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packingbloglunchboxjumble

Here we review 3 of our favourite hot food containers*

 

  1. Polar Gear 500ml Lunch Pod

This lightweight, great value lunch pod comes in a range of colours. It is primarily designed to carry food to be reheated. Double-wall insulation means it can keep food warm for up to 3 hours depending on the weather outside so works well for breakfast or an early lunch. We think it is perfect for porridge if you like to breakfast at your desk.  It comes with a built in “spork” and a removable bowl divider.
Cost: £8.99
Find out more

  1. Thermos Stainless King Food 470ml Flask

We love the neat and stylish design of this wide mouthed food flask. The lid is quite small but it’s easy enough to eat straight from the flask. Food stays nicely hot for 7 hours which should see you through until lunchtime. It comes with a full-size, foldable, stainless steel spoon and is available in 4 smart colours: Midnight Blue, Matt Black, Raspberry and Cranberry Red.
Cost £18.99
Find out more

  1. Stanley Classic Vacuum 500ml Food Jar

Sturdy and with a classic design, this flask is just as much at home in a building site as an office. With a wider mouth than the Thermos flask it is easier to fill, eat from and thoroughly clean. The lid is also a decent size if you want to pour out your food.  It doesn’t come with a spoon so you need to pack that separately. Food stays properly hot for 12 hours which could be handy if you work long hours and justifies the higher price. It is available in two sensible shades of green and blue.
Cost: £24.99
Find out more

Don’t forget!

Your water bottle and some cutlery if you’re eating on the go.

*these 3 products were provided to us free-of-charge by the manufacturers to review them independently.

Becky Alexander is a food writer (The Guild of Food Writers) and food book editor for companies such as Dorling Kindersley, Penguin and Bloombsury. She writes a fortnightly food column for The Herts Advertiser newspaper focussing on seasonal, local food. Becky recently appeared on a BBC Radio programme giving commuters easy ideas for their lunches. Michelle Lake DipION CNHC mBANT is a registered Nutritional Therapist and has been running her own busy practice, Mission Nutrition in St Albans for over 10 years. She trained for four years at the Institute of Optimum Nutrition on its internationally acclaimed nutritional therapy course. She is a member of BANT (British Association for Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy) and The Complementary and National Healthcare Council (CNHC).

packed

Becky Alexander, Michelle Lake
Packed
£12.99, pre-order from Amazon

 

 

 

packed-shopping

Written by Becky Alexander and Michelle Lake.

Most of us eat the same things each week for lunch, with cheese and ham sandwiches being the most popular. Not everyone works near a Pret or wants to spend 20 minutes of their break queuing so we have come up with lots of ideas to make taking your lunch to work more interesting and delicious.

Noone wants to shop all the time, so you need to buy ingredients that are going to last until the end of the week. Packed (by Becky Alexander and Michelle Lake, Feb 2017) is full of quick ideas for grown-up, healthy lunches. These are five of our star ingredients that we always have at home. They all last for ages and are packed with nutrition, so you can add them to whatever you are already making or throw them all together to make a hearty salad.

  1. Rocket leaves. A bag will last a week in the fridge if you don’t pile things on top and squash them. Spinach leaves are pretty good too. More delicate leaves tend to wilt after a day or two. Add rocket to your sandwiches and salads, or stir a handful into a bowl of hot soup to boost your veggie intake. You can also whizz rocket leaves with a little olive oil to make a pesto to spread in sandwiches instead of butter. Aim to include a handful of leafy greens with every lunch; they are bursting with phytochemicals which have been found to be cancer-protective.
  1. Peppers. Orange, red and yellow peppers can be sliced and eaten with a dip or as the base for a salad. You can get ahead by slicing up a few, pop in a container and keep in the fridge to add to your lunches throughout the week. Green ones are only really nice when cooked. Jars of roasted peppers are good too, so why not buy a jar for the cupboard for when you run out of fresh salad? No need to add a dressing either – just a squeeze of lemon. Aim to add some brightly coloured veggies to your lunch to get optimum amounts of carotenoids which help to keep eyes and heart healthy.
  1. Feta cheese. A pack of feta will last for ages in the fridge. Just a small amount adds lots of flavour; crumble it in to your salad or pasta. You can freeze leftover cheese if you don’t get through it in a week or two. Add some olives from a jar (cheaper than the ones in tubs) and you are on your way to a Greek salad. Feta is one of the healthiest cheeses around ­- it’s lower in saturated fat and higher in friendly bacteria that most other varieties. Made from goat’s or sheep’s milk and naturally lower in lactose, many people find feta easier to digest than other cheeses.
  1. Cooked lentils. A pouch of cooked black or Puy lentils is so easy to use. No need to rinse, just open the pouch and spoon about half into your lunch box. Add chopped pepper, feta and rocket, or whatever you have in the fridge, squeeze over some lemon, and you have an easy and very nutritious lunch. Freeze the rest or keep in a sealed container in the fridge for a few days. Protein-packed lentils are a fabulous lunch choice; they release their energy slowly to keep you full until home-time.
  1. Chickpeas. Cans of cooked chickpeas are a bargain and a great plant source of protein and iron. Look for the red or brown ones which are lovely in a salad or roast vegetables. You can also stir them into soup. I like the creamy white ones roasted: rinse, then mix with a little olive oil and a little paprika. Roast in the oven for about 10 minutes. Add to salads and soups or eat on their own as a snack. It’s easy to make your own hummus by whizzing them up with some extra virgin olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and cumin. Feel free to throw in other ingredients like roasted peppers or olives. Hummus makes a great filling for sandwiches and wraps or spoon into a pot and bring along some veggie dippers.

