Minimal effort, maximum taste: the best packed lunch and meal prep recipes
The Hungry Hungry Husband is a collection of meal prep recipes that are perfect packed lunch ideas for adults.
It’s a kind of “recipe scrapbook” of dishes from all over the place that I’ve tried and tested, and found to be worthy of the perfect packed lunch — or, to be more precise, recipes that The Hungry Hungry Husband himself (AKA The HHH) has given his certified approval!
The criteria is simple: the finished product must be tasty (of course!), filling, and appropriate to eat cold & on the go.
That last point might be quite specific to us, but The HHH works a very long day in a manual job where there is never access to something useful like a microwave or, you know, fancy contraptions like a table and a plate… A cold, practical packed lunch is the only way to go! However, should you prefer a more civilised luncheon, most of the recipes are easily re-heatable. I’ll give tips about this wherever possible.
When did it all begin?
Back in 2013, I moved up to Oxfordshire to live with the then “Hungry Hungry Boyfriend” and had a fair bit of time on my hands while I was job-hunting. In order to feel useful and productive (read: instead of lounging around in my pants all day watching Homes Under the Hammer…), I used to get up with the then-HHB and make him sandwiches for lunch while he made us both breakfast. It was a pretty sweet deal all round really as he felt pampered having his lunch made and I felt pampered having my breakfast made!
So what was wrong with that?!
Well, I realised just how much bread we were getting through each week… Starting work at 7am and finishing around 5:30pm — in a physical, outdoors job — means that The HHH needs two “lunches” a day (one at 10am, one at 1pm), plus snacks, just to keep him going until home-time.
Here came the calculations… 2 slices of bread for our breakfast (boiled eggs & soldiers, thanks for asking); 4 slices for The HHH’s lunch; 2 for mine; and then maybe another 2 smothered in PB&J after work, and we’re getting through 10 slices a day. A whole loaf every two days! Not very good for the bank balance — or the waistline!
As someone who loves food and really enjoys cooking, I knew I could come up with some much better lunchtime alternatives. Eating the same sandwiches day in, day out gets boring, right? And there you have it! The hunt for the perfect packed lunch ideas had begun and the recipe collection was born!
The outcome? Meal prep recipes and a proper packed lunch!
There are so many surprising positives to this endeavour that I’ve discovered along the way. For one, preparing these lunches in the morning is, more often than not, quicker than it used to be to make sandwiches. Who’d have thought it?! Also, the food is healthier for us, even though I’m not compromising on taste. Most importantly for me, it’s miles cheaper than buying meal deals or going to that food truck that comes by the office at lunchtime. (Although the ones that come to our business park are reeeally good. Thanks, The Wandering Feast for making me want to spend all my money every week!)
I’m hoping that my packed lunch ideas will inspire more people to sample the delights of the home-made, non-sandwich lunch — the lunch that is delicious, hearty, healthy, practical, and cost-effective.
*read more about The HHH and I here*