Devoting time to preparing a packed lunch five days in a row can be a stretch. But it’s OK – no one is marking you out of 10, least of all us. There are days when we just don’t get around to planning our lunches in advance, and when 1pm chimes, the call of the cornish pasty is strong. We would be lying if we didn’t admit that sometimes our lunch consists of said pasty and a Fanta. (Shock, horror!)
But there is a middle ground. If you’ve arrived at work empty-handed and there is no office canteen or sandwich chain to fall back on, help is at hand in the form of the urban convenience store packed lunch. But, barring Monster Munch and booze, what can we concoct in desperate times from our local store? The answer is, a surprising amount. Just make sure you have access to a can opener and a microwave …
• Canned fish is a failsafe option. A tuna salad of jarred green olives, an iceberg lettuce, with an olive oil, mustard and red wine vinegar dressing, works a treat. Keep the bottles in your desk drawer for future use (and kid everyone that chinking sound every time you close it is your stash of brandy). Toasted granary bread is a fine accompaniment.
• Mash sardines or smoked mackerel with a dollop of creme fraiche or yoghurt, a squeeze of lemon and a grind of black pepper, and have it on crackers.
• One of our favourites is the classic sachet noodles, but with added bling. Pour boiling water into the noodles then add a sprinkle of chilli sauce and any fresh veg you can get your hands on: a sliced spring onion, some parsley or coriander, chopped pepper, or even iceberg lettuce.
• A tin of tomato soup is hard to beat, particularly when paired with a cheddar and pickle sandwich. Homely, delicious and often unfairly disregarded in favour of “fresh” soups.
• If all else fails, a ready-salted crisp and hummus sandwich will hit the beige spot.