Lunch, almost by definition, is the most dreaded of all the meals. And what almost always comes to mind when think of lunch…. soggy sandwiches! Just think about it, there’s breakfast, the most important meal of the day and all that, which is about getting your body fueled for the day. And then there’s dinner, where we try and relax and reconnect with family and friends. We always have time for dinner and we might even make plans or reservations. But lunch usually only gets half a minute of our thoughts and is usually just something quick and easy, which does not always mean that it is appetising or healthy. Let’s face it lunch is the literally the “middle child” when it comes to meals. So today I will share my 5 top tips for keeping your lunch fresh that will allow you to pack a magnificent lunch every day.
- Keep dressings and sauces on the side
There is nothing worse than soggy salads or sandwiches so I always pack my dressings in small dressing-size containers on the side. I also often do the same with spreads and such, especially when I have lettuce or greens on my salad because come lunch time, they turn soggy.
- Choose the right bread
Think about the type of bread you choose when it comes to making your sandwich for lunch. Things like crusty rolls will keep longer and taste amazing too. You can also toast bread or rolls before making your sandwich. Pack fillings (like tuna or chicken mayo) in separate tupperware containers then add it to your sandwich when you’re ready to eat lunch. Using lettuce not only adds a lovely crunch to your sandwich (make sure you dry it properly first) but it also acts as a protective layer between the bread and other fillings.
- Keeping it hot
If you don’t have access to a microwave at lunchtime, don’t stress. Use a good thermos container and you should still be able to enjoy hot food up to five hours after you’ve packed it. It is important to make sure that whatever dinner leftovers you are planning on having for lunch the next day has been heated on a stove to boiling point and microwaved to a piping hot temperature before packing.
- Keep it cool
One of the most important tips to keeping lunch nice and fresh is to keep it cool. Everyone always has at least one item in their lunch bag that needs to be chilled. If you don’t have access to a fridge in the office, then don’t fret. That’s where re-usable ice packs come in handy! I have a few that I have in rotation in the fridge. You can even use frozen bottles of water if you don’t have any ice packs available.
- Keeping fruits in tack
Bruised and damaged fruit is a sad and unappetising sight at lunchtime. Keep your bananas, kiwis, peaches and other softer fruit choices protected by wrapping them in a cloth napkin, tea towels or tupperware boxes. Avoid cutting your fruit way in advance, it is best to cut them just before consumption to prevent them from oxidising.
So now none of us have any more excuses about why we aren’t able to pack lunch the night before!
Compiled by Salome Scholtz, RD(SA)