General Question

Steve_A's avatar

Best food (healthy, nutritional) for a packed lunch?

Asked by Steve_A (5125points) June 27th, 2010

I’m getting really burned out on the food at the employee cafeteria, and also thought I’d likely save money packing my own lunch….I want to make the switch as well as to making healthier choices. My current diet is eh, ok at best haha…

The thing is I rarely ever do so I was curious what suggestions you have?

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26 Answers

janbb's avatar

Hummus on whole wheat pita with lettuce, tomato and cuke

Cheese on whole wheat bread with veggies and sprouts

Natural PB and pure fruit J on whole wheat

Yogurt and fresh fruit with walnuts and/or granola

Carrot and celery sticks

Whole fruit

Steve_A's avatar

@janbb Ugh, I am too much of a meat and potatoes guy lol….

I will try your list when I go grocery shopping this week. Thanks. :)

janbb's avatar

Well, you certainly can do roast turkey or chicken breast sandwiches; I would just keep the cold cuts down to a minimum (which doesn’t mean never.)

Steve_A's avatar

@janbb Ok,ok I feel better now :D

PandoraBoxx's avatar

Once a week I bake 4 – 8 chicken breasts, with the rib meat and skin on (cheaper that way and more flavorful.) I use different kinds of seasonings each time. All you have to is season the meat and put it in a 350 degree oven for about 1 hour 15 minutes. When it comes out, I let it cool, and then take the meat off the bone and take the skin off. I use the skin to make chicken enchiladas, chicken salad, chicken fried rice, chicken wraps, etc. Usually when I cook dinner, I make a recipe for 4 people and put portions in the refrigerator or freezer to take for lunch.

Steve_A's avatar

@PandoraBoxx “chicken enchiladas, chicken salad, chicken fried rice, chicken wraps,” Chicken madness! :O I’ma happy haha

Axarraekji's avatar

-Sliced green apples with organic peanut butter (organic actually tastes sooo much better) and granola

-Cottage cheese and peaches

-Almonds, cranberries, granola bars

@PandoraBoxx – he has a good system down!

gailcalled's avatar

@Steve_A: The bad news is that meat and potatoes do not equate to healthy choices. (If you have the stomach, investigate how the preponderance of chickens are raised and fed.)

I would add only salsa and decent corn chips to @janbb‘s list.

Coloma's avatar

Tuna salad sandwiches ( pack the items, tuna, bread, lettuce and tomtatos separately so no sogginess )

PB and celery, hard boiled eggs, or egg salad with fruit.

Yogurt with granola, bagels with cream cheese, cottage cheese with sunflower seeds on top, or..( my fav. ) Trader Joe’s sweet chili sauce and dip with whole grain chips or crackers.

You could take a baked potato, homemade soup, etc. if you have access to a microwave.

Chicken salad or baked chicken breast, hummus, salads with dressing in separate containers.

One easy salad I love, make it almost daily is to just slice up english cucumber with tomatos and black olives in a red wine vinagarette, the longer it marinates the better. :-)

Stuffed tomatos or avacados with tuna salad, chciken salad or shrimp.

Cheese and crackers with fruit or salad, potato salad or pasta salad.

Make your own meatloaf and take cold meatloaf sandwiches to satisfy your carnivorous side. lol

SamIAm's avatar

You can get whole wheat pita pockets and stuff them with turkey and light mayo (or some other light dressing) and add veggies (lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, onion, jalapenos) and light swiss.

Buy crackers (flavored ones like Triscuit Rosemary and EVOO) and pack slices of turkey and a spreadable cheese like laughing cow or light mayo and have lil cracker sandwiches

I think part of keeping healthy is to a. have a lot of options and variety and b. add things with lots of flavor like jalapenos, or roasted red pepper, onions, etc… and also pack snacks like carrots and hummus or pretzels.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I love taking a salad with me: greens, beans, tofu, veggies or tomatoes, greens, cucumbers, parsley and rice with lemon dressing.

jaytkay's avatar

Pasta is quick and easy. Throw in frozen veggies and microwave it at work. Sometimes I put bottled pasta sauce on it. Sometimes just a little olive oil, salt and pepper.

