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10 wonderful packed lunch meals you can make at home


Lunch is, quite simply, the highlight of the work day. We start looking forward to it from the moment we get into the office, and as the morning fades away, having a delicious, filling meal coming up keeps morale high.

But grabbing a sandwich from your local cafe or branch of Pret a Manger every day can get pricey, so having a few packed lunch recipes up your sleeve is vital if you're on a budget. To make sure you don't get tired of eating the same old homemade sandwich or leftovers from the night before, we've rounded up some of the best packed lunch recipes on the internet - all of which can be put together quickly and easily at home.

If you're planning on transforming your packed lunches, a change in your tupperware might be a good start. If you're planning on heating up food, a microwave safe box is a must, for avoiding germs and making sure the food will reheat evenly and quickly. A tiffin carrier will keep a heated meal warm for a few hours, and the different layers mean you can keep different components of your meal separate before eating, or a bento box style lunchbox allows you to keep snacks, mains and dessert without the different flavours mixing.

Chickpea quickpea salad

Image: mittenmachen.com, via Pinterest

Packing your lunch into a tiffin means you can keep the flavours separate and mix them up when it comes to lunchtime, which (sort of) gives you a sense of cooking in the office, ultimately making lunch more satisfying. This chickpea salad is eaten with celery, but keeping it separate means it's still fresh when you come to eat it. Plus you can keep different courses in different layers.

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Best for a: tiffin lunchbox

Find a recipe here

Pea and mint glamwiches

Image: timetocookonline.com, via Pinterest

Sandwiches don't have to be boring and samey. Delicious fillings like pea and mint houmous and goats’ cheese make them healthier – almost like a salad, but a lot more filling (and easier to pack). They look beautiful too.

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Best for a: traditional lunchbox or tupperware

Find a recipe here

Italian salad in a mason jar

Image: newlyweds-blog.com, via Pinterest

There is a serious trend for salads in glass mason jars at the moment. If you make the dressing at the bottom of the jar, add the slowest perishing ingredient on top and stack until the leaves are on the top, your salads can stay fresh for days. When you're ready to eat, just tip the jar upside down for an even distribution of dressing. Beautiful, simple salads in an instant.

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Best for a: mason jar

Find a recipe here

Pumpkin and quinoa salad

Image: mydarlinglemonthyme.com, via Pinterest

Salads made from quinoa, bulgur wheat or couscous are a wonderful way to 'cheat' at eating virtuously – they’re full of vegetables but also full of flavour. This one, seasoned with mint and lime, is refreshingly healthy tasting, and the pumpkin can be substituted out for butternut squash if you prefer.

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Best for a: traditional lunchbox or tupperware

Find a recipe here

Pasta in a mason jar

Image: skinnyjns4me.blogspot.co.uk, via Pinterest

If you're trying to bring in lunch every day, leftovers are an obvious choice. But in the case of pasta, it has usually dried out by the following day and any sauce or accompaniments won't taste as good either. Let a mason jar be your saviour. The screw-top glass jar will seal in the freshness of a sauce, so you can either pour it out and reheat or enjoy cold.

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Best for a: mason jar

Find a recipe here

Pitta bread pizza

Image: yummaystufftumblr.com, via Pinterest

This is definitely a lunch that you can put together in a rush if you don't have much time in the mornings. Simply grab a pitta bread, some cheese and any choice of toppings, drizzle a small bit of olive oil, and ta-dah! The appeal of a pizza will be something you're looking forward to all morning, but it's not quite as indulgent as getting a ‘real’ pizza. Delicious.

Preparation time: 2 minutes

Best for a: tiffin lunchbox

Find a recipe here

Roast beef salad

Image: thehealthyfoodie.com, via Pinterest

Sunday roast leftovers are possibly our favourite leftover option to bring in for lunch, but why not shake it up a bit? Instead of trying to reheat your meal (let’s face it, it never tastes quite the same), mix the meat into a salad, adding extras like goats’ cheese and mushrooms for the taste of a hearty dinner in your lunchbox.

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Best for a: traditional lunchbox or tupperware

Find a recipe here

Chipotle chilli

Image: cookieandkate.com, via Pinterest

Chill is one of those dishes that can be enjoyed hot or cold, and this hearty vegetarian one is delicious as a lunch option with the addition of fresh avocados. Make some for dinner then keep extra for the next day. If you have a tiffin, pack some tortilla chips in the top to dip in.

Preparation time: 1 hour as a main dish, 5 minutes to assemble as leftovers

Best for a: tiffin lunchbox

Find a recipe here

Layered bean salad

Image: theviewfromgreatisland.com, via Pinterest

Mason jars make everything look more appealing. This bean salad, for instance, will taste just as delicious when you mix up the beans, but arranging them in layers before diving in with your fork means you can admire your lunch on your desk all morning before tucking in at lunch when it's still fresh thanks to the glass jar.

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Best for a: mason jar

Find a recipe here

Mini fritattas

Image: ohsweetday.com, via Pinterest

A good packed lunch will taste good whether you have the option to heat it up or not, and these mini fritattas are a perfect example. Delicious accompanied by a simple green salad, whether eaten hot or cold there's not much to dislike. Best of all, they're very simple to make in bulk if you repurpose a muffin tray, and can be frozen for up to a month.

Preparation time: 25 minutes

Best for a: traditional lunchbox or tiffin lunchbox

Find a recipe here



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