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Cheap as Chips! Tasty Ideas for Packed Lunches

Making and taking a packed lunch to work, college, or a day out can seem like a bit of a faff. But, when you haven’t got a sausage and the chips are down (terrible, sorry), preparing your own food can be cheaper, healthier and, if you go about it the right way, a bit of fun.

Rather than doing it once, getting bored and binning your Tupperware box, the secret is to rustle up packed lunches that are cost-effective, easy to make and a little bit different.

If you buy great ingredients in bulk, you can do all your chopping, dicing and preparing in one go and keep enough for a week in an airtight container in the fridge.

So, let’s whet your appetite with a few ideas.


  •      Watermelon, tomato and cheese salad. Sounds weird but these ingredients really do go great together. Especially on a hot day.


  •      Apple and peanut butter sandwich. Try it! Sliced apples dipped into peanut butter is nothing new. But put it between slices of seeded bread for a new twist and a filling lunch.


  •      Sticking with the jar of peanut butter and pushing the barriers even further – peanut butter, gherkin and thick cut (ridged) crisp sandwich. Rye bread is the game changer but any will do.


  •      Salmon wraps, without the wraps! Mixed a tin of salmon with half a tin of cannellini beans, add spring onion, Greek yoghurt, and lemon juice and put inside large lettuce leaves.


  •      Tuna, avocado and quinoa salad. Buy ready-made or microwaveable quinoa, mix with a tin of tuna, lemon juice, a chopped avocado, feta cheese, cherry tomatoes, a little bit of white wine vinegar and a swoosh (technical term) of olive oil.


  •      Pizza pasta. What’s not to love about combining two of the best things in life? Mix cooked pasta (any shape!) with sun-dried tomato pesto, salami or any kind of sausage, plum tomatoes and mozzarella cheese.


  •       Mexican bean salad. Hard-boiled eggs, chopped avocado, tin of kidney beans, chopped onion, chopped tomatoes, and a chopped chilli (depending on how hot you like it). Mix together and if you’re really adventurous have it with a taco or two!


  •      Tuna mayo on crackers. Tin of tuna with mayonnaise, onion, capers (worth having a jar of these versatile little things in your fridge), lime juice, black pepper spread on something like Ryvita. Delish!


  •      Sardine surprise. Tin of sardines, broken into chunks, mixed with a bag of watercress and some pickled beetroots, black pepper and a blob of horseradish.


This lot makes a change from a cheese and ham sandwich doesn’t it! Roll-on lunchtime.