Fitness Minutes: (9,328)
3/8/12 9:40 A
My big thing is leftovers!! When cooking a meal, I plan enough to have a lunch or two after dinner. If I have steakor chicken, I cut it up and top a salad with it. They also make great sandwiches. I agree with other posters that maybe you should look into a thermos. Most schools have some sort of commuter student area with a microwave. I would look into that as well.
Also lots of fruits and veggies. cut them up and portion them into baggies. OR many supermakets have packets of already cut up veggies... The one I love to get for when I travel is apples and grapes. These aren't terrible if they do come to room temp! Let yourself love cheese, too. There are all sorts of cheese stick snacks!!
I also have the thirty-one insulated tote and use ice packs. Works like a champ! And it is adorable :)
Good luck :)
Fitness Minutes: (0)
1 3/8/12 8:53 A
I work as a manager at mcdonalds i try to take my lunch with me to work so i am not always eating salads. i try to take a 80 calorie bun with me and some fat free cheese if i want a burger but i am running out of idea. can anyone help with this? thanks fluffkitty50
Thanks for all the fantastic ideas! DH and I are trying to pack our lunches more often -- me to control my weight, and him to control diabetes. My go-to items have been apples, oranges, Greek yogurt, and low fat cheese sticks. I think my husband would enjoy having a packet of tuna to add to a salad and perhaps some of the fiber one bars or brownies if they'll fit into his carb count. I plan to come back and read this post again and again I need some fresh ideas for lunches!
Fitness Minutes: (30,014)
1,161 3/8/12 7:23 A
My family farms, and when we are in the field, we eat out of ice chests. I recently discovered an idea that is convenient and healthy! A salad jar! Use a quart jar, layer grape tomatoes in the bottom, cukes, mushrooms, etc. Top with your greens, and close the lid. You can make several of these up ahead of time, and just add dressing before you eat it. Or, you can put the dressing on the bottom.
I also find lighter choices of lunch meat, and use flat breads and lots of veggies. Be careful, though, because lunch meat and breads are high in soduim. Of course, fruit is always a fast and easy choice!
3/7/12 1:42 P
Salad with canned tuna/salmon is my go-to! I open a can or two on the weekend and portion it into ziplocs so I can grab & go. Each night, I fill up a big tupperware bowl with mixed salad greens (prewashed organic- so lazy but so easy!). I also have a tiny 1/2 cup Glad container that I put 2 tbsp dressing in. Put the greens in the bowl, lay a paper towel on top, and stick the baggie of tuna and the dressing cup all in there too. Voila! A huge portable salad. I usually eat a yogurt, fruit, or protein bar on the side, or I'll throw more toppings on the salad (beans, veggies, whatever I have). I thought I would get bored of this meal but I haven't yet! Even if I forget to prepare it at night, I only need about 2 minutes in the morning.
3/7/12 1:36 P
Preparing the night before is key for me to stay on plan. I also keep health snacks in my desk at work namely fruits, nuts and popcorn.
Fitness Minutes: (12,828)
1,897 3/7/12 1:24 P
I take the time on the weekend to cut up a variety of fresh veggies and place in individual baggies for the week. Cauliflower - broccoli - celery - carrots and I include a cucumber.
I'm lucky and have a fridge at work so I take the small bags and place in one big one and take it to work on a Monday along with a container of hummus or some Laughing Cow cheeses and a package of WW wraps. That way I can just make a healthy wrap when ever I'm hungry!
Fitness Minutes: (27,022)
6 3/7/12 12:04 P
One thing I have noticed in this thread - so few of you focus on vegetables!Bags and bags and bags of frozen veggies - all kinds! Almost all of them are fine at room temp, or even still slightly frozen, plus there is the added benefit of the frozen veggies keeping everything else cold for you.
tuna or tofu for protein.
Handful of nuts for fats
Instant miso soup for cold days.
My big problem is finding time for breakfast. I boil up a big batch of oat groats on the weekend, then 1 minute in the microwave, and a handful of berries or half a banana, a boiled egg, and I am good to go!
Fitness Minutes: (2,818)
19 3/7/12 10:28 A
I am a teacher,coach, and grad student. So I know exactly how you feel. I pack an apple, banana, yogurt in the morning for breakfast after my workout. fiber one bar for a afternoon snack, baby carrots, and pbandj for lunch.
