There will always be those occasions when you’re about to leave the house to catch a train, a bus or your lift is leaving NOW and you must grab and go with something edible for your packed lunch that day. It may surprise you to learn that you don’t need to make terrible decisions here! Over the years I have found these grab and go lunch ingredients work brilliantly for super busy people who from time to time get caught short:
- Tinned Fish – if you’re not really a fishy person then try some in sauce like a sweeter tomato sauce
- Cold baked beans – not everybody’s idea of yum but some rave about them
- Boiled Eggs – these can be prepared in advance of the week and sit ready in the fridge for those days when you have an emergency
- Cold Cooked Meats – whatever is going in the fridge. It’s a great way to use food up and almost always will serve your protein needs
- Oatcakes and Cheese
- Granola and Yogurt
- Nuts, Seeds, Dried Fruit – either alone or combined in a trail mix
- Tomatoes – they’re portable, nutritious and can be eaten without any preparation and without a knife and fork
- Fruit – there is no prep involved in taking fruit to work or school. You can eat it by hand or if the fruit is a little soft then with a spork.
- Whole Carrot – of course it might be nicer and easier to eat if it was in batons but sometimes, we haven’t the time to chop
- Leftover anything!
If you are out and about and unprepared at lunchtime then what you have available to buy very much depends on where you are. Lucky you if you happen to be in the middle of a big city with a range of healthier food outlets around you. The possibilities in this situation are endless but it is still important to consider your choices carefully.
I always use the Lunchbox Bingo planning framework in these situations. So that means carbohydrate, protein, calcium, vegetable, fruit and a drink. Inevitably in a healthier outlet that means a salad or a soup, some fruit or fruit and yogurt and some water. Other ideas might be to purchase popcorn (salted) if you need more carbohydrate and from time to time a small bar of dark chocolate!
If you are on the road and have petrol station or service station offerings only then focus on slow release carbohydrates where possible and some good quality proteins. A wholemeal bread sandwich filled with protein and salad, a jacket potato (eat the skin to increase your fibre consumption) with baked beans, or a soup with some pulses like lentils or chickpeas in can be filling, and quite frankly the most nutritious thing on offer. If all else fails, resort to the hacks at the start of this post. Most petrol stations now sell many of these foods. It might be worth carrying your own reusable spork just in case they don’t have any cutlery (and it’s better for the environment that way too)!