Exciting Packed Lunch Ideas

May 14, 2021
Exciting Packed Lunch Ideas

Many of us will not have had to think about taking a lunch into work over the last year, given how much the pandemic has forced us to work at home. However, with the easing of restrictions, we may start to commute into work again meaning our lunch hour may return to being spent looking at cold limp sandwiches in Pret. So, instead, it may be better to start taking a packed lunch into work.

While it may seem a little odd at first, given that for many of us the last time we had a packed lunch was at school, it can actually be a far better way to eat. Not only is it cheaper, it also gives you fuller control over what you put in your body. So much of the fast, convenience food we pick up at a cafe or food outlet during lunch hours is laden in salt, fat and sugar. By taking a packed lunch in of food you prepare at home, you stop that from happening - plus it can be far more varied than you think. Check out our suggestions below as to what can be used to liven up your packed lunches.

Salads

Salads do not have to be boring. Far from it in fact. For, once you get past thinking that salad is simply a shredded iceberg lettuce with a few tomatoes and slices of cucumber, you open up a whole world of delicious, healthy food options. Salads can be filling, as long as you put in a decent amount of protein as well as ensuring your tastebuds are satiated with the inclusion of punchy food combinations. Greek salad is a great example, or a chicken caesar salad, or even a pesto tempeh, artichoke & lentil salad - which is available through Mindful Chef as a main meal. The brilliant result from using a salad from a recipe kit delivery service is not only the ease, but you can actually make your lunch simply from your leftovers. It’s the ultimate time saver.

Wraps

Wraps are another great alternative to a sandwich meaning you can add a lot of much needed variety to your diet - so you don’t go out searching for snacks mid afternoon. Wraps can be exceptionally filling too, while also being very easy to transport to work. Either in a tupperware or simple rolled up in some tin foil. Both being environmentally friendly. They also take flavour combinations really well, that may not be so tasty in usual bread. So hoisin duck rolls are great, as well as cumin crusted lamb with tzatziki. Another option from Mindful Chef that are perfect to take into the office are Smoky ‘n’ Sweet BBQ Chicken Fajitas which are totally delicious and healthy too.

Grains

Grains such as quinoa and couscous are perfect for whacking in a tupperware and taking to the office. Plus, they have a low GI number so they keep you fuller for longer than a cheese and ham sandwich. They also provide a fantastic opportunity to get creative with what you mix them with. A classic tabbouleh made with bulgar wheat is a wonderfully fragrant option thanks to all the herbs it contains. Or simply adding a whole load of garlic roasted vegetables to some couscous is also a sure fire way to placate any palate. Vegetarians would probably be wise to add some form of cheese or nuts for protein, but a person who eats meat may find that some chargrilled chicken is a yummy addition. What’s great about grains is that you can get a whole load of ingredients ready at the weekend, then, on the night before work put the ingredients you want together in a tupperware ready to take to work in the morning. It takes five minutes that way, as you’ve done all the hard graft on Saturday or Sunday.

Legumes

Legumes - like chick peas or kidney beans - are an exceptionally healthy food to eat at lunch and they’re great for giving your body the slow burning release of energy to keep going until home time. There’s also a huge variety in them meaning you can keep chopping and changing what you eat so that you don’t get bored and revert to old habits of eating convenience food at your lunch. You can roast larger legumes with a whole load of spices and snack on them just like that, or you can use them as a way to bulk out salads too. Puy lentils often come prepared in vacuum pack pouches so all you need to do is chop up some herbs and salad vegetables and put it all into your lunch box ready for midday. One of our favourite options from a recipe meal kit delivery service is Gousto’s Mexican cod with black beans and guacamole. Fish is always good to have as part of your diet, while the black beans will keep you full and the guacamole has a richness which satiate your taste buds.

Buddha Bowls

Finally, buddha bowls are a trendy yet easy addition to your packed lunch vocabulary. All they are is a handful of tasty ingredients put side by side to each other, all dressed with the same dressing. What’s great about this is that you can be really indulgent and just include all your favourite things and eat them as you wish. So if you want to mix them up into more of a salad you can, but you can also just enjoy each ingredient on its own. They’re also designed to eat cold so they’re perfect for lunch boxes. Many buddha bowls include some form of grain - like rice or quinoa - a protein, and plenty of fruit and vegetables. Options like sauerkraut are fantastic to add as they add a bit of zing and go really well with falafel, houmous or cheese. Buddha bowls are technically meant to be vegetarian - but it’s your lunch, if you want to add some of your leftover roast meat from Sunday, do!

Delicious Packed Lunches

Let’s be honest, the majority of us look forward to our lunch during a day at the office. It gives us a break from the monotony of sitting at a desk or just some chill out time away from any tasks. Ensuring that our lunches are delcious as well as good for us can help keep us happier while at work therefore, while also making sure we have enough energy for the afternoon’s activities - with minimal snacking from the biscuit tin or vending machine. Packed lunches may seem like a bit more of an administrative burden to add to your day - but they don’t take any longer to make than it does to leave your desk and go and buy a sandwich. Plus, if you cook meals (with a meal kit or not) the night before, a lot of what we make can be a perfect packed lunch too.

Rachel Lee
Having worked at Morgan Stanley and BNYMellon for over 10 years in pensions and investments, Rachel now works as a full-time business and financial writer.

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