It’s not always easy to come up with new lunch ideas for work. Our intentions often start out well – so well, in fact, that we spend Sunday afternoon whipping up a vast batch of courgetti to parade around the office come Monday lunchtime.
Unfortunately, it’s not easy to keep up that momentum and by Friday we can feel ourselves itching to pop out for an expensive sandwich from the deli next door or – shock horror! – biting into a burger from our favourite fast food joint.
While there’s nothing wrong with a bit of indulgence every now and then, regularly buying your lunches instead of making them at home can be bad for your bank balance as well as your wellbeing. A veg-packed wrap from the local sandwich chain might seem virtuous, but it’s likely to carry more salt and fat than if you whipped up something similar at home – and it will cost 10 times more.
If you’re looking to get your weekday lunches on track, you’re in luck – we’ve got a bunch of easy, tasty and nutritious packed lunch ideas coming your way.
Peanut butter sandwiches & an apple
Ah, the humble peanut butter sandwich. Not only is this playground staple incredibly easy to whip up (making it one of our favourite easy lunch ideas), it’s also a good source of protein and starch. For maximum benefit, use wholegrain bread and pair with an apple, keeping the skin on if you want to boost your fibre intake.
Wholewheat spaghetti with pesto & salad
If you’re concerned about weight management, you might have it in your head that pasta is to be avoided at all costs – but that’s not the case! Just aim for a controlled portion size and always balance out your plate (or lunchbox) with lots of veg. Wholewheat options are also fantastic for getting more fibre.
When prepping this lunch, cook your spaghetti the night before so you can box it up quickly the following morning. And instead of dressing the salad at home (by lunchtime it’ll be soggier than a British summer), keep a bottle of salad dressing in the fridge at work. For maximum co-worker jealousy, stash bottles of oil and vinegar in your desk and whip up your vinaigrette fresh.
Feta & quinoa salad with avocado
Quinoa might have a hipster reputation, but it’s the real deal when it comes to nutrition, and a great alternative for people who can’t eat gluten. Prep this lunch the night before by cooking your quinoa and stashing it in the fridge. The next morning, cut up feta and any veg you have to hand – cucumber, cherry tomatoes and fresh herbs work well – and throw it in your lunchbox.
Come lunchtime, you can slice up your avocado and drizzle over a little dressing. You’ll have the hippest (and tastiest) lunch in the whole office.
Wholemeal pitta with tuna & a banana
When you’re running late for work and trying to pull together your lunch, the last thing you want to do is open a tin of tuna and spill brine down your freshly ironed shirt. Instead, whip up a batch of tuna mayo the night before and throw it in the fridge. The next morning you can pull together a tuna pitta, grab a banana (the ideal “afternoon slump” snack) and be out the door in a matter of seconds.
Cheese & crackers, crudités, yoghurt & a sweet treat
Not all of us are good at eating three square meals a day – in fact, given the choice, we’d rather get our calories from snacking.
If you’re a dedicated nibbler, buy a lunchbox with compartments and load it up with nutritious, delicious little snacks that you can consume over the course of the day. Go for fresh veg like carrots, cucumber, tomato and celery, wholemeal crackers and cheese, and sweet treats like a Fibre One Lemon Drizzle Bar or Chocolate Fudge Brownie. Other options include rice cakes, dried fruit & nuts, yoghurt and fresh fruit like grapes and apple slices.
Once you’ve pulled together a list of your favourite quick lunch ideas, you’ll be the envy of your office. That’s why we recommend bringing in the odd pack of choccie biscuits to share around…bribery gets you everywhere, you know.