Monday, 7 July 2014

Lunch bunch revisited

Like a particularly stupid version of Pavlov’s dog, I never seem to learn. Despite the fact that I wrote a post over three years ago about the fact that buying lunch “to go” was generally an overpriced disappointment to be avoided, I have fallen back into bad habits. Well, I say this as if it a new thing – the truth is that for much of the Annus Separatus I got pretty lax about putting together my own lunches, and the practice of nipping to the shops, rather than spending five minutes putting my own lunchbox together, has rumbled on.

At least I am consistent, and the chief recommendation in that 2011 entry still stands – if you’re going to buy lunch on the go, then I maintain that M&S is far and away your best option. I’ve recently developed a slightly worrying obsession with their turkey, pastrami and Emmental flatbread which, at £4 a pop, is not a cheap habit. It is very tasty though (if you are into deli style flavours) and amazing “value” at just 7 pro points (and less than 300 calories).

Elsewhere, the pickings are slim, especially for the perennial dieter. I find that both Pret and Boots are consistently disappointing, and it is trickier to count accurately if you go to an independent outlet. So we come back round to the fact that the best way to ensure that you are getting a good, filling, low point, tasty lunch is to make your own.

As of the beginning of September, I am moving offices – so I’ll be bidding a fond farewell to my current Leeds city centre location and a cheery halloo to an office park in the middle of a slightly-out-of-centre wasteland. This will severely curtail the options at lunchtime – it’s the park canteen or nothing really – and will hopefully be the additional spur I need to break the takeaway habit. Which can only be good news for my poor, beleagured wallet: I saw an article online the other day that suggested that most office workers spend around £2,500 a year on buying food to go (this figure included takeaway coffees and extra bits and pieces of food shopping acquired on the way home but still).

So I need to get my thinking cap on and come up with some delicious, easy lunches – I mean, sandwiches are great, but a bit of variety might be nice. As if by magic, this extremely pertinent article popped into my blog feed recently so I’ll be interested to see what suggestions the author comes up with – and I also will be having a trawl through this lovely blog as Nicola always seems to have the most interesting and varied meal plans for both lunch and dinner.

Let’s see if another three years will be sufficient to break the M&S habit altogether…?


  1. This has been my first week on Slimming World and it has driven home to me the need to be prepared for lunch! It's just really difficult to manage otherwise.

    I've been eating a lot of rice & pasta salads mainly and they are great for making me feel fuller and last a lot longer than a sandwich so I feel like I'm eating for longer (very important for me).

    I'm just glad there is no M&S anywhere near my office, otherwise I'd be in there every day.

    Good luck with finding inspiration :) x

  2. Thank you for mentioning my blog :) I was so chuffed I rang my mum to tell her! I currently work in the middle of a park, which helps, and I learnt the hard way that school dinners are a no-no! I am moving jobs to Notting hill in August though, so I'm hoping I don't slip!

  3. Yes, I too have noticed a correlation between dieting success and lunchtime planning. Why dont you try putting £3 in a pot everytime you don't buy lunch to go towards a treat??

    L xxx

  4. Lunches are hard - because I try to do carb-free that means that it's salad in the summer and soup in the winter. But they tend to be very samey and I need to find some inspiration.

    I wish there were easy things to buy but organisation is key. I'm resentful making salad at 9.30pm but am always glad the next day.