Fitness Minutes: (440)
99 3/7/12 9:42 A
When I was in school/working/running around all day like a crazy person I kept a cooler in my car w/ my bfast/lunch/dinner so I wouldn't be tempted to eat junk.
3/7/12 8:02 A
Turkey sandwich, piece of fruit and a Snyders mini bag of pretzels (only 50 calories)---and I always pack a snack for the stretch between lunch and going home.
3/7/12 7:15 A
precut fruit in single serve packages, deli sliced meats, arnolds's flat bread, cottage cheese, light yogurt - quick and easy takes less than 10 minutes to pack.
I keep hard boiled eggs on hand all the time and can grab those easily when I need to pack a quick lunch, along with an apple or bagged tuna. I also take along a bag of almonds. They're a great snack and here's an article I just found on almonds in the diet.
Thanks for the helpful healthy ideas!!! I saved this page as a favorite.
Fitness Minutes: (635)
40 3/6/12 9:30 P
Bell and Evans frozen grilled chicken breast. You can find them in the freezer section. The chicken is precooked, 3oz. breast that I take out of the freezer at night and pack in my lunchbox and then the next day at lunch, heat, 1min. in microwave and add to your salads, make a sandwich, put it on rice,etc.........
I have struggled with this very issue for years, and still can't figure out a solution. :( I've tried making stuff, but it never works out. It's either too high in calories or too high in sodium. I don't cook, so the possibilities are limited. And SparkRecipes has proved useless to me since everything is either too high in sodium or requires too many ingredients. And since I can only get to the store once a week (Saturday), any produce I buy always ends up going bad by Wednesday. Maybe some day I'll figure it out, but I've just given up for now.
3/6/12 3:15 P
I pack my breakfast and lunch for work everyday... I have an insulated lunch bag with 2 ice packs and I always pack cereal or oatmeal, Vanilla Soy Milk, a banana or an apple, yogurt, and Zone Perfect bars for lunch. I've also packed stuff like cheese sticks, almonds, hard boiled eggs, leftovers, crackers and Laughing Cow Light Cheese wedges, peanut butter and mini rice cakes... The possibilities are endless really!
Fitness Minutes: (5,587)
14 3/6/12 2:44 P
Hey! Here are some ideas that I also posted on a different thread:
Tuna in the packet (rather than can) with some wasa crackers or other whole grain crackers. I don't even add any mayo (yuk) The packet keeps it fresh, and you can just scoop it out from there. You can add a handful of grape tomatoes to add a little veg :-)
Hard boiled eggs are also great, and can be sliced to add to an english muffin or wasa cracker for a quick bite. I'm also a big fan of laughing cow and baby belle cheeses since they come individually wrapped. The laughing cows can be spread on the cracker before you add your egg or tuna to give it a creamier texture. Both cheeses are fine for a few hours without refrigeration as well.
Do you have access to a coffee maker? If so, most industrial types have a hot water spout and you can make instant oatmeal with that. I like to add a bit of protein powder to my oatmeal to keep me fuller for a bit longer. Dried fruit is also a good thing to chop up and put in your oatmeal as it will reconstitute when you add water.
There are several versions of shelf stable soy milks on the market, and they come in individual sizes. I'm sure they are pricier than buying the large carton, but it might be a good afternoon pick up with a piece of fruit.
I like to make lettuce wraps when I know I'm going to be on the run all day - no bread to get soggy! Just roll turkey or another deli meat with cheese, spinach, tomato (anything really) with some mustard and set in a plastic container. I like to bring three with me so I can snack on them as the day goes by (because if I'm that busy, I usually don't have a set lunch break!)
Hummus is also great protein source, but beans on their own are good! Roasted chickpeas make a great crunchy snack when you want something that will satisfy that salty craving. Just roast them in the oven and add any seasoning.
Gaspacho or cold soup is something you wouldn't have to worry about trying to heat up...
Hmm... writing these down is making me hungry!
Fitness Minutes: (19,181)
2,511 3/6/12 1:40 P
When my husband worked one summer as a painter, I used to freeze water in bottles to put in is insulated cooler. Not only did that served to keep his food cold but also gave him ice cold water to drink throughout the day..
