5 Delicious, Healthy Workday Lunches

We had some time to talk with the lovely Elizabeth Stein before her first cookbook, Eating Purely, debuts September 15th. Not only is Stein a certified nutritionist, she is also an incredibly successful health-food chef (renowned makeup artist Bobbi Brown is her No. 1 fan!) and has her own line of Purely Elizabeth products. We asked the queen of the nutritious—but not restrictive—meal a few questions on her philosophy of food. Read on for Stein’s favorite tips, tricks, and weekday recipes.

MYDOMAINE: If you were on a desert island and could only have five foods with you, what would they be?

Elizabeth Stein: Avocado, Vermont creamery goat cheese, Purely Elizabeth cranberry pecan granola, nut butter, bananas.

MD: Where are your favorite places to shop for natural foods on a budget?

ES: Shopping the bulk bins in any supermarket with organic options is a great value. We actually just started selling our granola in select Whole Foods bulk sections.

MD: We love how you make each and every one of your recipes approachable. How do you edit your recipes so the average person doesn’t feel intimidated?

ES: Aside from a few superfood ingredients, most of the recipes highlight the ingredients in the dish, meaning the ingredients speak for themselves without a lot of extra work.

MD: Who/what inspired you to write your first cookbook?

ES: Since attending Integrative Nutrition seven years ago, I’ve always had the idea to write a cookbook. I love the idea of showing people that healthy eating can be easy, enjoyable, and never a sacrifice.

MD: What comes first for you: the dish or a main ingredient?

ES: Main ingredient always. That’s why I love shopping at the farmers market; I definitely get inspired by what is in season. 

MD: Can you tell us a little bit about your five Eating Purely Principles?

ES: The five eating purely principles are meant to be pretty easy to follow: Eat whole, clean foods. Focus on plants. Kick inflammatory foods to the curb (like refined sugar, dairy, gluten). Add in nutrient-rich ingredients (those high in omega 3s and antioxidants). Lastly, practice the 80/20 rule for balance.

MD: We love the idea of “The Purely Scoop” as a way for you to weave useful information like the back-story of ingredients throughout Eating Purely. How did you come up with this idea?

ES: I’ve learned so many great tips and ideas over the years, so I really loved the idea of adding in some of those that will make your life easier and better in the kitchen.

MD: It's great buying fresh produce but so hard to get through it before it goes bad in the fridge. Any tips for keeping fresh food fresh longer? 

ES: It’s all about planning. If you know that you aren’t going to use some of your ingredients, store them in the freezer to use down the road. It’s also helpful to wash and prep produce when you first come home from the market. You are way more likely to put together something healthy if it’s already halfway there!

MD: We often find it so much easier to prepare food for the first half of the week as opposed to the second (and it's gross to make Friday's lunch on Sunday evening). How do you space out your food-preparation time during the week so that every day can be healthy but you're not spending time every day cooking/preparing?  

ES: Sundays are perfect for preparing meals for the first few days of the week. Some items, like a big batch of grains or beans, will last throughout the whole workweek. Then it’s just adding simple additions midweek to change up the mealsa new batch of salad, some grilled salmon, roasted vegetables, etc. The trick is to have a well-stocked pantry and fridge on Sunday so that you don’t have to do midweek shopping. 

MD: What’s the best piece of nutritional advice you’ve ever received?

ES: Adding in more greens to your diet. I know that when I focus my meals around leafy greens, I feel lighter, more energized and focused, and all-around happier!

Read on for five of Stein's favorite weekday recipes, including one she created just for MyDomaine readers!