We Make it and Menders love packed lunches! Why do we love them? They’re thrifty - a great way to use up leftovers and prepare lovely food at the fraction of the cost of shop bought sandwiches and drinks. They’re creative - thinking ‘inside the lunchbox’ extends beyond sandwiches and rolls. They cut back on waste - fewer plastic sandwich wrappers and paper coffee cups generated when you buy lunch at delis and coffee bars.
So, rediscover the packed lunch by trying a few of our ideas below. Plus…
Ľ Packed lunch suggestions we’ve received from fellow Make and Menders
Download our Packed Lunch Inspiration – put a copy on the fridge to remind you why packed lunches are lovely. Make a packed lunch for a loved one and place a personalised† message inside… Packed Lunch Inspiration from MIAMI
Flasks, drink containers, lunchboxes and lunch on the move† accessories
The history of the packed lunch
The packed lunch has been around as long as we have. Even early man understood the concept of saving a little food that could be eaten the next day. We started out as hunter-gatherers so it’s in our nature to worry about where are next meal is coming from. Taking your lunch with you is soooo reassuring to your inner caveman.
The original packed lunches were based around food stuffs that came in their own ‘packs’. for example, if you ever lived in an old house – 19th century or earlier and found walnut shells under the old floors, you’re probably looking at the packed lunch containers for one of the original builders of your home. Walnuts were highly nutritious and the shells kept them clean until they were cracked.
Keeping your packed lunch grit and dust free was a challenge before the advent of modern lunch boxes and the ubiquitous Tupperware. The Cornish Pasty was invented by the wives of Cornish tin miners to seal meat and even jam inside a protective pastry case with a thick rim of folded pastry that could be held by grimy hands. The original’ lunch box’ was often an old tobacco tin. The ‘lunch pail’ was basically a small bucket. The first bespoke lunchboxes didn’t emerge until the 1920s or 30s.
How to make the perfect packed lunch
Balance - you need a combination or carbohydrate, protein, fresh fruit / veg. Avoid too many fast food items, like biscuits and crisps, as they tend to be high in sugar and salt.
To get the ratios roughly right use the Eatwell Plate created by the UK Food Standards Agency (click on the image to visit the Food Standards site and more about the Eatwell plate).
Dried fruit is great for packed lunches. It satisfies a sweet tooth but provides your body with energy over a longer period than a chocolate or biscuit bar.
Creativity - don’t restrict your ideas to what can be comfortably contained within two slices of bread. Invest in good sandwich boxes that are leak-proof so you can experiment with salads and leftovers, such as last night’s pasta. A wide-lipped flask can be used for soups and stews.
Daily bread, baps, bagels, wraps…
Not that there’s anything wrong with a sandwich: experiment with different types of break such as Spelt and Rye. Wraps are great for weight watchers as they contain fewer calories than the amount of bread you would need to safely wrap the same amount of filling. Pitta pockets are great for salads.
Think beyond butter and margerine - flavoured mayonnaises, pesto sauce and that Mediterranean favourite of rubbing bread with half a cut tomato into which a half clove of garlic has been inserted, are great alternatives.
Fruit - a lot of it comes ‘ready wrapped’ like oranges and bananas, which makes it great for lunches on the go. Try freezing grapes overnight. They stay lovely and chilled until lunchtime.
Turning leftover roast meats into sandwich fillings - if you’ve enjoyed a roast chicken, or beef or lamb over the weekend, even small scraps can be turned into midweek sandwich fillings. Try this: Finely chop the meat, mix with a dollop of mayonaise and a small sprinkle of curry powder. Add raisins and nuts for a more exotic combo.
Children - get them involved in the preparation of packed lunches for school. Picky eaters are often more enthusiastic about food they’ve helped prepare themselves.
Packed lunch psychology - try not to eat it at your desk. Find somewhere restful, ideally outside in the better weather. When you prepare your own packed lunch try and make it with as much care and enthusiasm as you if you were making it for someone else. Show yourself a little love and attention.
Salad dressings and sauces - transport them in a separate bottle and add to the food just before you eat.
“Psychologically taking something from your home to your place of work is really special and lunch boxes are a way to do that.” Hugh-Fearnley-Whittingstall
Download our Packed Lunch Inspiration – put a copy on the fridge to remind you why packed lunches are lovely. Make a packed lunch for a loved one and place a personalised message inside… Packed Lunch Inspiration from MIAMI