Cruiser's avatar

My all time favorite is a can of Albacore tuna sprinkled with powdered ginger, celery salt and lemon pepper, sliced up greenhouse tomato, and mandarin orange spinach salad. Chow that down and you will be firing on all cylinders until after work when you can finally rinse out that tuna taste with a real fine wheat beer!!

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Wild rice Rice o Roni cooked up with chopped vegies mixed in like asparagus, squash, brocoli, spinach, bell peppers and baby pear tomatoes. Slice a piece of steak, chicken, fish, tofu chunks, whatever and put it on top. Pack a banana as a standard fruit and then choose an extra piece from your choice of other kinds. I find drinking water from a mug gets me to fill up more times and drink more than if I sip off a bottled water, give it a try.

JLeslie's avatar

I make lunch for my husband every day. We are not sandwich people for the most part, so his meals are many times what most would perceive as dinner food I think. Some of the meals I make on regular basis are:

- Pork with yellow rice or spaetzle, and green beans
– Meatloaf with either potatoes, or some sort or pasta and redsauce and asparagus
– Iceberg salad, with carrots, cucs, tomato and tuna salad on top, with lime instead of dressing on everything right before eating. Along with some crackers or bread.
– Chicken with zuchini, mushrooms, and onion, with rice or noodles.

Everything is made fairly low fat, I don’t use many sauces at all. Each meal is 400 to 500 calories, and he also usually takes fruit of some sort that is under 100 calories, sometimes an apple, or grapes, watermellon, cantelloupe. etc.

For several weeks we had weighed and estimated the calories of foods, and I pay attention to cholesterol also, and now we kind of kow how many calories is in each thing more or less. The digital scales for the kitchen are amazing.

gailcalled's avatar

@JLeslie: Would you consider coming and cooking for me?

JLeslie's avatar

@gailcalled Sure :). Haha. He does wind up taking the same thing twice during the week usually, because I cook enough for a couple of meals many times. He got lucky that I am not much of a sandwich person, and I am unlucky that growing up he many times went home for lunch (siesta) and had a large meal, so he is not much for sandwiches daily either. When I work full time I don’t make lunch every day for him.

tigergirl13's avatar

I like making burritos for work! Buy a big can of refried beans (or make them) and cook and mash a couple of sweet potatoes. Shred some romaine, maybe also cook some rice (that can help prevent your burrito from being too dense). If you like meat, get meat. Don’t forget the tortillas! Assemble a bunch of burritos for the week and wrap them in plastic individually (sorry earth!) and store the in the fridge. I like putting salsa type stuff in there, too, but you have to be careful that it doesn’t turn your tortilla/wrap into mush. Often I will add the salsa the morning before I take it to work. Eat cold or hot.

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perspicacious's avatar

raw veggies, fruit, and bread (nothing to spoil)

Steve_A's avatar

Thanks all for the ideas, I’ve been slowing adding in more suggestions, and enjoying salads actually even though I was never big on them :)

JLeslie's avatar

Two I made this week.

Linguine with mushrooms and meat sauce and some melted mozerrella.

pork chop, green beens, and baked potato.

gailcalled's avatar

Cold (but cooked) cellophane noodles with sliced red and yellow peppers, wilted spinach and mushroooms. Dress with sesame oil, chopped peanuts, sesame seeds and something hot if your throat can stand it.

If you can grate raw beets very fine, they are delicious and digestible in salads.

JtotheA's avatar

Keep it simple to start out. Choose two fruits that you like to eat and rotate one pick for the day. Do the same with a veggie.

Pack juice in a thermos, or in water. Try to go with anything but concentrate juice as it really isnt that good. However, if your other choice is soda, state with the juice ;)

Sandwiches are good, especially if you make them veggie. Use mustard, not salad dressing or mayo.

Oh, and for protein, just go with trail mixes, or unroasted/plain nuts. Chick Peas are good too.

Stay away from the pastas unless you need to carb up for some heavy lifting in the afternoon.

More importantly, make it a routine, stick to it for 3 weeks and you will be crushing it.

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