Eight simple lunch ideas for busy mums
All too often the idea of meal planning focuses just on dinner. We might know in advance that we're going to make a beef casserole or maybe a leg of lamb. And for many people, breakfast options are well stocked in the kitchen, with fruit smoothies on the menu, or eggs on hand for a quick omelette. But for many of us, lunch time arrives and we're standing in front of the fridge wondering what to make out of a carrot and a jar of mustard.
If you're guilty of ignoring one of the three main meals of your day, here are some quick and easy options that you can put on the menu from tomorrow...
1. Rice paper rolls
Stockpile these easy rolls in the fridge. All you need is leftover roast chicken or a handful of cooked prawns, as well as chopped lettuce, thinly sliced cucumber, avocado chunks, grated carrot and fresh mint. Gow gee wrappers are available at most supermarkets - you just moisten them one at a time in warm water then fill with your ingredients. Roll them up from the bottom to the centre and then from the left side over to the right side, and tuck in the top side to secure them.
2. Coronation chicken roll
Mix some shredded cooked chicken in a bowl with a squirt of low-fat mayo, a dollop of natural yoghurt, some fruit chutney, one teaspoon of curry powder, a handful of sultanas, and a few pieces of chopped apple and celery. Pop on a wholegrain roll with some lettuce and you're set!
3. Ploughman's lunch
This classic English pub fare can be made healthy by simply making a platter for yourself on a chopping board to dine alfresco. Try some slices of apple or pear, a wedge of mature cheddar, a handful of cherry tomatoes, one boiled egg, some pickled onions, sliced ham off the bone, mustard or pickles, and a good-quality crusty wholegrain roll.
4. Boiled egg and salad wrap
Boiled eggs are a great thing to keep in the fridge. They're perfect as a snack on their own, but also make great fillings for wraps or sandwiches. Simply peel and slice a boiled egg and use it to bulk out a salad wrap (mountain bread is a great low-kilojoule option).
5. Vegetable-packed frittata
This is a simple meal that works for three or four lunches. Whisk six eggs in a bowl and throw in two cups of vegies - think baby spinach, roast pumpkin and peas. Then place the mixture into a round cake tin sprayed with olive oil, top with a sprinkling of grated parmesan cheese, and bake in the oven at 200*C for 20 minutes until golden brown.
6. Tomato and basil bruschetta
Place a couple of chopped ripe tomatoes in a bowl with a handful of chopped basil leaves. Drizzle with olive oil and a little splash of apple cider vinegar, season and set aside. Toast some wholemeal sourdough and then rub each piece with a halved garlic clove. Top with the tomato and basil mix and enjoy!
7. Stuffed sweet potato
Another great way to set yourself up for a couple of lunches is to cook two or three small sweet potatoes in the oven until they're soft in the middle and crispy on the outside, then store in the fridge. When you're ready to eat, warm one up in the microwave and slice open, filling with anything from leftover bolognese to a mix of tuna and low-fat mayonnaise. Serve with a crisp green salad for a satisfying lunch.
8. Cheesy egg toastie
Pop your bread in the toaster, then beat one egg in a small bowl with a splash of water and season to taste. Heat a small frying pan over medium heat and spray with olive oil, then throw in the egg and move the pan around so that the egg covers the base of the pan like a crepe. In the centre, place a quarter cup of grated or chopped cheese of your choice. Allow the egg to cook for one minute, and then fold in the four sides to form a square the same shape as your bread. Cook for 30 seconds more before sliding onto your toast.