Need some lunchbox inspiration to brighten up your work or school life? Try these lunchbox tips that will have you eating better every day. Plus take a look at some healthy and delicious lunchbox recipe suggestions!
Some of you know that I'm on Instagram (if not, you can follow me here! :D) and one of my favourite features of Instagram are Instagram stories. Instagram stories are pictures or videos that give you a better look at the real life of the people you follow.
Vegetarian sandwich with beetroot, hummus and avocado with breakfast radishes, cherries, carrots, mandarin, persimmon, Crème Brûlée tart, walnuts and spiced chickpeas
I mostly just do run of the mill things on Instagram stories but the most popular thing that I post is Mr NQN's lunch. People send me the nicest messages about them including marriage proposals (mostly from women). Others just like being inspired by his lunch because they are stuck in a lunchbox rut. So three months ago, encouraged by all of you I started documenting his lunch with a mind to share with you some tips on how to make a fun, easy lunchbox.
[Farmer's Market stuffed sourdough bread](http://www.notquitenigella.com/2018/01/17/stuffed-sourdough-bread/, grapes, carrot sticks, baby corn, cherries, apricot, nectarine, peach, home made peanut butter salted caramels, chocolate truffles and blackberry and pomegranate yogurt
Mr NQN's calorific intake is relatively high - he's a 180cm male who loves sports so his calorie needs are much greater than my lunch would be (152cm female who loves eating, avoids sport and prefers pottering around the kitchen).
Hot dogs in brioche (leftover from another shoot), avocado and cherry tomato salsa, pear, mandarin and Peruvian chocolates
I start his lunchbox with one main savoury item. It's usually a sandwich or a bread item of some sort. In winter, it's likely to be a home made stuffed bread or tart and in summer, it's a sandwich. I also occasionally give him leftovers or salad but the latter doesn't fill him up enough. Next to this are usually some carrot or celery sticks. Sometimes there will be olives, cheese and crackers or a dip. It depends on what I've been making at home really and I don't really buy much specifically for the lunchbox apart from the fruit and main savoury item (sometimes he finds some really strange stuff that I've put in there ;) ). Then there's a range of about 3-4 types of fruit. and then a sweet of some sort. Usually whatever I've baked.
Rare roast beef and avocado on wholemeal bread, slice of lemon cloud cake, pomegranate arils, pear, mandarin and strawberries
There is always a breakfast included because he only has coffee at home in the morning. It's usually Greek yogurt with fruit (fresh or dried) and whatever bits and pieces I happen to have floating about the kitchen. Again, it can be weird.
I make Mr NQN's lunch the day before. I do not get up early to make his lunch because I value my sleep and I'm not that person. Did you know that you can also make a load of sandwiches, wrap them and then freeze the sandwiches? That's a huge timesaver.
Venison bourguignon open galette (leftover venison repurposed for lunch with leftover pastry), grapefruit, pear, strawberries, caramel fudge, walnuts, lemon cloud cake and green Sicilian olives
And if you don't want to use cling wrap, try wax wraps. I've tried them and they're quite good although they're not ideal for sandwiches that have a lot of sauces or dressings on them.
There are a few foods I avoid putting in the lunchbox as they don't keep well. Avoid tomatoes on sandwiches as they make bread soggy - wet or oily items are prone to leaking. Also make sure to butter sandwiches so that the filling doesn't soak through and make the bread wet.
His lunchbox is just a container from the supermarket that isn't airtight but sometimes you need an airtight container. I buy a brand called Lock and Lock and it is absolutely watertight. You can find it online or in really large Asian grocery stores.
Oh and finally, there is a house rule: he has to wash his lunchbox or he doesn't get lunch :)
Leg ham, cheese, baby spinach and chutney sandwich on wholemeal bread, mandarin, pear, strawberries, chocolate coated pretzels and blueberries
Savoury Recipe Ideas:
Sandwiches: I usually make sandwiches in the warmer months. The usual fillings are chicken, avocado and baby spinach; prawn and mayonnaise; roast beef with mustard and rocket or ham with onion jam or tomato chutney and baby spinach.
Mr NQN doesn't have to restrict his diet (it's not fair is it?) but these ideas are in case you want a lighter lunch. Don't forget curries and noodle dishes also do well for lunches if you have access to a microwave.
Beetroot and Feta Bars (GF)
I tend to give these items in the colder months. I also love these because they can be made ahead of time, portioned out and then frozen. And can you tell that I like pastry? ;)
Char Siu Sausage Rolls
Savoury Side Ideas:
Because there is so much fruit I try and balance things with savoury items that he likes. I prefer giving carrots to celery as the latter takes up too much room in the crisper.
- Carrot, cucumber or celery sticks
- Raw baby corn
- Dips and crackers
- Cheese (wedges of cheese or bocconcini)
- Cherry tomatoes
- Kale Chips
Mr NQN eats an abnormal amount of fruit and I don't think most of you would eat this much but there is some fruit that is more convenient for lunchboxes than others.
- Whole fruit is best to pack: stonefruit, grapes, apples, pears, cherries, oranges, bananas (they can be placed in the fridge the day before and won't turn black unless they are overripe)
- Buy fruit small enough to fit in the lunchbox
- Put cut fruit (eg. melon, pineapple) in a airtight container
- Place berries in a small container rather than loose. They're very delicate, particularly raspberries and blueberries. Strawberries and blackberries are a bit hardier.
Healthy Treat Ideas:
There is no shortage of sweet treats on the blog but most people are looking for healthier sweet options so here they are!
Energy Ball Croquembouche
So tell me Dear Reader, do you pack or buy your lunchbox? What is in your ideal lunchbox? And how much fruit would you pack?