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.
- Plastic spoon and forks (they are small, light, can be reused many times and it does not matter if you misplace them).
- 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).
- 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.
- 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
- 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.!
- 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)
- 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)
- 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!