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Lunch Ideas for those of us who pack!



  • neisy4u
    neisy4u Posts: 1 Member
    Hello all! In an effort to get back on track, and also curb spending, I have been packing my lunch to take in to work with me.

    Aside from frozen meals i.e. Lean Cuisine, Smart Ones, Michelina's Lean Gourmet, etc., what do you pack for lunch? I like to balance out the main course with a yogurt or apple. I am searching for other options for packing lunches.

    I don't mind to prep for the week on Sundays. Let's share ideas! :smile:
  • Jen_ht
    Jen_ht Posts: 99 Member
    Bump for all these awesome ideas. It does save a load of money.

    Even when I'm in a rush, I try and either chuck a salad or pitta together - usually some form of lean protein like fish or skinless chicken plus a ton of spinach and mix up the veg.

    Otherwise, I find Fattoush is immensely filling and tasty - North African type salad with raw cauliflower, rocket leaves, pomegranate, cucumber, tomatoes and a citrus spice like sumac, or a squidge of lemon if I don't have any sumac in the cupboard. Or a quinoa salad as you can cook a load of quinoa or giant couscous in advance and mix it with whatever you fancy the night before - if you remember to roast some veg then go for it, otherwise it's perfectly good with just cucumber, tomatoes, mint and coriander and a nice citrus or vinegar dressing.
  • lisaabenjamin
    lisaabenjamin Posts: 665 Member
    In the summer I love spinach salad with strawberries, goat cheese, pecans, red onions and maple viniagrette.

    Yum, that sounds good, I'm going to try that!

    I usually take a big salad to work most days, bulked out with crunchy, low cal salad leaves, carrots, cucumber, peppers and radishes with a few 'embellishments' like a handful of sultanas, pine nuts, sunflower seeds, capers, pickles, tinned fish, a small amount of cheese etc. I also have a small amount of low cal dressing to moisten things up. My lunch is usually around 250-300 cals which, along with a small snack mid morning and mid afternoon (a piece of fruit and some nuts or seeds) and lots of water, keeps me going until my evening meal.

    I found this recipe recently and it's delicious:
  • murphy612
    murphy612 Posts: 734 Member
    My lunch is always leftovers from last night's dinner. It's a good way of keeping things healthy, home cooked, and saving money.

    ^^^^ This is what I do. I always cook a little extra for dinner for my lunch the next day. I hate those gross frozen meals. I also keep a few things at work (I have a small fridge) to suppliment lunches just in case. Like some bread, chicken sausages, fruit, cottage cheese, peanut butter, and cheese. I also eat my breakfast at work.
  • KimberlyDCZ
    KimberlyDCZ Posts: 525 Member
  • westhamrangers
    I am currently bulking, so may not be for everybody.

    During the day I have something along the lines of this at work:
    Brown Rice(prepared the night before)
    Porridge oats
    Protein bars
    Brown bread
    cous cous

    and mix and match a fair bit
  • H3TR0
    H3TR0 Posts: 87
    What a great post! I'm always wondering what to do for lunch too. The one thing that seems to work for me right now is on Sundays I chop up a lot of lettuce and then I add things that are "drier" like cherry tomatoes, seedless cucumbers and throw it in a gallon ziplock with a paper towel and it keeps really well for 5 days or more in my crisper. Then I just throw it in a container, dressing in another small container then I pick a topping. Sometimes it is left over chicken, fish, more veggies or shrimp. It makes it a no brainer for me.

    When I get sick of salad then I do leftovers. I try to limit eating out to once a week as a treat with my co-workers.

    This may sound silly, but do you wrap it in a paper towel in the bag or ? I have had bad luck with lettuce, but I love salads!
  • Ironhead3td
    Ironhead3td Posts: 40 Member
    My favorite lunch for work right now is a half dozen hard boiled egg whites with a little mustard and a couple tomatoes.
  • SassyCalyGirl
    SassyCalyGirl Posts: 1,932 Member
    I pack ANYTHING I would eat or make at home. No restrictions. My lunch bag has a blue ice pack so I don't have to worry about refrigeration.
  • vkc1978
    vkc1978 Posts: 63 Member
    One of my fav lunches (quick, easy, and tasty):

    cut up squash
    cut up zuccini
    broken up veggie burger
    half a jar of salsa
    brown rice (already cooked, but i dont always add the rice, depends on what im planning for dinner.... )

    heat it up (assuming you have access to a microwave at lunch) for about 3 mins, and its sssoooo yummy.
  • viragoeap
    viragoeap Posts: 107
    The following is a typical pack up for me:

    100g of cooked turkey or chicken
    30g of smoked ham
    Boiled egg
    1/4 pepper
    6 slices of cucumber
    6 plum tomatoes
  • H3TR0
    H3TR0 Posts: 87
    This is what I have 3 days a week with a whole lot of Louisiana Hot Sauce on it.

    Perdue® - Ground Chicken Breast (Cooked), 3.99 oz
    Minute - Instant Pre-Cooked - Whole Grain Brown Rice, 43 g (1/2 cup) as sold
    Olivia's - Organic Baby Spinach, 1 cups (85g)
    Corn - Sweet, yellow, frozen, kernels cut off cob, boiled, drained, without salt, 0.1 package (10 oz) yields

    303 Calories 42 grams carbs 4 grams fat 37 grams protien, and then I have this for a snack with it, Cabot - Cheddar Cheese Sharp Light Snack, 1 bar wich is only 50 calories, and delicious.

