25 March 2008

How to make a healthy packed lunch

A lunch sits on a blue tablecloth with a brown...Image via Wikipedia If the idea of taking your own lunch to work sounds dull, boring and a bit like hard work then think again. It doesn't have to be soggy tomato sandwiches and a banana every day (unless that's what you like!!). Here are some ideas to help you get creative with your lunches.

To make sure your packed lunch is a healthy one, make sure you include something from all the groups below - and make sure to mix it up a little so you don't get bored.

Breads and Cereals
Bread - ciabatta, panini, pita pockets, wraps, buns
Muffins or Scones
Pasta or Rice Salad

Fruit & Vege
Fruit - fresh, raw, stewed, dried
Vege sticks - carrots, celery, cucumber

Dairy or Dairy Alternative
Milk or Soy Drinks

Meat or Meat Alternative
Meat - ham, chicken, fish, last nights left over roast meat

Making your own lunch might sound like just one more thing to do in an already busy morning, but there are ways to save time. If you have lunches to prepare for the whole family you can try the assembly line approach - line up all the slices of bread, butter them all, then add fillings. If you have older children they can help you here and save even more time. And kids are more likely to eat something that they helped prepare - or at least have no excuse if they don't like it!!
You could also try making your lunches the night before. You could cook extra dinner and have the left overs for lunch. Or prepare meals such as soup or casseroles in advance and freeze them. Thaw them overnight and you can heat them up at work - or if you don't have facilities to do this, invest in a thermos and simply heat them up in the morning.

You can keep your lunch fresh by taking a frozen drink packed in your lunch box - but be sure to wrap it so it doesn't make your lunch soggy as it thaws. Another way is to use frozen bread - its easier to spread and will be thawed by lunch time.

To spice up the whole packed lunch experience you could organise a 'Packed Lunch Club' with other like-minded work colleagues where you all bring something to share each day. Or try and find a pleasant spot to eat and have a picnic.

For more great packed lunch ideas go to Kiwi Families or FabulousFoods.Com
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