I have always been a pack lunch luncher. At school, at university, wherever; I hate having to buy a soggy over priced sandwich (unless there is a Marks and Spencers around..) And if the sandwich fridge isn’t full of cheap ham, it’s full of cold cheese, which I hate. Sounds strange but I am sure a few of you can relate, cheese is not nice unless it is melted!
The problem is, taking a good packed lunch is a commitment. It is that extra 15 minutes you loose in bed and that extra space you need in your bag. On the other hand, it is so much healthier and cheaper. So here are my top tips on making a lunch on the go easy, healthy and worry free.
1) Shop wisely
If you know you have a busy week ahead, think about what you want to eat. Section your list into “things for lunch” and “things for meals” as this will also save you money!
If you are really trying to watch what you eat, don’t stock up on sticky snacks and pretend you will resist them, when monday morning comes and you are running late you will just grab that bag of biscuits and go.
Stock up on snacks like fruit, nuts, natural cereal bars and yohurts; and remember to check the sell by date! You dont want to have run out of munch come thursday and be back on the jam sandwiches.
On the other hand, don’t under buy! For example, if you plan on going for a run on thursday, make sure you get something for a good balanced lunch and don’t skip on the carbs. Try a brown rice salad with tuna, green beans and chilli.
2) Prepare ahead!
Sunday nights are your new best friend! Get chopping, cooking and boxing up everthing you need for the week ahead, then pop it in the fridge or freezer. For example, you could roast up a whole pan of veg which you can pop into a salad and make it instantly tasty, or throw in a wrap with a big dollop of hommous. If you are a meat eater, cook up a whole chicken to put in a sandwhich or salad instead. Chop up a huge basic salad and put it in a box for you to use all week, boil up a big batch of couscous, make up a batch of soup and freeze it in portions to take into work and heat up with rye crackers or bread. Maybe even cook a big quiche and take that with you with a salad through the week.The world is your oyster! Just get all the tricky bits out the way there and then.
3) Buy a good lunch box
No, I’m not trying to make you buy a 90’s pink plastic spice girls lunch box (although if you want one, please go ahead and show me) It is important you invest in a box which won’t leak all over your bag and is the perfect size for your type of lunch! There is nothing worse than tuna juice papers because your lunch leaked on them all. You may even want to look into some sort of cool bag lunch box. While you’re at it, you could also buy some smaller containers for snacks like fruit or yoghurt. It may sound simple, but having a good container makes life so much easier.
4) Love your leftovers!
You’ve made too much lasagne, halloumi stew or salmon fillets? Perfect!! You can take it for lunch the next day. Most meals can be downsized and turned into a healthy yummy lunch. In fact I recommend over cooking on purpose.
4) Know what’s good on the street
So sometimes it is just one of those days when you have forgotton to put on your make up, let alone pack a lunch. Pennies need to be spent, but don’t just run into your nearest costa, have a look at what else there is to offer! A lot of indian restaurants to amazing lunch buffet options, which are both different and cheap.
Look for places which are independently run, like acanteen where I work. Supporting places like this means you are supporting the local community, and they often source their meat, veg and eggs locally and organically. These always taste so much better and mean the animals are treated how they should, so it is well worth spending the money there!