Robbo-approved packed lunches

It doesn't have to be Babybells and squashed sandwiches - Grace Dean gives her best packed lunch tips.

Grace Dean
12th March 2017
The idea of bringing your lunch with you to uni can bring back some haunting memories of your primary school packed lunches – sandwiches that had got squished in your bag under your pencil case, lukewarm yoghurts that had been left in your locker all day, and packets of Fridge Raiders that tasted so damn good but really made your breath stink.

Unfortunately, for those of us who are unable to afford a daily Costa panini or even an Eat4Less since their cheeky price hike, packed lunches as a reality for many hungry students on those long times where you just don’t have time to trek back to Jesmond for lunch. Despite this, by using a little bit of magic in the kitchen, your on-campus lunch can be a far cry from the rather pathetic ham and cheese sandwiches that you used to eat in primary school.

My personal go-to uni lunch is couscous and salad. Packed full of nutrition and using an array of cheap and fresh veggies from Grainger Market, it’s a quick lunch to make that keeps you full through your back-to-back lectures. Personally I prepare plain couscous and season with rosemary and garlic, then add tinned chickpeas, cherry tomatoes, spinach, and olives if I’m wanting a little Mediterranean twist. Couscous is an often overlooked grain that boasts incredible versatility, and complements a wide range of vegetable accompaniments – look on Pinterest for some Moroccan and Mediterranean-inspired couscous heaven.

Pasta can be a difficult dish to bring for lunch, as some sauces taste much better hot than cold, and unfortunately we are yet to see the promised microwaves in the library. Despite this, I find that a simple homemade tomato and pepper sauce still tastes scrummy when cold, and can add a vitamin kick to your day. Additionally, pasta salads always work well – combine cooked pasta with fresh veggies, cheese and a jar of a pesto for a quick and yummy pick-me-up that never fails to conjure a summery mood.

Naturally wraps and sandwiches are quick, easy and versatile, but often lacking in originality. To spark some joy in your packed lunch, experiment with new fillings that make the most of local and seasonable produce – try smoked salmon and spinach, goats’ cheese and beetroot, or pesto, tomatoes and crunchy red peppers.

Be the envy of your fellow Robbo-goers by sitting in the library with some delicious hot homemade soup. To perk you up during the April showers, a flask is a worthy investment and can bring a breadth of opportunities.

Ultimately, a packed lunch that is healthy, packed with fresh seasonable vegetables and slow-releasing carbs, and complimented with snacks like fruit, yoghurt and nuts is bound to stop your tummy from rumbling through your two hour seminar.

Image: Pickpik

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AUTHOR: Grace Dean
Editor-in-Chief of the Courier 2019/20, News Editor 2018/19, writer since 2016 and German & Business graduate. I've written for all of our sections, but particularly enjoy writing breaking news and data-based investigative pieces. Best known in the office for making tea and blasting out James Blunt. Twitter: @graceldean

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