Here is another vote for getting a cooler or some sort of insulated bag to keep things cool. I work two jobs and one happens to be as a tour director for motor coach tours- so sometimes I am not home for several days at a time. I try to avoid eating at the fast food restaurants and diners where we so often make our stops while on tour. Here are some of the items I take with me on the road; apples, string cheese, fiber and or protein bars, tuna in packets (you don't always have a can opener), protein drinks, nuts, turkey slices and whole grain crackers. These items are portable and most can be kept a room temperature. The other items fare well if kept cool. They can also be used to supplement meals. Maybe you can stop at Subway, and if you have your own apples or a fiber bar that can satisfy a sweet /chocolate craving you can save a few pennies as well. It takes some thinking and planning, but once you get the hang of it it seems second nature. Good luck!
3/6/12 12:34 P
Between driving all day for work and then kids to soccer and volleyball practices I'm usually gone by 7:30 in the morning and my early day I'm home by 6 on my late days it's 8 so I pack a cooler and leave it in the trunk. Everything that has to be refrigerated goes in the cooler anything that doesn't goes into a small box that I keep there and I just fill that up every week..
I'm diabetic and on workdays have to leave the house by 7 am to get to work on time and usually don't get home until 6:30 or 7 pm, so I have to pack lunch and two snacks to make sure I don't go more than 5 hours without eating. I have an insulated bag and several freezer packs. On Sundays, my roommate and I roast a chicken, and along about Wednesday, my roommate makes a beef roast (she gets home before I do because her hours are earlier and her job is closer). This gives me meat for sandwiches (add lettuce, tomato, and mustard on those deli slices or very thin sliced bread). I add an apple and a couple of cookies or other small (one carb exchange) dessert-type thing, and that's lunch. I throw in a container of Greek yogurt for my mid-morning snack (to which I add a quarter-teaspoon of cinnamon that I keep at my desk) and a cheese stick and some baby carrots for my afternoon snack. Throw in a couple of ice packs (and don't forget a spoon for the yogurt, like I did this morning), and I'm set for the day.
3/6/12 7:10 A
As others have mentioned, focus on foods that can be kept cool or at room temperature. You can make pasta salads with a vinaigrette dressing which can be room temp, and keep your add-ons cool (chicken, tuna, whatever!). I luckily have access to a fridge, but I know that if I don't pack my lunchbox and stick it all in the fridge, I will forget something. I try to pre-portion fruit and veggies and cereal ahead of time so that I can grab it all at night without any prep work. I usually have dinner leftovers for lunch so I save money and I don't have to worry too much about lunch.
Hope that helps!
Fitness Minutes: (69,817)
3,526 3/6/12 1:53 A
speaking of tuna... I like to buy the Starkist tuna salad in the pouch. It is about 100 calories for the entire thing, and you can take some whole wheat bread along in a baggie or a container.
Pouch tuna is great because it requires no refrigeration or draining. It is in single serve packets. It is a little more expensive than canned, but I think it is worth it.
Many moons ago when I was in grammar school, my mother used to pack me soup in my Wonder Woman thermos. I am sure that grown up thermos work much better now, but the Wonder Woman one did the trick too
Fitness Minutes: (8,572)
498 3/6/12 12:25 A
I agree with Katie, tinned tuna is a staple that is always in my pantry. I love it mixed with diced cucumber, cherry tomatoes, red capsicum, grated carrot, spring onion and lots of parsley. With just a squeeze of lemon, put in a little lock & lock container and I'm good to go. I don't eat boiled eggs, but if I did, these would be my go to stand by lunch item too.
A little baggie with a measured portion of nuts and a nice juicy apple are standby favorites too.
I'm a big fan of tuna fish, which really doesn't have too many calories. I'll make a sandwhich with ranch dressing and relish on whole wheat bread and it's under 500 calories. I also love Yogurt, especially Activia. I also do PB&J and Salads.
on the days that i work, i'm away from home for 14 hours a day, including my commute to and from. so, i really don't have the time each day to make my food, so i like to cook for up to 6 days at a time. i also have it easy in that it's just me, no kids, no boyfriend, no hubby. but, with precooked and preportioned really works miracles for me.
I understand your pain! I am just finishing up my fourth year of working and going to school at night and am out between 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. three nights a week. I can't imagine how you do it without a microwave, though.
Salads are your friend. You can make 4-5 of them on Sunday night and have them all week for lunch. You just have to put the dressing in a ziploc baggie and mix it before you are going to eat it so they don't get soggy. Now that it's spring try some of these: - garden salad with feta, almonds, and strawberries (add grilled chicken for protein) - salad w/mandarin oranges and cranberries and feta - salad w/pears and pecans - salad with tomatoes, feta and balsamic vinegar - orzo pasta salad with lemon, feta (can you tell I love feta?) rosemary and pine nuts, sprinkled w/olive oil
Maple Grove makes some really good sugar free dressings that are low in calories.
