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    • Cantisque
    • By Cantisque 13th Mar 17, 3:08 PM
    • 5Posts
    • 5Thanks
    Affordable, easy lunches to take to work?
    • #1
    • 13th Mar 17, 3:08 PM
    Affordable, easy lunches to take to work? 13th Mar 17 at 3:08 PM
    So right now I've hit rock bottom with my reluctance to prepare lunches and am just taking a couple of cereal bars to work. As you might be able to guess, these don't really keep me full for the entire afternoon so I was wondering if anyone else had any recommendations for work lunches that meet the following criteria:
    • Quick to prepare with minimal mess to clean up
    • Doesn't result in most of it getting thrown out as it hits the expiry date (am living alone, so multiple bags of fresh veg are a bad idea)
    • Cheap and easy to store (not too fussed about the quality or nutritional value, to some extent). That also means, not too many ingredients that I need to constantly keep on top of the expiry dates for.
    I am sort of leaning toward taking hot soup in a thermos but I usually like to have that for dinner often as well and don't want to get sick of it too quickly.
Page 1
    • MrsLurcherwalker
    • By MrsLurcherwalker 13th Mar 17, 4:03 PM
    • 11,680 Posts
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    • #2
    • 13th Mar 17, 4:03 PM
    • #2
    • 13th Mar 17, 4:03 PM
    The easiest fairly filling lunch is a chunk of cheese, a couple of good sized eating apples, a couple of hard boiled eggs and a nice hunk of bread. You can add in tomatoes, spring onions, a jar of pickle, pickled onions and things of that sort for variety but as a basis for a sustaining lunch the basics will take no more prep than hard boiling the eggs and cutting a hunk of cheese. Hard boiled eggs can be cooked ahead and will keep for a good week in the fridge at home. If you want something sweet to finish with a handful of dried fruit (I love medjool dates) and handful of nuts will fill up the corners.
    Thumpers mum was right - if you can't find anything nice to say don't say anything at all!
    • moneyistooshorttomention
    • By moneyistooshorttomention 13th Mar 17, 4:06 PM
    • 15,615 Posts
    • 43,339 Thanks
    • #3
    • 13th Mar 17, 4:06 PM
    • #3
    • 13th Mar 17, 4:06 PM
    No reason not to have healthy type cereals - eg healthy type muesli or granola and fruit and yogurt with it. Fill up on some decent type bread.

    Maybe overnight oats - google will bring up lots of ideas on that.
    Like Frankie said - I did it my way.
    It's MY life......
    • Ginmonster
    • By Ginmonster 13th Mar 17, 4:15 PM
    • 305 Posts
    • 4,038 Thanks
    • #4
    • 13th Mar 17, 4:15 PM
    • #4
    • 13th Mar 17, 4:15 PM
    I guess it depends what kind of facilities you have at work. If you have access to a microwave then I'd just make too much dinner the night before and take leftovers in for lunch. If you have a freezer at home and some plastic food boxes you can make 3 or 4 portions at a time and bung some in the freezer for future meals. That's what I do and as I don't ever label my frozen food it's quite often a total surprise what I get to eat.

    If you just have access to a kettle then you could take a cheapo packet of Chinese-style noodles and a little pot of whatever frozen veg you like (peas, sweetcorn, soya beans, mixed veg) and add it into the bowl when you add the hot water. If you've got some nuts or seeds you could sprinkle a few on top as well if you like.

    Leftover pasta from the night before would be fine cold the next day as long as it's not got too much sauce, ditto home made stir fries with noodles or fried rice for that matter. Only do the rice one if you have a fridge at work though. Rice that is allowed to warm up for too long can give you food poisoning.

    How about a pot of hummus & some carrot/ pepper / bread sticks to dip in?

    And there are always sandwiches...
    • elsien
    • By elsien 13th Mar 17, 4:22 PM
    • 16,376 Posts
    • 41,404 Thanks
    • #5
    • 13th Mar 17, 4:22 PM
    • #5
    • 13th Mar 17, 4:22 PM
    Bean salad - tin of mixed pulses or cannelini type beans, tinned tuna, celery, a couple (or more) of chopped hard boiled eggs, parsley, bit of lemon juice or oil depending on what your tuna is in. Takes a few minutes. Does for two days.
    Bit of fruit on the side if you want a bit more.

