If you ever stop to think about how much waste buying lunch every day creates (not to mention the costs that pile up), it’s pretty shocking.
Bringing your own lunch can be one of the best ways to reduce waste – and this isn’t the only advantage: packing a zero waste lunch in a cute container is both healthier and cheaper than rushing to Pret or M&S when the clock hits 1pm.
But finding inspiration can be hard. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut of leftovers or uninspiring cheese sarnies, and lunch recipes we see on Instagram often seem like a lot of effort. But we’re here to help with some Instagram accounts with great (and easy!) recipes, plus nice lunchboxes to inspire you for weeks to come.
Warm, filling and healthy, soup is the perfect lunchtime meal, especially for those cold winter months.
This hearty Tuscan white bean and kale soup is super easy to make and is sure to keep you energetic through your afternoon of work.
Above: Healthy and easy - the Tuscan white bean and kale soup by @lindsaysb
A vacuum insulated food flask will keep food hot for up to six hours and the vacuum seal ensures you don’t get any of those dreaded soup spills in your bag. Zero waste lunches don’t get much more convenient than this.
For something a bit lighter, try this hot and sour soup with shiitake mushrooms – a healthy dupe for a takeout favourite.
Above: The filling soup alternative - hot and sour soup with shiitake mushrooms by @girl.on.the.range
You can’t go wrong with a sandwich – it’s a classic for a reason. We fell in love with this sophisticated egg sandwich with tomato jam and herbs. You’ll have to make the jam in advance but then it’s easy to throw together in the morning and enjoy over the crossword later.
Above: Nutritious egg sandwich with tomato jam and herbs by @acozykitchen
To avoid a soggy, squashed sandwich, a simple stainless-steel lunchbox will keep it safe until you’re ready to munch.
Weelicious makes incredible lunchboxes for her kids that give us adults plenty of inspo and variety as well. Have a look at this example!
Above: Creative and diverse lunch box by @weelicious
Light and refreshing in summer, healthy all year round; salads are a great packed lunch option. Take your mind away from images of droopy lettuce leaves and get inspired by all the creative salad ideas on Instagram. The couscous salad bursting with vegetables pictured below is just one example of many.
Above: Superfood couscous and vegetable salad by @thekitchenista
Salad can seem tricky to transport, but a 3-in-1 lunchbox will allow you to bring both salad and snacks in one container, without anything getting jumbled up (no one likes vinaigrette on their apple, after all!).
Perhaps you’re theoretically on board with the idea of zero waste lunch, but like to have a hot meal? Here’s your solution: the incredible Swivlit, a microwave-proof container that keeps things warm, cold or even cooks them throughout the morning (if you chuck in dry or raw ingredients with some liquid and pop it in the microwave for about 3 minutes).
Use it to bring a lunch like the orecchiette with raw tomato sauce below - or any easy recipe you come across, really! They’ll all be kept warm for you to enjoy at lunch with no waiting in the queue for the microwave!