3/5/12 5:15 P
I'm not on the go as much as you, but I do have a problem with breakfast since I wake up at 5am some days for work. I don't get up a minute earlier than I need to ;) So I pack my breakfast for all 3 days I work early on Monday night and take them all with me to work.
I also pre-make snacks and parts of lunches that don't have to be refrigerated. Like I use baggies to make single servings of crackers, fruit, etc. Then it's ready to go. Actually some weeks I take them all to work so I don't even have a chance to forget.
Meals would be the same way as far as easily pre-made ones, like a light spaghetti, soups, etc. Like on Sunday night, you could portion out some lunches and have them ready to go in containers to stick in your bag.
For me it would be hard to find that many meals I could make to take with me. Or I would repeat some and get tired of them. So I would try to plan an alternative that you could buy. Mine is Subway. We have a subway here where I work (thankfully all other fast food is far away, lol) and the Ham sandwich on wheat with no cheese is really not many calories. Plus I love it.
Salads are easy too. I buy all the produce once or twice a week and cut them all up and wash right when I get home. Salad is cleaned and torn and in the salad spinner in the fridge. All the other little things are already prepared and ready to put it together. I take my own salad dressing and it stays cold in my insulated lunch bag with an ice pack.
Fitness Minutes: (97,762)
3/5/12 4:54 P
In addition to using your thermos for soup, pasta, or rice & beans, you can wrap heated items like a burrito, soft tacos, or meat kebobs (just a few examples) in tin foil and put them into a thermos to keep them warm, too. Preheating your thermos by putting boiling water into it and letting it sit for about 5 minutes makes a big difference in how hot it, and the food inside it, stays.
First I applaud all of you for packing your lunch. This is where I tend to fall off the wagon. When I pack my lunch I eat so much better than if I go out. While I know I have total control over what I order out my will power is just not that strong! For lunches I often pack left overs from the night before (when I am putting them away from dinner I put them into containers for lunch so all I have to do is grab them out of the fridge). I will often throw together a salad and then top it off with whatever protein I had for dinner the night before. I always pack carrot sticks and an apple for snacks.When I am splurging I make a fruit salad with all different kinds of berries, if the berries are a little tart I add a pack of splenda and let it sit over night. Makes the fruit really sweet, like a dessert!
For me (not that I always follow this but know I need to) is to plan ahead. I make my meal plan for the week (including snacks) in order to keep myself organized and on top of my calorie in/calorie out game. When I spend the time up front planning nothing derails me! It can be a crazy busy morning or evening and I will always look to my meal planning sheet to see what I am supposed to eat. After you have planned for awhile you will have weeks worth of planners and grocery lists that you can just grab from!
It doesn't have to be an artistic ordeal. Packing a bento can be as simple as assembling rice and vegetables. There are just so many ways to make that simple option interesting and healthy. I hope this is a help to you. If it becomes an obsession like it did for me....I'm sorry and you're welcome.
Fitness Minutes: (68,349)
3/5/12 2:41 P
As one that packed my own lunch for many years before I retired, it's no big thing. As other posters have posted, the new containers are great for packing hot and cold. If you have the ability of using a microwave at work, great, if not, make due with what you have. It actually gives you the opportunity to really measure out a planned day of foods. Nuts, fruits, veggies, sandwich, container of milk, and you're good to go.
The thing is, first, eat a good breakfast at home, then use your work eating as your snack foods and light lunch, then have a nice warm meal when you get home from work.
Fitness Minutes: (70)
3/5/12 2:33 P
Thank you all for your input :) Will definitely make good use of your ideas.
Fitness Minutes: (10,467)
3/5/12 2:24 P
In my experience (two years without using a fridge at work) there are plenty of foods that will last the few hours to lunch without being refrigerated.
One of my favorite on-the-go foods are wraps (tortilla with some sort of meat and/or cheese, fresh spinach leaves or other salad green, avocado or mustard spread). Wrap it like a burrito in a paper towel and you're good to go. Add a handful of healthy nuts and a piece of fruit (apple, banana, orange, bunch of grapes) and you've got a pretty good lunch.
I've gotten quite used to eating things cold as I don't use microwaves. This includes stirfry and rice, tacos, hamburgers, healthy home-made pizzas and a number of other things. Pizza, especially, is a traditional cold food the next day.
