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30 January 2008

Fast food

This isn't a post about that greasy stuff that comes in a polystyrene box, it's about the food you eat when you're in a hurry. Yesterday I spent too much time on the computer (because Hanno used up all our internet Gbs streaming German radio stations, and now we're speed limited) and didn't have time to pack my lunch for work. I didn't get mad at him, I just showed him how to check our usage and got on with it...slowly. LOL

Anyhow, the result was I made a very quick pumpernickel cheese sandwich, grabbed some grapes and peaches and off I went. It was a delicious snack box. I grazed on the grapes in the late morning and ate the sandwich and peaches when our little group all went outside at 12.30 to watch the rain falling.

It made me think about other fast lunches I could make. I have no doubt, with the increased time I'm spending at my volunteer job, that I will have the need to make similar lunches in the near future. Yesterday's lunch took two minutes to get into a lunch box, I think I could also do a one minute lunch. If I cut the sandwich out and took just fruit and cashews, that would be the fastest food I could think of. I'd be quite satisfied with that and as long as I had a bottle of water, or tea in winter, I'd be happy.

I just know there are readers here who would make a wonderful fast lunch that could be taken to work or school, so I'm hoping you'll share your ideas with me. I'm not one to prepare anything the night before and generally our leftovers are eaten at home, but I'm happy to read all the ideas that present themselves here. I might even be convinced to try new ways, so please let me know your ideas about fast portable food.

And here is a little article about lunches from the Melbourne Age. "The older generation are very wary," he says. LOL, that's me alright. ; )

Please check
out Darlene's post about recycling here. It fits in well with yesterday's post and is very interesting.


  1. I love to eat 'proper meals' at work when I can , especially in the winter, so I deliberately make extra leftovers and freeze them in small re-usable pots to warm up at work in the microwave. It takes literally seconds to grab one in the morning, along with a piece or two of fruit. Before I had a microwave I used to use a thermos wide-necked flask but that meant a few minutes heating things up in the morning before leaving.

    Other things I like to have as lunch/snacks are: seed mixes, crackerbreads, dried fruit (easy to store in the office). I also like to take fresh bread and homemade hummous. The hummous needs to be prepared in advance but will last a few days in the fridge. I have LOTS of small pots of different sizes, which hold anything from a tablspoon of seeds or nuts, through to ones which hold a full meal - eg layers of chilli on the bottom, rice on the top.

  2. Rhonda,

    Great post! Now that I am back into the working world I too need to find lunch ideas to bring with me. Unlike my old employer which was located near a small locally owned deli where I went everyday for lunch, this employer is not located near anything. And the workplace cafeteria charges highway robbery if you ask me.

    Today I had left over wholewheat pasta with Indian curry seasoning ( i know, I'm weird) and cheese melted on top. For morning snack I had crackers and cheese. Plus half an apple from my coworker. For afternoon snack I put together my own trail mix: chocolate chips, dried cranberries and Cheerios. I usually keep a stash of tea at work which I have in the morning and I brought in a jug of juice to leave in the lunchroom fridge for the week. This way I am not putting money into the vending machine for an afternoon drink.

    I plan to start making muffins more often and bringing those in for snacks; and making casseroles for my main meal.

    In the summer once it's blueberry season than I can just go for a walk on my lunch and pick them straight off the bush :) Can't get any more fast food than that!

  3. Rhonda-I make lunches for my daughter and her husband and I usually use pyrex containers with lids and put a leftover entree and vegie in each and pop them in the freezer to use. Then I just take it out and throw a fruit, napkin, fork and spoon in their bag and it is done. Luckily they have access to a microwave at the uni.

  4. Hi Rhonda, when I worked in an office, I used to keep little tins of salmon, tomato relish and mayonaise in the office fridge. On my way to work, when I let the ducks out on my way out the door, I would take a bag with me and bandicoot a fresh potato or two out of the garden, and pick some fresh spinach, silverbeet, parsely, basil or whatever I went past.

    When I got to work I would just stick the bag in the fridge until lunch time, and then cook the potatoe in the microwave, chop up the greens and open the salmon while it was cooking, and then mix the whole lot up with some relish and mayo - yum!

    I also made batches of muffins on the weekends and froze them individually. Each morning I would just grab a couple and pop them in my bag as well.

    I used to set myself challenges to not spend a cent at work during the week - and mostly I achieved this! (mostly)

  5. Rhonda,
    Such a good post that I'm sure many people don't think of too often! I am fortunate to work in an office that consists of just my boss and I. My boss lives in town just a few blocks from the office so he eats at home everyday. I, on the other hand, live 10 miles from town so I have to bring lunch if I don't want to pay a fortune for fast food (the bad kind!).

    Each Sunday night, I prepare fruit for the coming week. I will wash a huge batch of grapes and put them in a container. In season, I will cut up watermelon or cantaloupe and bring that as well. Sometimes I will buy bananas or apples to take in for the week, also. This way on Monday morning I can just grab the fruit and put it in the fridge at the office and keep that there so I don't have to worry about that part of my lunch/snacks. I also keep a can of almonds or walnuts in my desk.

    Each evening I try to prepare something for the next day but sometimes I forget or am too busy to even think about this part of lunch. So then the next morning I am scrambling for something to take! I have been known to bring in a sandwich that has just salad greens on bread with a dot of mayo. I find it yummy! Sometimes I will bring a plain uncooked potato and throw it in the microwave for a few minutes at work. I usually keep butter in the fridge at work so will have a baked potato. Especially yummy on cold winter days!


