How to make delicious and healthy packed lunches
Whether you opt for sandwiches or other tasty snacks, here is our guide for making delicious and healthy packed lunches that will make you savour every bite
Try to make packed lunches that are not only nutritious but also colourful and fun to eat—suitable for public scrutiny (or peer group pressure, in the case of children) and as original and varied as possible. A tall order? Not at all: read this!
Tips for successful sandwiches
It is amazing what you can pack between two slices of bread, and how nourishing and satisfying a sandwich can be. Whether you make your own or buy it, there is an endless variety of breads and sandwich fillings to choose from.
- If buttering the bread, soften the butter first so it is easier to spread thinly and sparingly
- To prevent soggy sandwiches, rather than buttering the bread, put lettuce leaves between the filling and the bread
- To add extra flavour and moisture, instead of butter or mayonnaise, try a sprinkling of balsamic vinegar, soy sauce or lemon juice, or spread the bread with a salsa or fruity chutney
Tasty filling ideas
Sandwiches can make a great receptacle for leftovers, such as roast or grilled meat or poultry, poached fish, grilled vegetables, and so on, or you can use pantry standbys such as canned fish and vegetables.
"Sandwiches can provide a great receptacle for any kitchen leftovers"
Here are just a few of the fillings you can try:
- Canned tuna (in spring water), canned corn kernels, green olives or capers, and low-fat cream cheese, plus crunchy leaves such as cos or little gem lettuce
- Sliced or mashed avocado and smoked salmon or trout (or cottage cheese) sprinkled with lime juice and black pepper, plus watercress or oakleaf lettuce leaves
- Tapenade (black olive pâté), sliced hard-boiled egg and sprigs of watercress
Sandwiches may be the ultimate portable meal, but there are plenty of other options that are easy to pack in a lunchbox and just as satisfying to eat. When planning a packed lunch, choose foods that will travel well, and include a drink, preferably something simple such as water or fruit juice, unless you can buy this. Don’t forget to include a fork and spoon, if necessary, plus a serviette.
"When planning a packed lunch, choose foods that will travel well"
It’s important to observe good hygiene when preparing packed lunches, particularly for children. Cut food on a clean board with clean knives, and keep all foods well-chilled before packing, especially those that are susceptible to food poisoning bacteria (e.g., meat, fish, eggs, poultry and dairy products).
Packing good things
Here are a few tempting ideas to inspire you and end the days of boring lunches.
- A wedge of Spanish omelette or frittata packed with potato, capsicum strips, cherry tomatoes and radishes
- A baked chicken leg or thigh with homemade coleslaw and a crusty bread roll
- Tabouleh (salad of burghul, diced tomato, cucumber, fresh herbs and lemon juice) topped with poached or grilled salmon or chicken
- Smoked mackerel dip with vegetable and fruit crudités and oatcakes, crispbread or a wholemeal roll
- Mixed bean salad topped with canned tuna, with breadsticks, ciabatta or pita bread
- Rice salad with smoked fish, chopped orange and mixed vegetables
- Pasta salad with lightly cooked broccoli, sun-dried tomatoes, olives and a little cubed mozzarella
- Beefsteak tomatoes filled with chopped cooked prawns and cottage cheese
- New potato salad with pickled herrings, apple, cucumber and red onion
- Falafel, eaten cold with eggplant and apricot couscous salad
- A selection of offerings from the deli, such as prosciutto, olives, fetta and fresh bread
Banner photo: Our tips on how to make healthy and delicious packed lunches (credit: Ella Olsson (Unsplash))
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