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a box filled with different types of food on a table


Five student-friendly lunch box ideas

By BethanyGlover 04 Mar 2022

Workload, commuting, budgeting - there's a lot to think about at university without wondering about what to have for lunch on top of everything! If you're like me, it feels like a daily struggle to come up with ideas. I either end up cobbling together a random selection of food or spending a fortune on take aways.

I started searching and putting together a Pinterest board  with recipes that were relatively quick and easy to create. To help motivate me with this, I bought myself this lunch box which you can see in all my images throughout this article.

So here is a week of tried and tested packed lunch ideas that can be prepared the night before and just pulled out of the fridge in the morning!

a plate of food with rice and vegetables

Day One

For all of my lunch options, I like to have a range of different components - I find I get bored just eating a pot of something. For this lunch, I cooked up some pasta and made a basic tomato pasta sauce with canned tomatoes and added in kidney beans, some fresh spinach and seasoning (for this pasta I added salt, pepper, paprika and chilli flakes - but obviously totally up to you!) Tip: sometimes I make a double portion, then have half for my dinner and the other half as a pasta salad. Alongside my mains, I created a mini “salad” consisting of spinach and walnuts with a lemon juice dressing. Every day I like to include some sort of fruit (grapes today), and a snack bar.

a tray of food on a plate

Day Two

This lunch is a new addition thanks to TikTok/ Pinterest - the rice paper spring rolls. Although they did take me a bit of practice, once you get there, they are so quick and simple. For the filling of the roll, you can use whatever you fancy - sometimes I find it easier to just buy a packet of pre-cut stir fry veggies. Alternatively, if I have time, I quite like strips of pepper, carrot, cucumber and avocado. Although the rolls can be eaten plain, I personally like a bit of soy sauce. As well as the rolls, today I added grapes, a couple of chocolate digestives and some crispy M&Ms. Yum!

a box filled with different types of food on a plate

Day 3

This lunch I think is one of the quickest I find to prepare. I cut up a pitta bread or two into strips as well as pepper (I also use carrot and cucumber if I have any in.) Then I use one of the sections of my box to put hummus in for dipping. I also love tomatoes and olives and I think they work well with this tapas style lunch. I always need a sweet treat to give me a little boost through the afternoon.

a box filled with different types of food on a plate

Day 4

For this lunch, I created a rice and quinoa salad and added sun-dried tomatoes, walnuts, avocado and seasoning (salt, pepper, chilli flakes, cumin.) Although I cooked the rice and quinoa myself, I know there are packet options available in supermarkets for as little as £1 - this is a really speedy option if you don't have time! You can add whatever ingredients you fancy to the salad - I tend to use things that I already have in. Aside from the rice I added a small side of Spinach which I actually quite like to mix into the main rice salad. Then I added some blueberries and mini Percy Pigs.

a sandwich sitting on top of a table

Day 5

Sometimes you just can't beat a classic sandwich! For this sandwich, I have included some slices of edam cheese, olives, lettuce, and hummus. Tip: I am not a fan of sliced bread and find that fresh baguettes go hard super quickly. Therefore, I would recommend 'bread in a bag'. They stay preserved longer and can be frozen then simply baked in the oven. Alongside my sandwich l have included an apple, mango, walnuts and a couple chunks of dark chocolate. Also, I found fruit winders again the other day which I used to love at primary school so that has been a nice bit of nostalgia having those again! 

So, there we have it- five packed lunch ideas! If you want some more meal ideas, you can have a look at some of our recipes here.

Happy lunching!