Packed lunches – Planning ahead

 

Sample of kitchen basics

Before being able to produce some great packed lunches, you need to be well equipped. A few useful equipment/utensils are required, and, as well as your weekly trip to the shops, your kitchen cupboard and freezer will also need to hold a few vital ingredients. Hopefully, if you read this post today (being Friday) and go shopping at the week-end, you will able to add a few ingredients to your shopping list.

Equipment:

  1. Plastic spoon and forks (they are small, light, can be reused many times and it does not matter if you misplace them).
  2. Airtight plastic food containers (Lock-lock or Klip-on type). In my opinion, the 670ml rectangle container holds the perfect amount of food. You will need two containers per person (savoury and sweet).
  3. Travel mug. Yes really! You won’t realise how great they are until you get one. It’s so much better than a normal mug. You fill it in the morning and top it up throughout the day.
  4. A carry bag to keep everything together. A paper bag with handles is good (from Topshop for example).

 

Cupboard basics – Savoury ingredients:

  • Tuna (I prefer oil to brine)
  • Corn (small tins)
  • Tortilla wraps (look out for special offers and keep an eye on the  expiry date)
  • Pasta (fusili/twist and farfalle are great)
  • Rice (basmati gives salads a nice flavour)
  • Green lentils
  • Couscous or bulgur wheat
  • Sun dried tomatoes in oil, peppers in oil
  • Tinned ham (great for emergencies although I prefer to use it in quiches myself)
  • Mayonnaise (go for Heinz original as you won’t be using that much and it contains the omega-3 the light version does not)
  • Salad cream
  • Ketchup
  • Balsamic vinegar (go for a mid-range price)
  • Olive oil and/or rapeseed oil (the latter is packed with omega-3)
  • Small red onions. Not really a cupboard basic, but if stored in the right conditions, they last for weeks.
  • Small water bottles (if you can’t get tap water but please never reuse your bottles as they can release cancer-causing toxic chemicals.)

 

Cupboard basics – Sweet ingredients:   

  • Dried fruit (raisins, sultanas, apricots, prunes, figs, bananas, etc.), really useful when you have run out of fresh fruit
  • Nuts (almonds -my favourite, hazelnuts, etc.) and why not seeds – sesame, linseed, etc.!

Freezer  

  • Bread (Tip: just take out when needed and spread the butter on the surface while still frozen hard, it works a treat!)
  • Leftover cooked chicken, gammon, pork, beef, etc. (one day, I will show you how to make the most out of the meat you buy)

Fresh ingredients:

  • Vegetables
  • Fruit (watch out for my forthcoming tips on how to choose fruit for a week-long supply and prepare your fruit salad)
  • Cheese (mature cheddar works very well)
  • Eggs
  • Philadelphia cheese
  • Greek yogurt

I go food shopping once a week although I will make a special trip to get more milk if I ran out otherwise I’ll make do.

If there anything in this list you would not have thought about?

Anyway, happy shopping!