudding Shop is a vegan restaurant that also serves a couple of non-vegan dishes. Owners Klara and Zeus have done a phenomenal job providing a beautiful space in which diners can come and enjoy delicious, tasty vegan food in a relaxed environment. I must mention that I am not a vegan and was a little concerned about the type of food I would be served, as vegans do not consume any products derived from animals (meat, dairy, honey etc). The food proved me wrong and took away any previous concerns I had- it was fresh, healthy and full of flavour. I now look at vegan food in a whole new light.


Klara has done an amazing job with the interior of restaurant. It’s quirky and fun but also peaceful and beautiful. You feel as if you have stepped into a magical, secret garden. Ivy creeps up the walls, water trickles slowly from the fountain and a buddha statue sits in the corner. Sounds of city life, the hustle and bustle of Johannesburg, are blocked out by soft background music and for a blissful few moments you forget where you actually are.

The Pudding Shop does offer a few non-vegan dishes for those who prefer some cripsy bacon with their breakfast but, rest assured, Zeus is an ethical vegan who makes sure any non vegan dishes are prepared in an entirely separate kitchen.


The restaurant boasts a menu like none other. From spiced butternut waffles with layered fruit and cashew cream, to creamy quinoa and rolled oats cooked in rice milk, vanilla & sultanas for breakfast and avocado & red bean burgers served with a spicy lentil tomato sauce for lunch. Of course it wouldn’t be called The Pudding Shop without a variety of delicious desserts and cakes that are vegan friendly and to top it all off the service is warm and welcoming.


Another bonus- they don’t charge a surplus if you request almond milk instead of regular milk with your coffee- brilliant if you are lactose intolerant like me.

The Pudding Shop is open Tuesday till Sunday for breakfast and lunch and also hosts a full moon dinner once a month, where you can come and enjoy live music and gourmet food. They offer private functions as well.


Contact The Pudding Shop:

47 3rd Avenue Parktown North Johannesburg

061 444 3493




Why I Decided to Ditch the Dairy


For as long as I can remember I have always battled with digesting dairy. As a little girl when I drank a milkshake or ate a creamy dish almost immediately afterwards I would have a sore tummy and feel nauseous. My body was telling me that dairy didn’t agree with me. I got put off milkshakes and would shy away from creamy sauces and the like. It didn’t go away as I got older, if I have something too ‘milky’ or ‘creamy’ I instantly get cramps and I’m off to the loo. My skin also reacts badly and I know I’ve been eating too much cheese when I have a bad breakout. So dairy doesn’t work for me. Luckily I don’t experience this with all forms of dairy- I’m fine with any form of eggs and a little butter won’t cause much harm but as soon as I have anything too creamy it wreaks havoc with my digestive system.

I don’t find this too much of an issue and it’s kind of just fitted into my lifestyle. I don’t drink tea with milk (I never have since I was little) and I make smoothies using my Homemade Almond Milk. In fact most of the food I eat including desserts is dairy free. Nut, rice and seed milks are so easy to make- I make a batch from scratch each week using my Thermomix. All the sorbets on my blog are dairy free and most of my desserts including my Homemade Raw Chocolate. I use coconut cream and coconut milk in a lot of my dishes as I love the flavour and I tend to stay away from creamy soups and sauces. If a dish requires a creamy consistency I just blend up some nuts and there you have it. Cashew cream, macadamia cream, nut butters and nut milks are the normal part of my every day life and my body feels so much better for it.


Some interesting facts on Dairy:

  • Allergies, asthma and skin problems can all be linked to dairy.
  • Most cows today are pumped full of antibiotics and hormones due to the mass production of milk which is directly transferred to the milk you are consuming.
  • We are the only species that drinks the milk of another species. Cow’s milk is meant for cows not humans.
  • Dairy causes inflammation and digestive problems.
  • Almost 75% of the world’s population are lactose intolerant.

What is Lactose Intolerance?

Lactose intolerance means that the body cannot digest lactose (the natural sugar occuring in milk) properly. Humans require the enzyme lactase to digest lactose and if you have insufficient levels of the enzyme you may be lactose intolerant. This leads to unpleasant side effects such as gas, stomach cramps, nausea and diarrhoea.

Are you Lactose Intolerant?

Do you experience cramps, stomach pain, gas, bloating or diaorrhea after you consume too much dairy? Try slowly cutting out dairy from your diet and see if it makes a noticeable difference. I’d love to hear your progress in the comments section below.

But where do you get your calcium from?

There are an abundant sources of dairy free calcium- most people just don’t know about them!