Becky Alexander is a food writer (The Guild of Food Writers) and food book editor for companies such as Dorling Kindersley, Penguin and Bloombsury. She writes a fortnightly food column for The Herts Advertiser newspaper focussing on seasonal, local food. Becky recently appeared on a BBC Radio programme giving commuters easy ideas for their lunches. Michelle Lake DipION CNHC mBANT is a registered Nutritional Therapist and has been running her own busy practice, Mission Nutrition in St Albans for over 10 years. She trained for four years at the Institute of Optimum Nutrition on its internationally acclaimed nutritional therapy course. She is a member of BANT (British Association for Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy) and The Complementary and National Healthcare Council (CNHC).

packed

Becky Alexander, Michelle Lake
Packed
£12.99, pre-order from Amazon

squahsmarket

As the days get colder, sandwiches and summer salads don’t always satisfy us at lunchtime. With a little planning and preparation you can have satisfying and comforting seasonal lunches every day of the week.

  1. Pile up your veggies. Workloads often build up during the autumn months, and combined with chillier days means you need help fighting off any train and office colds. Try to make sure that at least half your lunch is made up of immune-boosting veggies. Soups are a great way to pack them in, and did you know you can just add a handful of leaves and stir in? Rocket, kale and watercress go well with lots of soups; just stir in a handful for a boost of vitamin C, beta-carotene and other antioxidants. Simply pack the leaves in a separate container and stir into your soup when you’re ready to eat.
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  3. Plan ahead. Make a big batch of soup, curry or chilli one evening or at the weekend. Freeze individual portions so you always have something you can take to work. Take a flatbread with you and you have an amazing lunch.
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  5. Squash in some nutrients. Nothing says Autumn quite like the piles of multi-shaped squash you find in farm shops and supermarkets at this time of year. Squash last for ages before you cut them open and are a really versatile ingredient. The brightly coloured orange flesh of pumpkin and butternut varieties is full of beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant which plays an important role in skin and eye health. Cut your squash into chunks (skin on if you like) and toss in olive oil before roasting. When cool add leaves, feta cheese and lentils, or whatever you have in the kitchen to make a great packed lunch.
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  7. Beet yourself up. Beetroots boast an impressive nutrient content. They are rich in anthocyanin, which gives them their crimson colouring and makes them a powerful detoxifier. Wrap them in foil and roast in their skins to keep the nutrients intact. You can then peel and slice when ready to use and add to salads. Beetroot also make a rich, earthy base for dips or soups. You can also eat their iron-rich leaves in salads but only whilst they are still crisp and fresh.
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  9. Make a satisfying slaw. Red cabbage, carrots and apples all last for ages and make a very quick slaw. Slice a chunk of cabbage and an apple, mix in a grated carrot, add a few pumpkin seeds and mix with a teaspoon of Greek yoghurt for a delicious super-fresh slaw. As well as being easy on your wallet, cabbage is great for your tummy promoting lots of friendly bacteria. Red cabbage also contains plenty of disease fighting antioxidants responsible for its pigmentation.
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  11. Pack smart. Treat yourself to a funky new wide-brimmed thermos flask to take soup, stews and chillis to work. Fill it with boiling water for a minute or two before emptying, then add your hot lunch; no need to microwave at work. The money you save on takeaway soup will pay for it in a week.

3 Ways With Squash

  • Chop up your squash and roast with some olive oil, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add them to soups or stews for some fibre-rich slow-releasing energy and ditch your bread roll.
  • Store your roasted squash in the fridge as a filling base for an autumnal salad. Place a handful into a lidded jar or container, add some sliced red onion and chopped red pepper. Crumble over 50g of feta cheese and top with two handfuls of green leaves such as rocket or watercress. A dressing of balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil will perfectly complement the roasted squash.
  • Blend the roasted squash with some pine nuts, butterbeans, garlic and lemon juice to make a yummy dip. Oatcakes, chicory leaves and celery sticks make tasty dippers.

Becky Alexander is a food writer (The Guild of Food Writers) and food book editor for companies such as Dorling Kindersley, Penguin and Bloombsury. She writes a fortnightly food column for The Herts Advertiser newspaper focussing on seasonal, local food. Becky recently appeared on a BBC Radio programme giving commuters easy ideas for their lunches. Michelle Lake DipION CNHC mBANT is a registered Nutritional Therapist and has been running her own busy practice, Mission Nutrition in St Albans for over 7 years. She trained for four years at the Institute of Optimum Nutrition on its internationally acclaimed nutritional therapy course. She is a member of BANT (British Association for Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy and The Nutritional Therapy Council (NTC).

packed

 

Becky Alexander, Michelle Lake
Packed
£12.99, pre-order from Amazon