It’s Pack Your Lunch Day on March 10th and if you don’t already take your own to work each day, then this is a great time to try. There are so many options when you take your own food and the good news is it’s cheaper than buying a take-out – and in most cases healthier too!
“It’s certainly true that once you get into the habit of taking your own lunch getting organized gets easier and you fall into a routine easily,” says Caroline Hartley from The Happy Food Kitchen. “Making your own is so much cheaper, you are likely to spend half – or less – if you bring your own meals in. And if you are sticking to a certain diet it’s much easier to stay on plan as you know exactly what is in your dish. Plus you won’t get distracted and buy up those little extras like a juice shot or little treat bar, all of which can really add up when it comes to your bank balance and your waistline.”
There are plenty of options for a quick and easy packed lunch which go beyond the realms of a sandwich and bag of crisps. “Meal prep can make grabbing a lunch in the morning quicker than queuing up somewhere leaving you more time in your lunch break for something more fun!” says Caroline. “Think about making a large hearty salad on a Sunday and ringing the changes with a different topping over the next few days. It’s also worth having a stash of homemade soups and pastas in the freezer if you have access to a microwave in the workplace. If not you can always heat them just before you leave home and pop them in a Thermos bowl.”
As long as you have spill-free containers if you have access to a microwave to reheat food then leftovers have just become your new main course! “Make double of meals like curries, stir fry and pastas to reheat the next day. It will save you time cooking plus mean you can buy bigger bags of veggies and other foods which commonly work out cheaper,” suggests Caroline. “You will quickly get used to it and be the envy of the office when they are opening their overpriced sandwich and you are tucking into something delicious!”
If a hot lunch or salad isn’t for you then homemade quiche is easier than you think and lasts a few days. Sandwiches can be super charged and meals like vegetables with a couple of dips or a selection of cheese and crackers are quick to pull together and tasty too. Why not try these easy recipes from The Happy Food Kitchen to start you on your journey to lunch queue freedom!
250g Freekeh and Quinoa mix cooked according to the pack instructions with a vegetable stock cube for more flavour
100g mixed seeds
40g pine nuts
a large handful of finely chopped parsley
a large handful of finely chopped coriander
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
While the grains are cooking toast the seeds and pine nuts in a small frying pan until they start to pop a little.
Combine the grains, seeds and herbs in a large bowl.
Pour over the oil and lemon juice and combine.
Serve with a protein of your choice e.g. feta cubes, shredded chicken, poached salmon…
3 large carrots, peeled
1 large shallot, peeled
1 can of coconut milk
3 teaspoons Thai green curry paste
1 teaspoon vegetable bouillon
Chop the carrots and shallots into small pieces.
Place in a small saucepan with the coconut milk, water, bouillon and curry paste.
Stir well and bring to the boil then reduce to a low temperature, cover and simmer until the carrots are soft, around 10mins.
Remove from heat and cool if needs be before blitzing in a blender until completely smooth and adjust thickness with a little water to taste.
This soup can be frozen in portions and reheated later.