  • Dark leafy greens such as spinach, collard greens, kale and broccoli
  • Seeds such as chia seeds and sesame seeds
  • Nuts, such as almonds

Try swopping this for that:

  • Cow’s milk for almond milk, coconut milk, seed milk, oat milk, rice milk or other nut milks (cashew nut milk, brazil nut milk)
  • Yoghurt for coconut yoghurt
  • Cream for coconut cream
  • Soy products are not a better alternative- rather stick to the ones mentioned above

My Favourite Dairy Free Recipes:


These can all be found by clicking the ‘Dairy Free’ link to the right of my blog under ‘Categories’



WIN a free copy of the cookbook ‘Eats’



*Please note this competition is now closed, the lucky winners are Nthabeleng Lentsoane and Mel Brauteseth*

I was extremely excited when the lovely people over at Struik Lifestyle gave me 2 free copies of their newly published cookbook ‘Eats’ to giveaway to two of my lucky readers.

Working in a bush camp in Botswana was the source of inspiration for author, Mary Rolph Lamontagne. There, she experienced the need to improvise and create palatable, exciting meals for discerning guests, when they were low on stock, yet had heaps of leftovers.

Being an avid foodie and having a passion for preserving the environment, she quickly transformed leftovers into stunning gourmet meals, ensuring that every last bit was used up and nothing was left to waste.

The book has stacks of tips and tricks to help you ‘savour and save’, advice for growing your own vegetables, a buying and storing guide, as well as a ‘Health Benefits’ section (my favourite bit).

From Roasted Butternut Spring Rolls to Avocado-apple Smoothies this cookbook is guaranteed to tickle those taste buds and get you thinking of how you can use leftovers to whip up an entirely new dish.

How to enter:

Head over to my Facebook page and like my page if you haven’t already then leave a comment either on this post or on Facebook as to why you would like to win- simple as that!

For extra entries share this giveaway on Facebook and Twitter.

Open Only to South African Residents.

This giveaway will run until Friday 26th September 2014 and the winners will be announced on Monday 29th September 2014.


Berry, Almond & Coconut Granola

Thermomix IconLow CarbNo Sugar 2

I am a huge fan of eggs for breakfast and eat them about 3 times a week but when I’m in a rush or just feel like something light, fruity and different it’s always nice to know I have a jar of my favourite granola or sugar free muesli sitting in my pantry that I can quickly have. I have mine with almond milk or cashew milk.



  • 2 cups raw gluten free oats
  • 2 cups raw almonds, activated
  • 1 cup mixed raw nuts
  • 1 cup coconut flakes
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon raw cacao nibs
  • seeds from one vanilla pod
  • 4 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 1 cup mixed fresh berries to serve (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries)



1. Heat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.

2. In a Thermomix or mixer add all ingredients together.

3. Mix together on speed 7 for 3 seconds until combined.

4. Pour mixture onto the baking tray and bake for 15 minutes until golden.

5. Serve with fresh berries and almond milk.

6. Store leftovers in an airtight container or glass jar.


Spiced Pumpkin, Ginger and Clemengold Soup

Thermomix IconWinter Comforts

This is my last entry into the Clemengold #clemenlicious recipe challenge. You can see my other entries here, here and here. I’ve had such fun doing this challenge and coming up with innovative ways to cook with this juicy fruit. This soup is a take on the classic ‘Butternut and Orange’ soup. The juice of the Clemengold and the ginger gives it that extra zing and is packed with vitamins to fight off the last of the Winter colds and flu.



  • 1 large brown onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 700 gr pumpkin, cubed
  • 1 tablespoon homemade stock paste
  • 400 gr water
  • juice and zest of one Clemengold
  • 1 knob fresh ginger, grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • fresh parsley
  • salt and pepper


  1. Chop up the onions and garlic finely and sauté in a heavy based pot in a tablespoon of olive oil for 3 minutes.
  2. Add the ginger, pumpkin and spices and zest and sauté for another 3 minutes.
  3. Add the water, stock paste and Clemengold juice and bring the pot to the boil.
  4. Reduce the heat and simmer for 25 minutes.
  5. Blend the soup until smooth and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Garnish with fresh parsley.


