Sandwiches are quick to prepare and almost infinitely versatile in terms of what can be included as a tasty and satisfying filling. This makes them the perfect option for a packed lunch to take to school or the workplace.
There are occasions, however, where this same versatility and convenience of sandwiches may cause you to lose sight of the many other quick and easy options that are available for creative packed lunches.
Cheese and crackers
Cheese is a very popular sandwich filling but can equally form part of a delicious packed lunch with crackers, just as the two may be served more commonly as an after dinner cheeseboard. Try including two or three different cheese types cut in to wedges with four to six crackers. Fruit such as grapes and an apple compliment the cheese very well and add further nutritional value to the lunch. The apple should always be packed whole to prevent it oxidizing and turning brown.
Chopped vegetables and dip
Salad items such as lettuce and tomato are further common sandwich fillings but crunchy vegetables cut in to large pieces make equally nutritious and delicious lunch ideas. Try packing celery sticks, small carrots and even wedges of bell peppers with a soured cream and herb dip in a small tub. Basil, dill or cilantro all work well in a dip of this type. Cold cuts of meat could also be included to add a little bit more substance for non-vegetarians.
Chicken thighs or drumsticks
Chicken portions can often be bought cooked or uncooked in supermarkets and make a tasty and satisfying lunch choice, especially where a small tub of coleslaw or other salad is included. Where applicable, the chicken portions can be cooked by roasting or poaching the night before, cooled and refrigerated for ease of packing the following morning.
Hot soup in a vacuum flask
A hot lunch is always preferable to sandwiches in the cold of winter, especially for those who may find themselves working outside in the chill. While this may not at first seem viable, some chunky, homemade soup in a vacuum flask with some wedges of fresh crusty bread provide both welcome heat and substance.
Hot meat pies in a food flask
It is not only liquids which can be kept hot for several hours in vacuum flasks. There are types of vacuum flasks designed for containing solids and warmed meat pies can be a very satisfying lunch on cold days. An even easier option is of course to pack the pies cold, perhaps with a few pickles, for lunch on warmer days.
When you are looking to develop your own original ideas for lunch other than sandwiches, begin by looking in your fridge and larder. Consider what you have available and whether it can easily be packed as a practical lunch. This procedure can be extended to browsing in your local supermarket whenever you have a little extra time. By employing these tactics, you can significantly increase your packed lunch repertoire to impress and delight your family.