3 Tips for the Best Packed Lunches

You may carefully plan your evening meals, but lunch can become something of an afterthought – a hasty sandwich from the supermarket, or a burger grabbed from the local café. The best way to guarantee a healthy lunch? Make it yourself.

A healthy, balanced lunch can help you get all the energy, fibre, fat, vitamins and minerals you need to power through the day. Here are a few pointers.

Prepare in advance.

Don’t waste that precious shopping, prepping and cooking time on just one meal. Make sure you have plenty of leftovers that can be packed in portion-sized containers ready for lunches the following day. If you won’t be able to re-heat food, you can mix any vegetables, protein and/or grains from your dinner plate and toss with some greens and dressing to make a salad. Leftover brown rice? Mix with chicken, corn, baby spinach and black beans.

If you feel inspired, you can also cook up meals in advance in the weekend. Casseroles, chilli, pasta dishes, soups and stir-fries can be doubled, divided and stored, suggest the Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter. In the warmer weather, substantial salads based on grains like barley, quinoa or freekeh can also be divided up for lunches.


Stock up on staples.

No leftovers? Keep some of your favourite lunch items ready to go. Some ideas you can pack in a bento-style box: fruit, hard-boiled eggs, falafel, small cans of tuna, pre-cut veggies like carrots, celery, cherry tomatoes and cauliflower, rice/corn cakes, sliced or cubed cheese, and small servings or trail mix, seeds or nuts.

You can portion out bean dips, nut butters and plain yoghurt, or purchase them pre-packaged. Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter recommends you aim for a lunch that is half vegetables and fruit, one quarter wholegrain, and one quarter protein.



To keep your food safe from harmful bacteria, make sure you pack an ice block in your insulated lunch bag – more than one if your lunch won’t be refrigerated when you get to work.