1. Add the onion and garlic to the TM bowl and chop on speed 9 for 5 seconds.

2. Add in the grated ginger, spices and olive oil and sauté for 3 minutes, 100 degrees, speed 1.

3. Add in the stock paste, water, Clemengold juice and zest and cook for 20 minutes, 100 degrees speed 1.

4. Turn the dial slowly from speed 1 to speed 9 for 30 seconds until the soup is smooth.

5. Season with salt & pepper and garnish with fresh parsley.

Clemengold & Coconut Sorbet with Charred Clemengolds and Pecans

Weekend TreatsDairy Free 2Thermomix Icon

This is my 3rd entry for the #clemenlicious compeition from Clemengold. So far I’ve entered Salted  Clemengold Chocolate Bark with Hazelnuts & Preserve and Buckwheat Pancakes with Hot Clemengold Jam, Mascarpone and Cinnamon Scrolls. The cold sorbet is the perfect partner to the warm, sticky honeyed clemengolds.



For the sorbet:

  • 1 can full fat coconut cream
  • juice and zest of 3 clemengolds
  • 1 egg white

For the roasted Clemengolds:

  • 4 juicy Clemengolds
  • 1 tablespoon runny honey
  • handful of pecan nuts, roughly chopped



For the sorbet:

  1. Add the coconut cream and Clemengold juice and zest to a mixer or Thermomix.
  2. Mix together for 2 minutes on speed 7 if using a Thermomix, and if using a normal mixer mix for 2 minutes on a medium to high speed.
  3. Pour the mixture into ice cube trays and freeze over night.
  4. Take the mixture out of the ice trays and place back into the mixer or Thermomix along with the egg white.
  5. Mix together for minute on speed 9 until smooth and creamy.
  6. Scoop into bowls, sprinkle with pecans and serve alongside the roasted Clemengolds.

For the Charred Clemengolds:

1. Turn on your oven to grill.

2. Cut open the Clemengolds through the centre of the segments and drizzle each half with the honey.

3. Place under the grill, cut side up for a few minutes until they start to caramelise and go slightly blackened.

4. Serve the warm clemengolds with the sorbet.



Buckwheat Pancakes with Hot Clemengold Jam & Mascarpone

Weekend TreatsGluten Free

This is my 2nd entry for the #clemenlicious competition that Clemengold is running at the moment. The first entry was Salted Clemengold Chocolate Bark with Hazelnuts & Preserve which you can find here.These pancakes are gluten and sugar free and the whole recipe is dairy free with the exception of the mascarpone- you can use coconut cream if you want to go totally dairy free.



  • 1 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 500 ml almond milk
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons Clemengold jam
  • 2 tablespoons mascarpone
  • cinnamon scrolls
  • zest of one Clemengold



  • Place the eggs, almond milk and 1 tablespoon of melted coconut oil in a mixing bowl and whisk together until combined.
  • Add in the flours, baking powder, zest, salt and mix together.
  • Heat a pan, add in the other tablespoon of coconut oil and pour in a spoonful of batter at a time.
  • Continue until all the batter is used up, flipping the pancakes once bubbles appear.
  • Once cooked, warm some Clemengold jam up in the pan.
  • Pour the hot jam over the pancakes and serve with mascarpone and cinnamon scrolls.


Mushroom & Thyme Soup

Thermomix IconWinter Comforts

A little while ago I came 2nd in a #mushroomlove competition for my Chicken & Porcini Mushroom Broth entry and as a result I receive a batch of beautiful mixed shrooms (Shitake, King Oyster, Enoki, Shimeji, Porcini- you name it) delivered to me every month from the lovely people over at Nouvelle Mushrooms. I absolutely love mushrooms and their many health benefits they offer.



  • 500 gr mixed fresh Nouvelle mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 1 brown onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon homemade stock paste
  • 600 gr water
  • 2 dollops full fat greek yoghurt
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 sprigs of fresh Thyme



  1. Chop up the onion and garlic until fine and add to a heavy based pot along with the olive oil.
  2. Sauté for 3 minutes on a medium heat until soft and starting to brown.
  3. Add the mushrooms and thyme into the pan and saute for 3 more minutes.
  4. Add in the water, stock paste, salt and pepper and bring to the boil.
  5. Cook for 10 minutes until the mushrooms are soft.
  6. Add in the yoghurt and blend the soup until smooth.
  7. Garnish with more fresh thyme.


  1. Add the onion and garlic to the TM bowl and chop for 5 seconds on speed 7.
  2. Add in the olive oil and thyme and saute for 3 minutes, 100 degrees, speed 1.
  3. Add in the mushrooms and saute for another 3 minutes, 100 degrees, speed 1.
  4. Add the water, stock paste, salt and pepper and cook for 10 minutes, 100 degrees, speed 1.
  5. Lastly add in the yoghurt and slowly turn the dial from speed 1 to speed 9 until the soup is smooth.
  6. Garnish with more fresh thyme.