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Help needed - ideas for lunches for dd(13 Posts)
She's in her first full time job. Fed up spending loads on lunches at work (a canteen type deal I think) plus she's getting bored of the food (it's a bit "chips with everything" and she doesn't like chips but even aside from that she's finding it samey).
It's on an industrial estate so no shops for her to pop to. Plus as I said her main aim is to save money.
I've offered to make her packed lunches before (she works shifts and is often knackered while I am at home - on benefits due to ill health but can manage this most days with planning)
Thing is, she's not really a bread person either, so not keen on sandwiches...wraps at a push!
She's VERY slim so while I want it to be healthy it needs to give her enough energy too.
Pasta, cous cous, rice 'salads' are what we're thinking at the moment - I make sauces from scratch - on that is there anything I maybe use in the sauces potential food poisoning issue? I use onions and garlic a lot as that's what we like but I know they can 'turn'.
Also I'm veggie so I'm not confident on meat ingredients yet but happy to learn. I thought tuna pasta salad and variations of? She likes chicken skewers with satay sauce (which I'm confident making) but I am not sure on the chicken?
But I'd LOVE some inspiration.
So hit me with your non sandwich "packed" lunch ideas please?
Buy a thermos container which will keep warm. I sometimes do baked potatoes in it with cheese, tuna etc. They keep hot till lunchtime.
Access to a microwave or not?
If not couscous, salads, ‘dips’ (my guilty pleasure lunch is just hummus, guacamole and breadsticks/carrot sticks), fruit salad, potatoes salad, cold chicken breast with salad veggies, jacket pot wrapped in foil will keep warm for a few hours, soup in a thermas, cheese and crackers, ploughman’s...
If she access to a microwave then sky is the limit lol
Go for the buddha bowl idea of a couple of different salads and some dips like hummus etc - you can make a batch of a few things and then have small portions of two or more salads per lunchtime which mixes it up a bit.
For sauces, I wouldn't worry about anything 'turning'.
Egg (hard boiled, frittata etc)
Smoked mackerel (can also make a dip with cream cheese)
Cheese (feta, halloumi etc)
Nuts e.g. cashews, walnuts
Veg in salads:
Leaves (rocket, spinach, lettuce etc)
Tomatoes (fresh, sun-dried)
Roasted root veg
Grated e.g. carrot, apple, cabbage
Fruit (mango, watermelon, pomegranate seeds)
Basically anything goes, and variety is the spice of life!
Access to a fridge and microwave a big plus.
Cook an extra portion or two when you cook the family meal especially things that can be eaten reheated or after they've cooled.
Freeze some extra portions.
Things like pies and quiches even pizza can be eaten cold with a side salad.
I make pasta with tuna mayo mixed in that I eat cold, chuck. some cucumber, cherry tomatoes and sweet corn in as well. Home made soup, pasta with left over bolognese, chilli, pasta with a sauce made from red onion and garlic, tinned tomatoes, tomato purée, Worcester sauce, chopped cooked bacon and dried chilli. Cooked chicken and veg put on
Microwave. Also my mackerel pasta salad but it's anti-social as it has a strong smell. Cool pasta and cook, add in some chopped cherry tomatoes, red onion and cucumber then a tin of mackerel in tomato sauce and mix well. The sauce coats the pasta.
What does she have access to? Toaster? Microwave? Fridge? Kettle?
Not sure about access to micro, will ask her tomorrow. Need to check re fridge too - she may not know herself - very shy so getting her to find out stuff at work is like pulling teeth!
Usual family dinners that may work (though it's actually just the 2 of us) although I'm wary of her not wanting to/getting fed up of eating same dish 2 meals in a row.
Pasta - pesto, tomato based sauce (inc bolognese), cheese sauce usually veggie with peppers and sweetcorn
Stir fry - I don't mind having 2 fry pans on the go. So Quorn for me chicken for her. Peppers, carrots, broccoli. Sweet n sour, satay or chow mein are her favourite sauces. Served with cous cous or noodles.
Stews and casseroles - inc stovies, stroganoff, ghoulash as well as usual suspects - in this I'd also include curries and chilli.
I'm scots so yes in winter will definitely do hearty soups (make at least one big pot a week in winter anyway).
Buddha bowls might appeal. I'll discuss that with her.
She doesn't like pies/quiche and will only eat pizza hot and even then if in the mood for it - as I said not a carbs fan.
No access to micro or fridge
Yes access to kettle
Can’t believe there’s no fridge! But if you get an insulated lunch box and an ice pack cold food should be fine till lunch.
Look on Pinterest for good ideas, there are some great Buddha bowl ideas, wrap fillings, lunch prep etc.
Thanks all. Going quite well so far.
Quick question - I made her a cous cous salad to take in yesterday (this has become a favourite) but she forgot it in a rush this morning, is it safe for her to eat tomorrow?
How I make:
Cous cous made up with a stock cube in boiling water.
While it cooks/cools I dice up salad veggies to add.
Mix salad veggies in and store in lunch box in fridge.
In morning she adds meat/fish and salad dressing takes to work to eat.
No biggie if she can't eat it but thought I'd ask.
Totally fine for tomorrow, Graph. Think of the use-by dates on M&S posh cous cous salads etc. those are at least 3 days. Sounds yummy, anyway!
Aww thanks for saying sounds yummy. I have mh issues & a disability and have really been struggling in recent months. So have been feeling like a crap mum.
This has helped me feel I'm doing a little better as I'm making sure she gets at least 2 healthy meals a day. (She's not a big breakfast person - I'm trying to remedy that)
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