    You can make sandwiches the night before. I like a BLT but you can cook the bacon in kitchen roll in the microwave so no washing up.
    Last edited by elsien; 13-03-2017 at 4:24 PM.
    All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

    Pedant alert - it's could have, not could of.
    • Prinzessilein
    • By Prinzessilein 13th Mar 17, 4:23 PM
    • 2,272 Posts
    • 10,553 Thanks
    • #6
    • 13th Mar 17, 4:23 PM
    • #6
    • 13th Mar 17, 4:23 PM
    Put some dried couscous into a lidded bowl, add some herbs and spices. close the another bowl put some finely shredded raw veg (carrots, courgettes, onions, leeks...whatever you like and have handy) lunchtime add the veggies to the dried couscous and cover with boiling water from a kettle...stir, cover and leave for about 5 minutes for the couscous to absorb the water - the heat will 'cook' the make it more filling add your choice of protein...some chopped ham or chicken or some tinned beans/pulses.
    • PasturesNew
    • By PasturesNew 13th Mar 17, 5:47 PM
    • 62,479 Posts
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    • #7
    • 13th Mar 17, 5:47 PM
    • #7
    • 13th Mar 17, 5:47 PM
    A bunch of, say, 5 bananas is a standby - 1/day. They cost about 12p each and you can feel virtuous as you "had fruit".

    Cheese sandwiches, keep it simple, freeze them individually and grab one each morning; if you don't eat it one day it'll still be good the following day and there's no need to get a new one out that morning.

    DIY pot noodles.

    Cup a soups - I bought a pack of 4 for 20p the other week from a supermarket (might be Asda).
    • katie_saver
    • By katie_saver 14th Mar 17, 3:47 PM
    • 134 Posts
    • 111 Thanks
    • #8
    • 14th Mar 17, 3:47 PM
    • #8
    • 14th Mar 17, 3:47 PM
    The bean salad lunch is delicious and very simple. Most supermarkets do tinned mixed bean salad (s'bury 60p) does for 2 lunches comes in a lovely vinagrette - then choose whatever you have left to add to it - prawns, checken, ham. I added ice berg lettuce to mine - bit of lemon very tasty and healthy. Part of your 5 a day too :-)
    • Flat Eric
    • By Flat Eric 14th Mar 17, 4:58 PM
    • 3,958 Posts
    • 23,877 Thanks
    Flat Eric
    • #9
    • 14th Mar 17, 4:58 PM
    • #9
    • 14th Mar 17, 4:58 PM
    My favourite stand by no prep lunch is crackers cheese pickled onions

    • Carmk2008
    • By Carmk2008 14th Mar 17, 5:36 PM
    • 157 Posts
    • 48 Thanks
    Chilli cheese wrap, good hot or cold I have them cold regularly.
    • VfM4meplse
    • By VfM4meplse 14th Mar 17, 5:51 PM
    • 25,631 Posts
    • 54,356 Thanks
    A bunch of, say, 5 bananas is a standby - 1/day. They cost about 12p each and you can feel virtuous as you "had fruit".
    Originally posted by PasturesNew
    11p if you shop at Aldi

    If it's just something filling you want OP, make up some bulgar wheat when you make a cup of tea the night before. Stir a spoon of pesto through it and volią. If you want a portion of veg with it, add frozen peas to it before you add the boiling water.

    "No man is worth, crawling on the earth"- adapted from Bob Crewe and Bob Gaudio

    Hope is not a strategy ...A child is for life, not just 18 years....Don't get me started on the NHS, because you won't win...If in doubt, don't pull out... I love chaz-ing!
    • PasturesNew
    • By PasturesNew 14th Mar 17, 6:25 PM
    • 62,479 Posts
    • 365,930 Thanks
    11p if you shop at Aldi
    Originally posted by VfM4meplse
    Depends if you prefer a biggun missus

