Quick, Tasty and Cheap Packed Lunch Ideas

by Tefal Team on 14 September 2022
  • Bored of the same old sarnies? Upgrade to yummy, cost-effective lunches kids (and grown-ups!) will love. From bulk prepping to freezer friendly food, these simple recipes are just what every busy household needs.

  • Packed lunch heroes

    Changing up the lunch menu just takes a bit of planning and a few kitchen essentials. For starters, investing in good food containers and reusable drinks bottles will save cash in the long run on pricey pre-packed items.

    The freezer is also your friend: make ahead and freeze sandwiches  and baked goodies, prolong the life of bread, pittas and wraps so you can vary things up through the week and keep leftovers for standby packed lunches.

  • Extra, extra

    An easy way to save time and money is to make a bit more at dinnertime to use for lunch the next day. Pizza and pasta are perfect, while a roast will give you cooked meats for wraps, veggies for frittata and mash for loaded potato cakes.

    As the temperature drops, soups and stews are great meals to warm up hungry tums. Make extra of this classic leek and potato soup or this easy sausage stew and pop in a food flask for a lunch they’ll really look forward to.

  • Bake away

    If the oven’s on for other cooking, have a few quick bakes ready to throw in for packed lunches. Pizza pinwheels take minimal prep, while these veggie nuggets are surprisingly straightforward and freeze well. They can also be shallow fried or air fried.

    Muffins make a delicious change from sarnies and wraps. Cheap, simple to make and great for playing with flavours, try these carrot, spinach and pumpkin seed muffins, eggy bread muffins and – for those with a sweet tooth – scrummy blueberry muffins.

  • Slam dunk!

    Whip out the blender and give ‘em something tasty to dip into with homemade pea hummus, a speedy butter bean dip or a superb salsa (skip the jalapeño if you don’t want it spicy).

    And to dip with? Veg batons, sliced pittas, bread sticks (made with leftover pizza dough – genius!) or cheese straws are all great options.

  • Your version

    Treats turn a packed lunch from so-so to let’s go! But pre-packed snacks soon add up (in plastic waste as well as pounds) so switch them for these money-saving alternatives.

    Just five ingredients and five minutes prep will turn out these fabulous flapjacks. Classic brownies are always a winner, while this choc chip cookie brittle makes baking biscuits a whole lot easier.

    Stop buying small pots of yogurt and save money by spooning a portion from a larger pot into a small leak proof container. Do the same with homemade jellies and mousses.

    While you’re on a roll, use your air fryer to make popcorn and crisps – cheaper than individual bags and a great way to try out new flavours.

  • Drink up

    Don’t waste money on pre-bought drinks in throwaway containers, fill a reusable bottle with these thrifty thirst-quenchers instead.

    Infused water couldn’t be simpler. Pop fruit, veg and herbs in a jug of water, store it in the fridge for a few hours or overnight, then strain and serve! Bonus tip: save the strained ingredients to make delicious smoothies.

    This lovely strawberry lemonade is sugar free and super easy, and we’re sure this homemade chocolate milk will go down a treat.

    Lunches packed with flavour that save you time and money – what’s not to love?

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