I tend to loathe canteens as after a couple months, everything smells and tastes the same. Yes, it is an option and in most cases subsidised so not costing too much, BUT I find that it is all prepared without love and you can taste it. I have never eaten in a canteen where the diners had a smile on their faces and thoroughly enjoyed their meal. Don’t get me wrong it is food and cheap and there is no effort required on your part but this is no reason to have bland foods.
I used to end up eating the same small salad every day as even the soup of the day wasn’t exiting anymore (and just watery). For breakfast I stayed well away from the fry up options, cheap sausages, soggy bacon, no thanks. I went for porridge until that came out of both ears.
If you add the expense of 2 meals a day together, even in a subsidised canteen, that can add up. I mean I went for dish of the day and that will set you still back for about a 5er. I refuse to pay for those meals any longer, the only thing I ever so often have is fish and chips on a Friday as I hate the smell of grease in my house and so I get it there. My local fish and chip shop is still better though.
For years I didn’t take my lunches to work but suffered in silence. The thing is, mediocre food is never going to bring out the best in you, pure and simple. You need great food to be great.
My other half used to buy sandwiches and lunches every day and sometimes ended up spending up to £20 just on crappy food.
That’s when I made the decision, that I rather go on holiday or on a good night out with the money we save, than throwing it at the high street supermarkets. It is to say that some little independent sandwich shops are good but I am very particular as to that makes a good sandwich or salad and most of them do not live up to my expectations.
I started making his lunches every day and I must have made thousands of sandwiches for him , his apprentice and my friends. I am still playing with the idea of a little food Tuktuk.
Well, what are you doing different? What makes a good work lunch?
The first rule of a work lunch has to be that it can be make quickly but still taste amazing!
To be honest I am blessed as my other half eats everything and so I throw them together with whatever I have in the fridge or leftover from the day before. When I go shopping now I spend only £20 for a whole week of his lunches! That is a great difference and I am super happy to be saving this much money.
The first step is to get some sort of routine together. My other half works really early and I am not waking up for 4:30am to make his sandwiches, but fill his lunch box the night before so he just has to grab it out of the fridge in the morning.
For guys I usually make a bigger lunch box than just for myself, they have a physically demanding job and need more calories. I am happy with a good salad and some fruit for the day. The “man” lunch box has the sandwich or salad, 2 pieces of fruit, 2 little biscuit bars and a small packet of crisps.
Now have a look at some of the ideas below. Some need a bit of prep the night before but nothing will make you slave in the kitchen! Yesterday I made a Sunday chicken roast and kept some chicken aside. Today this is used for lunch. I have a good selection of condiments in my fridge but don’t spend money on readymade dressings, sauces etc. You can make most of it yourself in just a few minutes and save £££. Neither buy grated cheese, it is a rip off and you can make it really quick with just minimal effort.
To mix it up I also use half/half wraps. I am a master in wrapping but it took time, so give it a few tries before you put it in your lunchbox. The last thing you want is for the wrap to spill out at the backend and all over your work clothes. With my luck that happened just before I went for an important meeting. Imagine me trying to clean my dress in the ladies toilet under the hand dryer, total disaster ☺
Sandwiches or wraps:
- Ham, mustard, sweet peppers
- Coronation chicken
- Chicken salad (with a mustardaise twist)
- Corned beef with pickle
- Cheese and picallily or Srirachia sauce
- Mozzarella, tomato, balsamic glaze
- Cheese and onion
- Tuna and sweetcorn
- Spicy beef with sour cream and avocado
- Breakfast wrap
- Avocado, cheese, balsamic glaze
- Extra mature cheddar and apricot chutney
- Chicken BBQ and sweet peppers
- Cucumber and cream cheese
- Ajvar pasta salad with jalapenos, onions, tomatoes, cucumber
- Greek salad with Feta
- Chicken, bacon, avocado, salsa
- Water melon, mint, feta
- Goat’s cheese and honey mustard dressing
- Roasted pepper salad
- Anti pasti salad
- Sweet potato, spring onions, feta
- Asian Vermicelli noodle salad
- Green papaya salad
- Spicy beef (Sucuk) orzo
- Caprese salad
- Smoked salmon and lemon caper salad
- Classic chicken Caesar salad
- Homemade granola with yoghurt and almonds
- Finnish porridge with butter and salt
- Fruit bowl with fresh and dried fruit, nuts
- Orange oatmeal with vanilla yoghurt
- Chia pudding with fresh fruit
- Extra mature cheddar, jalapenos savoury muffins
- Egg and bacon cups
- Homemade vermicelli Miso cup-a-soup
As you can see there are a lot of ideas and the possibilities are endless, I am sure I have made more varieties than that and they will slowly be added to my recipes and linked in. In most cases, I try to give a classic a twist by either using different condiments or adding different spices that take the lunch out of boring and into amazing.
I hope to have inspired you and wish you good luck with pimping your work lunches. Any questions just leave a comment or send me an email.