  6. I don't think I have any lunches as quick as yours - I admit I tend to eat a decent amount at lunchtime so fruit etc wouldn't satisfy me. Also, being vegetarian, there's only so many sandwich fillings available, so I have to get creative! Recently I've been having a lot of marmite sandwiches (simple, but I've been craving it), crusty bread or pitta and hummous, and pasta salad. Then I usually take some raw veggies, fruit and a treat like a small amount of chocolate. My standby for mornings when I realise we're out of bread is pasta (I keep some 5 min cook / macaroni type stuff in) and pesto, which takes 10 mins total to prepare, in between ironing etc.

  7. Thanks for this post Rhonda. There is no faster food than fresh fruit or raw salad-type vegetables!

    My daughter's teacher last year used to keep a box of salada crackers in her desk. That with a small tin of tuna is a very satisfying lunch. I also enjoy a tub of yoghurt with two pieces of fruit if I find myself at my children's school during lunch time (a fairly regular occurrence).

    I think fast lunches from home are just a matter of being organised. My husband takes leftovers in those tupperware microwave containers. The kids take sandwiches, a muffin/cake or crackers and a piece of fruit.

    Even my own preference for gourmet sandwiches is quick! I prepare roasted red capsicum & eggplant myself and keep the slices in the fridge so I can assemble my favourite flavours in a flash.

  8. I have little glass jars, and use them to bring my lunch to work. They are usually leftovers- tomorrow's lunch will be chicken breast with sweet potato casserole. I also crock pot stell cut oats overnight with dried fruit and bring that as lunch; another quick filling lunch is wraps with chicken and apples.

  9. Rhonda, I wrote a post with lots of ideas for lunches in November.

    Here's the link:


  10. Funnily enough this is almost the opposite of what a friend was telling me when I was in Brissy a fortnight ago! She has two children and fairly special diets and she spends about 20mins each morning making sandwiches and packing them into small plastic tubs, filling smaller tubs with wholesome yoghurt from a large pot in the fridge, putting chopped wet fruits into another tub, and then sultanas into tiny tubs, before filling drink bottles.

    In contrast her friend's sister-in-law packs lunches in 3 minutes flat because, with the exception of sandwiches, everything comes in its own packaging, straight out of carboard pacakaging in the pantry.

    I gather than many schools now have packaging-free lunch policies though I haven't encountered that up here in north Qld. From what I've seen of my daughter's peers' lunchboxes a policy like that would turn many parents' habits on their heads.

    The contradiction of your experience is interesting, though I think it perhaps comes down to the need to package children's lunches securely for the 'ride' in the school bag! I have no doubt that you take better care of your food on the run.

  11. I tend to take leftovers for myself when I'm working, and keeping a stash of snacky things in the desk is also a good move.

    I pack food for my son, who eats small bits throughout the day (he's one) rather than big meals. I've started packing things like sultanas in small re-usable containers. I find it helpful to do a few at a time (when I buy a new packet for example) rather than prepare it all every day we want to go out. Then I just have to find a few homemade 'packets' of food.

  12. i agree with all the hummus's so easy and good with veggies or pita bread. i usually grab an apple and granola bar of some sort with a big container of water. granola itself is great, especially with yogurt. any fruits and veggie slices: carrots, cukes, peppers, broc, califlower, etc. cheese sticks or slices. little containers of applesauce. like has been said, seeds and nuts, trail mix, dried fruits...all are great too. pretzels and crackers. there are all sorts of quick and energy giving options!

  13. My favourite easy to grab food when your off to work in a hurry is a BANANA. Usually always have some bananas in the house. Sometimes also grab an APPLE. Also always keep cereal and nuts at work in case in a real hurry and then can have this for morning tea or lunch. Sometimes have cracker type biscuits and vegemite/promite too.Probably not defined as a 'proper meal' but all very quick to grab and satisfying too if you are in a real hurry to get out the door ! Cheers :)

  14. You might like this site:

    It's a mom who makes really cool bento lunches. She has a lot of good tips on fast, healthful meals.

    Another tip is to prep all the little snacky things like a week ahead of time and then you can grab and go. My favorite is cheese and apples.

  15. Good post! I stay home with my children, but I find that lunch time can be disorganized and stressful. My children and I have been talking about different things that we can do for lunch that don't take much time! Thanks for the post. Much food for thought.

  16. We are back to school this week so are getting back into packed lunches again; I like easy to prepare homemade lunches, so these things are part of what he takes -
    muffins from the freezer, we usually make a selection of different types of savoury vegetable or sweet fruit; homemade yoghurt with a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar; small tubs of chopped cheese/quark/hoummus with wholewheat crackers or bread. And fresh fruit - always quick and reliable. When tomatoes are in season he takes cherry tomatoes, sometimes with olives and cucumber chunks.

    Sometimes there will be leftovers from the night before that will be ok cold for lunch, so it's a matter of scooping them into a container. Usually pasta based meals.

    And there is a small tub of nuts/seeds/dried fruit on standby for those days we run out of options or need something extra.

    It takes a max of 10 minutes to chop/scoop/pack whatever is needed and have it all cleaned up in the morning.

  17. R, tins or sachets of tuna & salmon are the saviour of the working woman! Fits easily into your handbag. Bananas on toast are my standby Saturday breakfast when I'm working - I squeeze in a snack while AM is on. Also, yoghurt is easily popped into a home container - add a generous dollop of homemade jam (and some cream if you're extra naughty) and you even have dessert.


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