I completely understand where you are coming from. I am a teacher. I pack a lunch to keep me from eating cafeteria food ( ).
First, I have an insulated tote from Thirty-One. I also have a half-dozen Mueller Hot/Cold packs ($1.58 each from Wal-Mart) that I keep in the freezer. This is what I carry my lunch in. It has plenty of room for water bottles, a sandwich, grapes, pretzels, etc, plus two ice packs.
I get up 15 minutes earlier than I would if I didn't have to do breakfast/lunch. I fix a hot breakfast because I know I have to eat a cold lunch. My hot breakfast is usually egg beaters, a slice of fat-free cheese and a slice of ham warmed up in the skillet on an english muffin (my version of the egg-mcmuffin!). While the ham and egg beaters are cooking, I put an english muffin in the toaster and begin fixing a turkey or ham sandwich. I fill a snack bag with pretzels and fix a baggy of grapes and put all of that in my Thirty-One tote (with a couple of drinks). By the time I am done doing that, my egg beaters and ham are done, and my english muffin has popped out of the toaster. I put my sandwich together and take it with me in the car. I eat it on my way to work (15 minute commute).
This whole process takes less than 15 minutes and I have completely portion-controlled my breakfast and lunch. I hope this gives you some ideas! Good Luck!
3/5/12 2:18 P
I make two pots of soup for the week and heat them in the morning for a thermos, pack plenty of fruits, individual cheese wraps and a sleeve of healthy crackers in the car. Along with pre-portioned healthy choices like unsulphured dried fruits, 100 healthy calorie snacks pre-portioned on Sunday, and mini sandwiches (meat free), banana make as you go, carrot salad, hummus wraps and add the lettuce and tomato later from a sandwich bag. You can separate veggies, lettuce, toms, etc. on the weekend and put in very small containers for the whole week. Did I mention fruit! you can also get pre-portioned peanut butter that goes with those bananas and apples (and the crackers in the car). AND on a lighter note, you didn't mention if you had any children to haul around, if you do they can always be counted on for a few french fries between the seats in a desparate moment. Good Luck and remember eating can be fun if you plan it. ;-)
3/5/12 2:07 P
Hey 26.2 miler, can you do the "around the bay 30" by bicycle for us old timers?
First, get a good insulated bag and an ice pack. That will make a cool lunch stay cool and if you have something warm, skip the ice pack. It usually doesn't stay super warm, but better than nothing!
Second, many gas stations have a microwave you can use, if you wish to chance it. (Just a suggestion).
I actually have to pack two meals (breakfast and lunch) so I get where you are coming from. I have two thermoses. And an insulated bag. I pack yogurt, cheese and an apple as staples. They stay cool and are tasty. You could easily pack a sandwich (simple bread, lunchmeat and mustard or your choice of condiments) and keep the lettuce separate to add something to the sandwich. That would work for both meals. You could make a chicken salad, and a tuna salad say on Sunday. Take enough for one meal and then take a sandwich. I have done that to get some variety in there. You could also heat up some soup and put it in a thermous for lunch. Then have the sandwich for dinner.
Those are probably my best suggestions, and I wish you luck.
Fitness Minutes: (9,564)
3/5/12 12:17 P
A good trail mix pre portioned out (I like ones from target) so you can grab it quickly before running out the door, frozen grapes, freeze dried fruit, edamame, uncrustables, pretzels. This kind of stuff can last all day without needing a fridge or microwave. Hope these ideas help! I'm on the go a lot so I like to grab and go.
Fitness Minutes: (146,966)
3/5/12 12:12 P
With ice packs and thermoses, you can pack any hot and cold foods you like and have them remain the correct temperature at mealtime.
Fitness Minutes: (70)
3/5/12 12:00 P
I'm a full time student who works and am out of the house by 9am and dont get back till 8pm. I work in the mornings and do school at night and don't have access to a fridge or microwave so I don't know what type of things to pack for lunch. Any suggestions?
SparkPeople, SparkCoach, SparkPages, SparkPoints, SparkDiet, SparkAmerica, SparkRecipes, DailySpark, and other marks are trademarks of SparkPeople, Inc. All Rights Reserved. No portion of this website can be used without the permission of SparkPeople or its authorized affiliates.
SPARKPEOPLE is a registered trademark of SparkPeople, Inc. in the United States, European Union, Canada, and Australia. All rights reserved.