Inside: If you are bored with the same old packaged sandwich everyday and you hate the meal deals which make your lunch cheaper if you buy a single-use plastic bottle of water that you don't even want (what is up with that???) check out our guide to plastic free lunches.
The following is a list of easy to make lunches that can be made completely plastic free. But first, a quick word on eating out.
Plastic free eating out
If you have a busy schedule (and you already have to get up earlier than you would like) it can be difficult to consider making a packed lunch for the day. Grabbing lunch on the go is convenient and easy but there is no doubt that it is having a dramatic effect on the amount of single-use plastic we use. But there is another way. Try these simple steps and see what a difference it can make to your use of disposable plastic:
- Keep a reusable coffee cup in your bag (lots of cafes now offer a discount if you bring your own cup)
- Keep a lunch box and a spork in your bag so that you can ask for takeaway without the packaging
- Refuse plastic straws
- Refuse excess packaging
- Complain about meal deals which are cheaper if you buy a plastic bottle of drink
- Look for items that are packaging free
Plastic free lunch ideas
1. Eggs/beans on homemade toast
This is a great, healthy and quick option for those of us who work from home. Check out our guide to plastic free bread for loads of options that require minimal effort for great tasting bread.
Whether bought from a farmer's market, included in a veg box or grown in your garden, there are a number of ways to get hold of plastic free salad leaves. Experimenting with what you want to put with your salad leaves is an endless activity. Here are some of our favourite plastic free options:
- Tinned tuna and sweetcorn
- Grated carrot and beetroot
- Cheese and sun-dried tomatoes
- Soy-flavoured seeds (you can get plastic free seeds from a plastic free shop or online at Plastic Free Pantry) – to make them soy flavour just heat them up with soy sauce
3. Home-made hummus / cashew nut dip and crackers
My favourite hummus recipe and cashew nut dip recipe can be found in our plastic free recipe blog.
But if time is tight or I don't have all the ingredients I will blend a tin of chickpeas with sun dried tomatoes and oil (plus a little salt) to make a delicious, super-simple version.
My favourite cracker recipe is this one for simple spelt crackers which taste really good.
4. Scrambled eggs and avocado on a bed of greens
If you haven't already used this idea for your plastic free breakfast then this can also be a great lunch option. It will keep you feeling full for longer as eggs, avocado and greens offer a great balance. They can all easily be bought plastic free. To create an even healthier balance perhaps add an orange or some berries for extra vitamins and carbs.
5. Pasta and pesto
I am lucky enough to have an amazing plastic free shop near me (like this one in Bristol) so I can easily get hold of plastic free pasta. If you don't have a plastic free shop nearby look out for pasta in boxes (with a small plastic window) or buy online from Plastic Free Pantry. Pesto can easily be found in a jar or you could try making your own.
This is a great option if you are short on time as you can make it the night before or you could make double one lunchtime so that you have leftovers for the next day.
6. Home-made soup and soda bread
Soup is an excellent way to up your intake of vegetables and it can also be great for using up veg that is past it's best. There are loads of simple recipes online so just search for soup using the ingredients that you have and you are sure to find a decent recipe. Soda bread is really simple to make. Soda bread recipes often use buttermilk (which comes in plastic pots) but as a plastic free alternative to buttermilk you can add lemon juice or vinegar to milk. Our favourite recipe for soda bread is this one on the BBC website.
Bread can often be bought plastic free from a bakery or you can make your own using plastic free ingredients (check out our guide to plastic free bread here). There are many topping options that come plastic free too. Jam, peanut butter and marmite come in glass jars - to name just a few!
What about plastic free drinks?
Don't forget to stay hydrated too! Here are just a few of the plastic free options available.
- Loose tea (choose carefully and look out for hidden plastic within the cardboard box)
- Coffee from a tin or glass jar
- Juice from a glass bottle
- Milk from a glass bottle
- Homemade oat milk (see here for a plastic free recipe)
- Tap water
Can you go plastic free?
Plastic free eating in and eating out can seem like an impossible task at first but as you can see - there are options available. Good luck and please let us know how you get on.
Thank you for reading. Check out our plastic free breakfast ideas to keep breakfast plastic free too.