Whether you’re a student or a working adult, you can save quite a bit of money by packing your own lunch to take with you. The main issue with this is that people get pretty tired of the same old sandwiches every single day and there’s not enough variety to keep them interested. If that sounds like something you’re dealing with, then no worries, the following ideas will reinvigorate your interest in lunch.
Why You Should Pack Your Own Lunch
Aside from saving money by not eating out, packed lunches are considerably better for you than most takeaways. When you pack your own meals, you can ensure that your lunch is balanced and full of nutrients. Of course, not everyone takes these steps to make a healthy meal, but if you do, you’ll feel better for it.
Every lunch should include a lean or low fat protein, such as turkey or chicken, plus some whole grain carbohydrates and plenty of veg. Quinoa, barley, and brown rice are all good options for the grains, but you can also opt for whole grain tortillas or sandwich bread.
When you eat healthily, you are able to adjust to your body’s needs. Often, restaurants give much larger portions than are truly necessary and you can eliminate the need to overeat by packing exactly what you know you’ll need to remain full and nourished.
So, what should you eat that won’t be super boring? Let’s take a look.
Serve Up Some Soup
Do you enjoy soup? There’s nothing better on a cold wintry day or a rainy one than a lovely bowl of steaming soup. You can have any type of soup you like, from a creamy mushroom one to a broth with noodles and pieces of tofu. The choice is yours.
Soup isn’t the first thing most people think of when they come up with an idea for a pack up, but it’s a good way to get your nutrition in a light, healthy way. Use a broad mouth thermos to keep your soup hot and add in some whole grain bread or crackers to eat with it.
Shred Your Favourite Protein Over Grain
Plain sandwiches can be dull, but you get the same nutritional boost if you present your food in a different way. For example, you can start with a base of whole grains and add your favourite protein on top of this. A tortilla can be the base, or you can use quinoa, brown rice, etc.
Once you have the base for your food, you can add to it with your protein, but don’t get too stuck on chicken or turkey. There’s nothing wrong with pulled pork over rice or shredded salmon on a tortilla. Add your favourite sauce and some veg on the side and you have everything you need for a nutritious meal.
Eggs in All Their Glory
Eggs are the perfect food in a tiny package. They’re nutritious and healthy and they taste great, too. If you’ve been enjoying your eggs in one way, why not try something different?
Hardboiled: Eat as is, mash with avocado for a tasty salad, slice into salad or soup
Omelette: Roll around a filling of seafood or avocado and serve as a fancy burrito
Fried: A nice fried egg on toast is a great alternative to the usual sandwich, or you can put it on rice with vegetables
Scrambled: Use as a filling for a breakfast burrito, tuck inside a rice ball, or mix into fried rice
Sometimes it takes looking at something ordinary in a different light to make it something you really want to eat.
Don’t Forget the Sauces
Just about anything is better with sauce. Even the dullest dish is spiced up with a little sriracha on top, but there are plenty of different sauces available, so you don’t need to get bored with anything. These can be added to your ordinary sandwiches and salads to spice them up a little.
It’s best to keep sauce on the side so it won’t make your food soggy. You can find small containers to put your sauce in and tuck it into your pack up until you’re ready to eat. Then add the sauce and enjoy your meal.
Change Up the Bread
If you tend to enjoy a good sandwich, but are bored of the same old thing every time, why not try changing out the bread you use? Instead of plain white sandwich bread, wrap your filling in a piece of flatbread. Spread your favourite topping on wholemeal bread or pop some lunch meat into a delicious roll.
Watch out for new varieties of bread and try them all. Egg salad and tomatoes may not be that exciting on regular bread, but put it on a pretzel roll and you have something amazing.
Try Breakfast for Lunch
There are no rules about what is permitted for lunch or breakfast, etc. so why not enjoy your meal? If you like breakfast burritos, make one up and enjoy it midday. Waffles and pancakes can be heated at work and syrup or your preferred topping added later.
For those who rarely take the time to eat breakfast, this can be a good way to enjoy those tasty breakfast foods, so go ahead and make it a part of your day. You’ll also find that breakfast sandwiches make wonderful lunches, so grab a crumpet and spread it with butter, then add your favourite items such as sausage or egg and veg, then enjoy it for your meal.
Muffin Cup Meals
A simple muffin tin can be the perfect meal planning tool if you’re willing to get creative. Instead of using it just for making muffins, try creating muffin shaped meals. For example:
Meatloaf: Mix up your standard mince and spices, then press into a muffin tin and bake to create little meatloaves that will go nicely with a salad.
Quiches: A simple quiche can be divided between muffin tins to create fast, delicious meals that you can take with you.
Meat pies: It’s easy to make mini meat pies by lining each muffin cup with filo pastry and then filling with your favourite filling.
Frittata: With some grated potatoes, cheese and egg, you can whip up mini frittatas that fit in your lunch box perfectly.
Omelettes: Beat an egg and drop it into the muffin cup, then add ham, chopped herbs, and any veg you might enjoy. Top with cheese and bake until set for a fast omelette meal.
Noodle cups: Leftover pasta can be mixed with egg and cheese and packed into muffin cups, then baked. The end result is a side dish that is crispy on top and smooth in the middle.
Corn muffins: Mix up your cornbread as usual and then pour into the muffin cups. Drop in bits of sausage, ham, or whatever you desire, then bake to create delicious muffins that will fill your stomach when you’re at work or school.
Make a Buddha Bowl
A very quick and easy way to ensure you’re eating a nutritious lunch and something different every day is to prepare a Buddha bowl. This is simply done by planning ahead and preparing food on Sunday.
Proteins: Tofu, chicken, beef, seitan, sausage, mince, or others.
Grains: Brown rice, quinoa, pasta, etc.
Vegetables: Cooked or raw, shredded, chopped, etc.
Nuts and seeds: Have a variety of these available.
Sauces: Aim to have 2-3 different sauces for your meals so you can vary things.
To prepare your lunch, you simply get out your container and add 1/3 grain, 1/3 protein, and 1/3 veg. Top with nuts or seeds and a sauce of your choice, then take it to work with you. If you prepare a few different choices of each ingredient, you can eat something different every day of the week without getting bored.
There are so many ways to make your pack up more interesting. There’s no need to settle for the same old sandwich every day. However, quality does matter, so make sure that you are preparing food that will be absolutely delicious when you eat it. There’s no reason to skimp on flavour, since this will only have you turning to a takeaway for your meals.
Are you looking for high quality food products that will go well in your meal prepping? Freshways offer some of the top food products and brands in the country, including cheeses, eggs, yoghurt and much more. Contact us today to find out more.