A lot of us are trying to save a little money these days and tighten our belts – and what better way to do that than cutting down on the money we spend on our lunches on a daily basis? Whether you’d like to cut down on your own lunch costs or provide more exciting lunches for your kids every day at school, here are a few tips on how you can brighten up those packed lunches…
Ditch The Formulaic Lunches
Think about the lunch bags that you had as a kid, and there will probably be a distinct formula in your mind of what used to be in there: sandwich, juice carton, piece of fruit, packet of potato chips, sweet treat. It’s time to ditch what packed lunches used to be, and get a little more creative. Go for a savory muffin that contains cheese, spinach and ham instead of a sandwich, and make sure that you include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. That doesn’t just have to be an apple or banana – a handful of mixed berries like raspberries, strawberries and blueberries tastes great and is incredibly nutritious too. You could also consider taking in a little tub of hummus along with sliced vegetables like cucumbers, carrots and celery, for something that tastes great, adds plenty of nutrients to your diet, and looks good too.
Go For Colorful Containers
If you’re the sort of person who loves a great aesthetic, or you’re trying to tempt your kids into eating more, then it’s a good idea to think about the packaging of your lunch – after all, it isn’t just about what’s on the inside! If you want to take soup to work with you, make sure that you have a good quality insulated flask that won’t leak so that your soup will stay piping hot until lunch time. Bento boxes that mean you can separate your kids’ food into different sections will tempt the fussiest eaters into trying everything at lunch time, and thermal lunch boxes will mean that you can make yourself a nutritious meal in the morning which will still be hot by the time lunch time rolls around.
Use All The Food Groups
It’s important to make sure that in your packed lunch, you include all the food groups. Although it might be difficult to think of how exactly to do that, the truth is that it’s a lot easier than you might assume. A chicken salad sandwich can provide protein and carbohydrates (and fibre if the bread is wholewheat!), and a yoghurt can provide some fats. It’s a good idea to mix these up when possible – go for some cheese for protein and fat, a whole wheat pita instead of normal bread for fibre and carbs, a handful of granola and plain yoghurt for a sweet treat, and so on. Leftovers can also work wonders – cold chicken goujons can be delicious the day after, and you could also make pasta salad out of leftovers. Potato tortilla can also taste great and provide a lot of nutrients.