Home visit: how to pack a healthier lunchbox

Food being packed into lunchboxes. One has compartments with different food, there’s pasta salad in a round plastic tub.

Home visit: how to pack a healthier lunchbox

Get into the habit of a new, healthy way to eat-on-the go with five packed meal ideas to see you through a working week. You’ll waste less, boost well-being and save cash! All you need to start is the right box.

Meet Cosima, our food-on-the-go guru

“I used to take a packed lunch to work because there were no real options for vegans. If you have a microwave at work then you can take in whatever you want, but if there isn’t one, you want to pack food that is still tasty when it’s cold. I would cook a meal in the evening and make sure there was enough for me to have for lunch the next day.”

Berry bento box

For this healthier sweet treat, pack your individual ingredients into a bento-style lunch box – the individual compartments will stop ingredients from getting soggy before you’re ready to eat them. This is a twist on the breakfast bircher, with yogurt as the base mixed with your choice of fruit, seeds and nuts. “I’m vegan, so I would use coconut yogurt,” says Cosima.

Easy summer pasta salad

If morning’s are a rush, prep your ingredients the night before and store them individually in containers in the fridge. In the morning all you have to do is mix a meal-sized portion in your lunchbox. Mix cooked spelt pasta, fresh spinach, cherry tomatoes, red onion, green olives and sunflower seeds. Dress with olive oil flavored with Italian mixed herbs, salt and black pepper.

“When you’re packing your lunch, pick something that will taste good cold. Pizza can be nice cold but it can also be gross! Pasta can taste great cold, but rather than using a tomato sauce, try something more salady.”

Cosima

Carry out lentil stew

Batch cook this and divide it into portable dishes to keep in the fridge. Before work, grab one and go. Melt coconut oil in a pot. Add diced red onion and garlic, toss until glazed. Mix in a teaspoon of turmeric, a can of coconut milk and cup of red lentils. Simmer for 8 to 10 minutes. Stir occasionally. Add water if needed and chopped cherry tomatoes at the end. Season with salt and pepper.

“When you’re making food on the go, think about how you’ll transport it and make sure you have something that’s up to the job. If you want to make soup, have a jar or flask that won’t leak – I’ve had a few accidents in the past!”

Cosima

Veggie ball wrap

Upgrade your sandwich to a wrap. IKEA veggie balls picked up from the freezer section of the Food Market are the star of Cosima’s vegan version. “Heat your veggie balls in the oven. Lay a few with chopped tomatoes, spinach, lettuce, spring onions, and cucumber on your wrap. Spoon on a dressing of soy yogurt seasoned with salt, pepper and mixed herbs then wrap everything up and enjoy on the go.”

Leftover lunch feast

Turn your leftover veggie balls into a pick-and-mix meal full of goodness. “We’ve been vegan since New Year’s Day 2014. We took a 30-day challenge and didn’t stop!” says Cosima of her and husband Mel’s diet. “Mel studied nutrition so with each meal we have a multigrain wild rice or bulgur wheat couscous, plus a protein and green veg.” A handy tip to balance what you put in your lunchbox!

“I’m a big fan of the IKEA veggie balls – they’re good to eat cold. You can cook a batch of them and eat them at night, then save some and have them the next day in a wrap. Or when you’re travelling you can take them as a snack.”

Cosima

We love to see our customers get creative with our products. Go for it! But please note that altering or modifying IKEA products so they can no longer be re-sold or used for their original purpose, means the IKEA limited warranties and your right to return the products will be lost.

Made by
Interior designer: Ashlyn Gibson
Photographer: Benjamin Edwards
Art director: Jules Rogers
Writer: Helen Bazuaye
Follow Cosima @ricemilkmaid