    They're sold by weight in L1d1, which is where I get mine.
    • Nicki
    • By Nicki 14th Mar 17, 8:36 PM
    • 7,739 Posts
    • 27,657 Thanks
    How about you buy a selection from quiche, scorch eggs, cocktail sausages, sausage rolls, cooked chicken drumsticks, cheese, bread rolls and a bagged salad. You can store the bread rolls in the freezer and take one out daily and it will have defrosted by lunchtime and still be fresh. The bagged salad should last 2-3 days. Each morning take a selection of the protein elements which appeal to you and anything getting close to its use by date you can eat as an easy evening meal with a baked potato.
    • trailingspouse
    • By trailingspouse 14th Mar 17, 8:37 PM
    • 2,680 Posts
    • 4,342 Thanks
    Always put your lunch together the night before - you have a bit more time, so you won't just grab the firs thing you come to as you rush out the door.

    How about a lunchbox filled with salad - a bag of Bistro salad should last 5 days (I don't know why this one seems to keep better than the others, but it does), with your choice of tomatoes, cucumber, spring onions, cheese, ham, avocado, beetroot, egg, nuts, whatever you fancy.

    Alternatively, you don't need to have the same thing every day - have salad one day, soup another, sandwiches another, a ready meal another, and bought sandwiches on a Friday?
    • MoaningMyrtle
    • By MoaningMyrtle 14th Mar 17, 9:24 PM
    • 1,932 Posts
    • 3,019 Thanks
    Oatcakes, humous and carrot sticks is a good lunch. I sometimes make a fruit salad and that lasts a couple of days.
    A minute at the till, a lifetime on the bill.

    Nothing tastes as good as being slim feels.

    one life, live it!
    • Pop Up Pirate
    • By Pop Up Pirate 15th Mar 17, 6:56 AM
    • 680 Posts
    • 1,839 Thanks
    Pop Up Pirate
    Do you want healthy lunches, or just quick and easy lunches?

    I wouldn't want to compromise on health, so I'd probably take good quality meat of some sort, pre cooked, with a salad made from fresh ingredients smothered in HM olive oil dressing.
    The olive oil will keep hunger at bay, so no need for empty carbs.
    But, you will need some veggies and they do go off.

    Alternatively, I would have healthy dinners and always make enough to take some with me for lunch the next day.

    If you want quick and easy and health isn't your priority then go for the empty carbs and pre-packaged stuff.
    • Datchet
    • By Datchet 20th Mar 17, 3:40 AM
    • 75 Posts
    • 477 Thanks
    My recent packed lunch post
    Fellow Tight-Wads ( that's meant as a compliment...)

    I could do with some new packed lunch ideas! I deeply resent having to fork out the thick end of a "bluey" ie £5, to buy a mediocre sarnie and drink at lunch. Also, the food is often too salty, unhealthy, not that fresh - and the waste in packaging is bad.

    So I take in a variety of packed lunches & Sometimes Breakfast also. Some of my Favorites are:

    If office based:
    1. Tin of (35p) sardines, slices of bread to toast & salad box.
    2. Frozen tupperware of soup, bread & fruit salad
    3. Breakfast - Homegrown Rhubarb with stem ginger + syrup! yum
    4. Cheapex Instant Noodles with tub of chopped veg to fill it out

    If Mobile in car or train:
    3. Pasta / cous cous tuna salad
    4. Homemade bread sarnie - Hommus and tomato /cheese / ham

    I have a variety of boxes, from Aldi clip boxes, screw top tubes, soup pots, breakfast pots & a Japanese Bento Box.

    Any ideas? tell me your favourites

    Happy Munching
    "Is it that the future is so uncertain, the present so traumatic that we find the past so secure? " Spike Milligan
    • Spendless
    • By Spendless 20th Mar 17, 8:39 AM
    • 20,142 Posts
    • 33,332 Thanks
    Items that you just pick up and throw into a bag would work. Set aside some time on your days off to buy and keep in one place pack up items like this eg crisps, apples, snack bars, cartons of juice. That leaves you with your 'main component' to prepare. Bread rolls instead of sliced bread means you can just rip off one. If everything is together it will take seconds to do this.

    Then decide what filling works the best for you in terms of quickness and cheapness.
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