Lunch at work should be something you look forward to; it's time to take a break, refresh the body and mind, and enjoy eating something delicious. However, if you take the same soggy sandwich for lunch every day, it can quickly become boring and unsatisfying. So, to make life easier, and hopefully save you money, we’ve pulled together some tips to make packing your lunch for work easy. No more soggy sandwiches or overspending at the nearest café.
Plan your week
A bit of time planning out your week on a Sunday, will save you time for the rest of the week and it'll be worth it. First think about what you have on that week at work. Are there lunches you are going out for? Do you have any morning teas at work? And what days are you going to need to bring your lunch from home? This will help you plan your recipes and save you making too much or too little.
Choose your recipes
Now that you know how many lunches you need to pack for the week, it's time to choose what you're going to have.
Plan ahead and do a little prep on Sunday - cook a big batch of one of your favourite recipes. Grab a stack of lunch containers and portion up enough meals for the week ahead. Just make sure you think about how frequently you want to eat that meal. If you have it every day, chances are you'll get sick of it pretty quickly. But you can freeze some and pull them out over the following weeks also. Risottos, stir-frys and mince based dishes are great to cook in batches.
Think about foods that reheat well. Soups and stews are some of the best foods for reheating in the office microwave as they taste as good (sometimes even better) as the day you made them.
Pack foods that can be eaten cold if you know you'll need to grab and go and won't have time to reheat your meal. Stick to vegetable or grain salads, sandwiches orcold pasta.
Leftovers are great and some may say a free lunch! Think how much you'll save eating leftovers for lunch rather than buying it. When you are dishing up for the family, serve yourself some for lunch the next day. Putting it straight into a lunch container means no one can accidently eat it for seconds.
Say no to sogginess
No one wants a soggy salad or sandwich. Pack your dressing separate from your salad, and pack your bread separate from the sandwich fillings. It’s an easy step to take for making sure your lunch tastes fresh.
Pack filling dishes
Don’t find yourself hungry an hour or two after your lunch break. Legumes and grains will help keep your hunger at bay. Pack dishes made with beans, lentils, brown rice, quinoa and other fibre-rich foods.
Don't forget the snacks
Prevent your stomach from grumbling at 10am by packing some snacks to keep you going until lunch and give you some energy when it gets to that 3pm slump. Chopped up fruit and veges are a perfect healthy snack to prep the night before (perhaps with a wee homemade hummus or pesto), or if you have time for some baking at the weekend - muffins, slice and biscuits are a great sweet treat lunch box filler as well.
Make your lunch look fabulous
We eat with our eyes and you certainly want your lunch box to be the envy of your colleagues. This calls for variety, colour, treats and deliciousness. Think of your lunchbox like a Bento Box – in sections that fit a few different items; crackers with cheese in one, your main in another, some fruit and/or a sweet treat.
Make mornings easy
It can be tough enough getting up in the morning, to face a day at work and trying to get everyone out the door. Spending 5 minutes the night before getting your lunch together means you can grab and go in the hectic-ness of weekday mornings.
Remember, planning and preparation is all about being kind to yourself. While it might seem like a chore to do the preparation initially, it will make life easier throughout the week.
Need some inspiration to get your started? Here’s three recipes to try!
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