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by Gael Myers, Accredited Practising Dietitian


Packing your own lunch for work is a great way to save money and help you avoid the temptation of ordering in greasy takeaway when you're under the pump.

It doesn’t get easier than a sandwich, a piece of fruit and a handful of nuts if you’re looking for a healthy, no-nonsense work lunch. To build the perfect sandwich, aim to include:

  • Grainy or wholemeal bread, roll or wrap
  • Plenty of salad or cooked vegies
  • A protein-rich food like cheese, shredded chicken, tuna, hummus, roast beef or egg.

For healthy sandwich inspo, check out these recipes.

There’s nothing wrong with a sanga, but if you’d prefer something different there are plenty of other quick and easy options.

A large glass bowl containing a heaped mix of couscous, peas and corn, with distributed chunks of tuna. The bowl sits of a light blue tea towel. Two serving spoons sit nestled together next to the tea towel. The top spoon has a small amount of mixture in it. In the background are four white china bowls stacked on top of one another.

Quick tuna couscous

  • Tin of flavoured tuna
  • Frozen peas and corn
  • Cooked couscous, rice or pasta (see tip)

Tip: When you have plain rice or pasta leftover after dinner, freeze into single serve portions (use small containers or zip-lock bags). 

A close up of a white china plate with a halved sweet potato on top. Pieces of chicken, halved cherry tomatoes, cheese and basil leaves sit on top of the sweet potato. A fork is on the plate. Underneath the plate is a white tea towel with blue stripes.

Stuffed spud

Prick potatoes (regular or sweet potato) with a fork and cook in the microwave for around 10 min before adding your favourite toppings:

  • Leftover chicken, tomato, baby spinach, grated cheese
  • Baked beans
  • Salsa/pesto, black beans, grated cheese, natural yoghurt
A close up of a white china plate topped with a filled tortilla. The plate sits on a marble top and a butter knife is next to the plate. In the background sits other filled tortillas sitting on the marble.

Instant quesadilla

Whack your ingredients together and toast in a sandwich press

  • Tortilla or wrap
  • Four-bean mix
  • Chilli sauce
  • Grated cheese
  • Chopped tomato, capsicum or avocado


Make extra at dinner time to take for lunch the next day. Bonus points if there's enough to stash a few serves in the freezer!

A close up of a white china plate with a slice of multigrain toast, topped with a tomato bean mix. A knife and fork are on the plate. In the background is an out of focus white tea towel and a glass of water.

Beans on toast

  • Grainy bread
  • Reduced-salt baked beans
  • Optional - grated cheese
An old fashioned milkshake glass with a creamy white liquid and a black plastic straw. Two slightly brown bananas in their skins sit next to the glass.


Whiz up a healthy smoothie with some fruit, milk, plain yoghurt and optional extras like a spoonful of oats, nuts or seeds.

The desk drawer pantry

There are loads of shelf-stable foods that mean you can always have a balanced meal ready to go in your desk drawer. Here are a few of our favourites:

  • Oats, muesli or weetbix
  • Tinned/bottled fruit in juice
  • Nut butters
  • Grainy crackers
  • Long-life milk
  • Tinned tuna or salmon
  • Microwave rice or pasta
  • Tinned vegies and beans
  • Nuts and seeds e.g. cashews, peanuts, flaked almonds, sunflower seeds
  • Chilli sauce, reduced-salt soy sauce, balsamic or apple cider vinegar

Use these as an emergency back-up or as a base to add a few fresh things from home.

What are your go-to options for quick and easy work lunches?

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