    Thank you for sharing! I'm a fan of anything that involves hot sauce hahaha!
  • cutchro
    cutchro Posts: 396 Member
    I alternate each week. Sundays will cook and eat that for the week

    This week is Spring Thyme Chicken Stew!!! Delish!
    some weeks is soups
    some weeks salad with grilled chicken or tuna
  • H3TR0
    H3TR0 Posts: 87
    My co-worker is also using myfitnesspal, and she brought in a (fake george forman) grill to keep at our office. It's nice when you are craving somthing warm.

    *Low Cal Grilled Cheese: 2 slices Monks Genesee Rye bread (70 cal/slice) and 1 slice of Kraft Deli Delux America Cheese (70 cal) and I use a quick squirt of Pam on one side of each bread slice.

    *Low Cal Quesedilla: Father Sams Whole Wheat Tortilla (80 cal.) 2 oz Cabot Sharp Extra Light Cheddar Cheese (120 cal.) , & Your Favorite Veggies! *plain greek yogurt is a great substitute for sour cream.

    Some of our favorite work day snacks (things you can keep in your purse , desk, or office fridge) include:

    Brother All Natural Freeze Dried Fruit Crisps (banana is the best!)
    Laughing Cow Light Swiss Cheese wedges and Light Baby Bell rounds
    Motts NSA Healthy Harvest apple sauce
    Emerald 100 cal Pack Almonds
    Slim Fast Snack Peanut Butter Bars
    Quaker White Cheddar Rice Cakes
    Celery/Carrott Stcks
    Yopa 100 cal Greek Strawberry Yogurt w/Granola
    Quaker Oatmeal Rasin 90 cal granola bar

    And sometimes if I am looking to just add a little protine to my lunch, but am not interested in a whole sandwhich, I often pack 2-3oz of sliced ham or turkey in a zip lock bag, accompanied by some healthy snacks. Great low cal way to add some substance!

    Thank you for sharing!
    HJMAYES Posts: 72 Member
    Bump - i need to re-read some of these GREAT ideas!
    I love a sweet potato in the microwave, with half a can of chili with beans (or homemade), topped with some shredded cheddar cheese. Yummy!
  • H3TR0
    H3TR0 Posts: 87
    One of my favorite lunch items is sardines in mustard sauce with Nut Thins crackers (gluten free). Easy, high in protein, and filling. Lots of great ideas on this post!

    Do you have a particular brand of Sardines you prefer? The last I bought were a bit "smelly" ... which makes me "that girl" at work when everyone is wondering where the putrid smell is coming from. I'd hate to be found guilty of stinking the office up again!

    If you don't want smelly, then you have to shell out the big bucks:( I tried one that didn't smell to bad, but I think it cost something like $5 a can, not something I can afford too often. Totally understand, and would suggest you take your lunch outside. Thankfully it is nice out now. I guess that means no sardines during the winter, but I eat a lot of soup during those months anyway:)

    $5 is pricey, but that is a good suggestion. I can take my stinky sardines outside to the patio and eat and read (: Thank you again for sharing!
  • carrietehbear
    carrietehbear Posts: 384 Member
    I'm pretty boring and pack the same lunch every day.
    Sandwich (1 slice of whole wheat bread cut into half, turkey, & cheese)
    Fruit (right now I'm on a strawberry kick b/c they are cheap but sometimes apple, plum, kiwi, pineapple, or grapes...)
    1/2 portion of chips or pretzels
    1/2 portion of something sweet (animal crackers, bunny grahams, graham crackers)

    I also pack a morning snack (this week it's greek yogurt and leftover turkey meat) and an afternoon snack (string cheese & granola).
  • duqdevil44
    duqdevil44 Posts: 5 Member
    For breakfast I like to eat a cottage double and a wholegrain Arnold's Sandwhich Thin with Sugar Free Jelly...

    For lunch, I keep it pretty basic with a salad with lots of veggies, fresh fruit (watermelon or strawberries) and I love the yopait 90 calorie dessert yogurts!!! you feel like you are actually having a treat!!! I then usually have whatever fruit I don't eat for my afternoon snack and a cup of green tea, it really helps to curb the hunger in the afternoon before you get home to make dinner or get to the gym. I work two jobs so for me it's basically keeping myself energized enough to work 16 hours a day!!

    If you're feeling like you want something different, I make an asian chicken salad that you eat out of lettuce cups. One recipe is enough for lunches for the whole week!! The recipe is below, enjoy!!!

    One Rotisserie Chicken cooled and pulled apart keeping mostly the white meat pieces (at least 2 cups).
    1 cup shredded carrots
    1 small can of mandarin oranges, drained
    2 green onion, sliced
    1 1/2 cup Asian poppyseed dressing, refrigerated (Marzetti's now makes LIGHT)
    1/2 cup sliced almonds
    1 head Boston lettuce (or romaine if you cannot find Boston)

    Mix everything together and refrigerate!! Use the lettuce for you salad cups!!! So refreshing and different!!
  • silverinc13
    silverinc13 Posts: 216 Member
    I'll usually alternate between leftovers from the night before and a big ol salad with tuna or some chicken. There's so many ways you can mix up salads that they never get old! And they are so refreshing in the summer! For me to portion control is easy - I enter the recipe I use into MFP and make that many portions out of the meal I make! Lovely for those crock pot inventions. I always snack on some fruit in the morning and afternoon and a veggie bag (carrots, celery, cucumber) in the am. Usually with a laughing cow cheese or some hummus - but I forgot my hummus today! Quite devestating. :)
  • Falenea
    Falenea Posts: 263 Member