Congratulations to all of you who go the extra mile in your day to make packed lunches. It's ten minutes well-spent; saving you money and staying more in control of what you're eating.
But some of us 'non packed lunchers', who are more likely to eat ready made sandwiches, are put off by luke warm soups and disappointing salads.
March 10th marks National Pack Your Lunch Day, which is a great opportunity for everyone to get on board and knock up a delicious packed lunch. But to avoid any of the aforementioned packed lunch pitfalls we've sourced some great advice on how to keep your food tasting as fresh as possible until lunchtime.
Think about your sandwich ingredients
If you know that your packed lunch sarnies aren’t going to be eaten for a few hours - stay away from high-water-content ingredients. That means egg or tuna salads, mozzarella and anything with lots of juicy tomatoes. But if you're determined to go with the tuna, and can't imagine a bap without the tomatoes, these tips will definitely help:
Use butter rather than marg - this is serves as a better 'bread barrier'.
Think about your bread choice. Things like crusty rolls will keep longer and taste amazing too.
Pack fillings (like tuna salad) in separate tupperware containers then add to your buttered bread when you’re ready to eat lunch. Not a soggy sandwich in sight!
Use lettuce (make sure you dry it properly first) as a protective layer between the bread and salad. Plus it will give a nice crunch to your filling.
Not into sarnies? We've got lots of other lovely lunch ideas.
Keep cool foods cool
Lunchboxes are cool - fact. In more ways than one. So if you and your little ones haven't got one, it could be time to invest, before the summer kicks in and you're looking at limp lettuce and soggy sandwiches.
Plus don't forget to pop mini ice-packs in your lunchbox on hot days.
You can even try freezing yoghurts, drinks and bread over-night, pack them in your lunchbox in the morning and they’ll be nice and chilled and ready to eat by lunchtime.
Keep hot foods hot
If you don’t have access to a microwave at lunchtime, no problem! Use a good Thermos container and you should still be able to enjoy hot food up to five hours after you’ve packed it.
You just need to make sure that whatever lovely dinner leftovers you are planning to munch for lunch the next day have been heated on a stove to boiling point and microwaved to a piping hot temperature before packing.
Another top tip to mention when packing up your hot food is to preheat your Thermos before filling. Simply fill your Thermos with boiling water and close, wait a good five minutes then empty, fill with your food and then close the lid.
Protect your fruit
Bruised and damaged fruit is a sad sight at lunchtime. Keep your bananas, peaches and other softer fruity choices protected by wrapping in a cloth napkin, tea towels or tupperware boxes.
Use a jar
Jars full of salad are the now the ‘in thing’. But this is a trend that is more than just a pretty face. Yes, these rainbow striped lunches look fabulous on Instagram, but they also keep your food fresh and unmushed. The key is layers. Unlike the traditional tupperware box, these taller narrower spaces naturally keep a row of meat, grains and leafs in their separate positions.
A screw cap will keep the food locked in, air tight. Just bring a big bowl along too so you can tip all the lovely ingredients out when you’re ready to tuck in. Then pour your dressing over!