Lunch, for many South Africans, often as a sandwich – often including cold meat.
But this could change, at least for a while – after the health department traced the world's worst listeriosis outbreak to date back to Tiger Brands' Enterprise Foods facility in Polokwane, many people are binning all their cold meat, whether it's produced by Enterprise or not.
Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi said polony was a definite source of the disease, but warned that viennas, russians, frankfurters, other sausages and cold meats not typically re-cooked before consumption could also be affected, due to the risk of cross contamination.
The public has subsequently been advised to remove any Enterprise ready-to-eat products from their fridges and discard them sealed in a plastic bag away from other products – to avoid cross contamination.
With the help of dietician Ashley Gibbon and our resident foodie and chef, Duenna Mambana, we have compiled seven great lunchbox ideas, that don't involve any form of cold meats and require very little to no cooking.
1. PB and J
A lunchtime classic, peanut butter and jam is great as a non-meat sandwich filling, plus it is literally fuss-free. Nut butters such as almond, pecan or hazelnut can be substituted as healthier alternatives, or replace the jam with golden syrup if you're feeling decadent.
2. Greek salad
A traditional greek salad is filled with all the goodies nutritionists recommend for your diet, especially greens. Add feta and drizzle with some olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and you have a winner. If you fear it won't be filling enough, chicken or beef strips added into the mix will keep you full for longer.
3. Avocado on healthy bread
The fruit, high in healthy fats, has many health benefits – including boosting heart and digestive health. It can be paired with greek salad, healthy bread or a grilled meat of your choice.
4. Fruit-, cheese- and cracker-filled lunchbox
This contains a bit of everything that's good for you. Fruits are rich in vitamins and other nutrients, while cheese, eaten in moderation, is a good source of calcium. Healthy crackers, now with quinoa, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flax and seaweed, have health-boosting benefits. You can also add boiled eggs for extra protein – and your tummy will thank you for it.
5. Grilled mushrooms with asparagus, avocado and green beans
Add some caramelised onions, feta and radish, and your lunchbox is good to go.
6. Egg-salad sandwich
Instead of using creamy mayonnaise, plain greek yoghurt in the egg mix cuts the fat. Then throw it on bread, pita, wrap or a bagel. You can also use tuna or shredded leftover chicken for a filler.
7. Leftover supper
Nutritionists recommend a high-protein and low-carb supper, so if you had something like stirfry or grilled pork chops with asparagus last night and you have some leftovers, they can be a good option for lunch the following day – plus they are healthy and filling.