A very practical question, that many working couples adjust to what they have in terms of kitchen ingredients and time at hand.
It is good to have an idea of the time in the morning before we leave for office and kids go to school. We have a rough chart for the days. We keep handy some ready to go food, then we do a mix and match
1. Keep a stock of fruits that are easy to carry and eat. This includes bananas and apples separately. If you have a small container in the tiffin box, you can use it for diced fruits(melon, watermelon, papaya and grapes). This can done last the previous night before retiring to bed
2.Ready made healthy cereals. Kellogs has a healthy range of cornflakes with nuts and honey, chocos and fruit flavours that children and adults like. Now we have oats with a variety of flavours commonly called as masala oats.
At our home, we use this in the mornings on one and the same carried by us to our offices
3. Powerbars and Flavoured buns. These are used as additional items on days when the time is less. Many brands including Nilgiris have karabun, mixed cereal buns that can be eaten with or without the sauce sachets that are easy to carry.
4.Healthy bread options. Now we have multigrain, enriched or sandwich bread, that are a life saver in the morning and for some lunch boxes. You can use it as toast with jam or butter ( now we have healthy or garlic flavoured butter even as carry on single packs). A simple sandwich maker helps us to make vegetable and cheese sandwich and the same can use taken for lunch on some days.
5. Eggs are a practical option as part of breakfast and lunch, you can use boiled/scrambled one day, and as an omlette on another day. We use this option two days a week
6.We also prepare chapathis or dosas that have grated carrots, thinly sliced capsicum/peppers, onions and or palak leaves. These can be eaten with some gravy from the previous night or with some of the good pickles we get. We use this option also for school lunch boxes and kids like it.
7.Sliced/chopped vegetables. Our fridge will have at least 4 vegetables washed, sliced and kept for the use next day morning. We will have onions, carrots, baby potatoes, green/red peppers, English cucumbers, lettuce, thin beans and peas (fresh or soaked the previous day). If you have this option, you cna quickly throw them in for the oats, upama or a simple salad for lunch or mid-morning snack.
8. ID has a very good option of good idli, dosa, rava dosa batter. It also has chapathis that can be used for emergencies. Dosa and idli can be a breakfast option for all and lunch option for adults.
9. Curry or chutney to take to the office can be a little tricky in summer. Making it a little thicker, avoiding fresh coconut and adding a little more tamarind works for us. We find a simple option of making chutney for beetroot, coriander or pudhina that tastes good with a little seasoning. Adding roasted groundnuts or cashew nuts gives a different flavour for the regular white chutney for idlis/dosas.
10. You can try finely ground roasted oats and rice powder for porridge that is quick/easy to prepare tastes good and can be to be taken in the steel bottle like containers we get now, it is a good mid-morning drink for us adults. Once you get used to this, you can try the mania 6-grain health mix powder, we like it.
11. Rice is a staple item for South Indians, we can make at least 4 different types of variety rice, tomato, puliogare mix of MTR is a good option to try, peas and jeera rice, vegetable or plain simple curd rice.
You can also refer the articles in ISC itself
This link is good for kids lunch box ideas Simple recipes for first-time cooks
.Kids Lunch Box idea, tips and recipes
We can even make a dish out of food that is leftover or extra from the previous night. Some ideas are here. How can an innovative dish can be prepared from left over food