The thought of making up a lunch box for work can strike fear into the hearts of even the most committed foodies. Not many of us want to waste an evening cooking up a complicated meal. Unfortunately this means that lots of us default to buying our lunch at work instead, which is dangerous for our wallets, as well as our waistlines!
It doesn’t have to be this way, so we’ve assembled five healthy lunchbox ideas to help – they’re quick to put together, but don’t sacrifice on flavour!
Linguine with avocado, tomato & lime
Pasta is a great staple for a lunchbox – it’s just as delicious cold as it is warmed up, and when paired with the right ingredients, can be genuinely filling without being too heavy. Give this quick, tasty combination a whirl!
115g wholemeal linguine
1 lime, zested and juiced
1 avocado, stoned, peeled, and chopped
2 large ripe tomatoes, chopped
½ pack fresh coriander, chopped
1 red onion, chopped
1 red chilli, deseeded and chopped (optional)
- Cook the pasta according to the pack instructions, which is normally around 10 minutes. Meanwhile, put the lime juice and zest in a medium bowl with the avocado, tomatoes, coriander, onion and chilli (if using) and mix well.
- Drain the pasta, add to the bowl and toss everything together. Then, just pop it in your lunchbox – you can eat it cold, or warm it up in the microwave!
Lentil rice salad with beetroot & feta
Salads don’t have to be boring – by spicing them up with a few simple flavours, you can make a midday treat you’ll actually look forward to. Plus, the addition of brown rice means you won’t have a rumbling stomach come 3pm!
2 beetroot, peeled and cut into wedges
100g baby carrot
2 tbsp sherry vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 small bunch of mint, chopped
Pinch of sugar
250g pouch basmati brown rice
400g can cooked Puy lentils, drained and rinsed
2 tbsp of pre-roasted, chopped hazelnuts
2 tbsp crumbled feta cheese
- Cook the beetroots in a pan of boiling water for 5-6 mins until tender but still with a crunch; add the carrots for the final 2 mins. Whisk together the vinegar, mustard, olive oil, chopped mint and sugar, and season.
- Put the rice and lentils in a bowl. Add the carrots and beetroots, then pour over the dressing and toss to combine. Transfer to your lunchbox and sprinkle over the hazelnuts, feta and mint leaves.
Steak & broccoli protein pot
Protein pots are commonly associated with weight trainers, but they actually make great lunches, thanks to their balance of protein, veg, and complex carbohydrates. This one has a nice twist thanks to the sushi ginger, and can be rustled up in less than 20 minutes: a perfect weekday pick-me-up!
250g pack microwavable wholegrain rice
2 tbsp pickled ginger slices
4 spring onions, the green part finely chopped, the white halved lengthways and cut into lengths
160g broccoli florets, cut into bite-sized pieces
225g lean fat-trimmed fillet steak
- Tip the rice into a bowl, and mix with the ginger, chopped onion greens and 4 tbsp water. Add the broccoli and the spring onion whites, but keep the onions together, on top. Cover with cling film, pierce with the tip of a knife and microwave for 5 mins.
- Meanwhile heat a non-stick frying pan and sear the steak for 2 mins each side, then set aside. Take the onion whites from the bowl and add to the pan so they char a little in the meat juices while the steak rests.
- Tip the rice mixture into 2 large packed lunch pots. Slice the steak, pile the charred onions on top and seal until you’re ready to eat.
Tuna lettuce wraps
We know what you’re thinking, but we promise this is no run-of-the-mill tuna mayo sandwich. The avocado mayo and fresh tuna steaks really up the ante, and by switching tortillas for lettuce, the calorie count is well below the 400 mark!
2 drops rapeseed oil, for brushing
2 x 140g fresh tuna fillets, defrosted
1 ripe avocado
½ tsp English mustard powder
1 tsp cider vinegar
1 tbsp capers
8 romaine lettuce leaves
16 cherry tomatoes, halved
- Brush the tuna with a little oil. Heat a non-stick pan, add the tuna and cook for 1 min each side, or a min or so longer for a thicker fillet. Transfer to a plate to rest.
- Halve and stone the avocado and scoop the flesh into a small bowl. Add the mustard powder and vinegar, then mash well so that the mixture is smooth like mayonnaise. Stir in the capers.
- Slice the tuna (it should be slightly pink inside). Spoon some ‘mayo’ on the lettuce leaves and top with tuna and cherry tomatoes and a few extra capers. Then, roll up into little wraps.
Stuffed Moroccan pitta
If you’re really short on time, these filling pittas can be whipped up in less than five minutes – just pick up ready-made falafels and hummus, and you’re good to go!
2 wheat-free pitta bread pockets
4 falafels, halved
4 tbsp morrocan hummus
½ red pepper, deseeded and sliced
1 handful of rocket leaves
- Spread the hummus on the inside of each pitta, then layer with the falafels, pepper and rocket. Voila!