Guest Blog by Vita Bayley
Packed lunches are something I make for my partner to take to work, and used to regularly cause arguments as he was (or should I say IS) terribly fussy. He would prefer to pop into a shop and pick up an overpriced sandwich in masses of packaging, or eat a micro waved sausage roll than contend with a packed lunch which he thought looked 'healthy' or involved trying something 'new'. So here's how we compromised, made his lunches healthy, interesting and saved money too!
I started off just making sandwiches, but he rapidly got bored of these, in spite of my attempts at different fillings! So I decided to invest in some decent plastic tubs in a variety of sizes, so I could dispose of clingfilm and sandwich bags and be able to be flexible with exactly what I packed for his lunches.
I started to work on the principle that variety to his lunches was the answer, if he had small portions of a lot of things, he'd eat them all. (If I'm honest I got the idea from having to serve my toddler his lunch in an ice-cube tray with different foods in each bit of the ice tray and suddenly he'd eat meat and vegetables!).
I try to imagine each packed lunch as a mini picnic, and think about what I'd like to find in my picnic basket! It may sound silly but it really helps when you are lacking inspiration! I also have a list of successful lunches which I refer to - though don't tell anyone or it'll spoil my image amongst Mr G's work colleagues as a domestic goddess!
Fritatta works really well for lunches, as it is really filling and easy to eat. If you cook a few extra vegetables when you do your main meal, you have done half the work, it will keep a day or two in the fridge too! It is essentially just as simple as making an omelette, but with a lot more in it and you don't fold it over! It works well when you're trying to sneak extra vegetables into someone’s diet and unless you add lots of cheese or meat it is very healthy!
I would love to say I batch bake, and in an ideal world I would, but I simply don't have the time! Instead I will make a cake once a week and a slice will be included until it is gone! Then I will either add krispie cakes (my toddler loves making these so therefore making them entertains him and feeds Daddy!) or instead I will add a yogurt or some crisps.
Here are some of the lunches which I have found popular with Mr G!
Packed Lunch 1 (normally on a Monday!):
Chicken & Sweetcorn Pasta (Home made using chicken from Sunday Roast, mixed with mayonnaise & sweetcorn)
Cheese Biscuits with 2 or 3 thin slices of mature cheese.
Apple Rings (peel & core the apple squirt with lemon juice to prevent browning)
Chocolate krispie cake (Easy to make & yummy!)
Packed Lunch 2:
Houmous, mini bread sticks & carrot sticks (slice them yourself - it's cheaper and cover with lemon juice to preserve!)
Fritatta (using up any old vegetables & seasoned with herbs De Provence!)
Packed Lunch 3 - This one works very well as by serving the bits separately it makes lunch more like a ploughman's than a "cheese roll" (which he perceives as 'dull') and it is incredibly simple.
Apple sliced into quarters
Baby Sweetcorn (cooked!)
Slice of Banana Loaf (or other cake!)