I’ve had a few request recently for meal idea’s that can be packed up and taken to work. My husband takes his breakfast and lunch to work almost every day so I have a little experience with this. He has a pretty sweet set up, a break room with refrigerators, microwaves, and a coffee maker. I know not everyone has the same situation so I’ll offer my suggestions and I’ll encourage my readers to chime in with their ideas as well.
The Sweet Set Up
If you have a kitchen available like my husband there is not a whole lot you can’t do. He usually takes cooked oatmeal (spiced up with cinnamon, raisins, and a touch of agave), Breakfast Quinoa, or a baked sweet potato for breakfast. He also takes 2 to 3 pieces of fruit everyday to eat throughout the day.
For lunch he usually has leftovers from the night before. He is also very fond of Baked Potatoes for lunch. These are not your plain ol’ potatoes, he prefers them with steamed veggies or vegan chili. He is also as happy as a clam to pour whatever else he can find in the fridge. If he were taking a Baked Potato tomorrow he would likely top it with Quinoa Taco Meat, Salsa, or guacamole because that is what we have available. Leftover soups are great for lunches on their own or poured over a potato.
Lunches don’t always center around potatoes. Mexican food makes really kickin lunches the next day. Just mix up whatever you have left, heat it up, and stuff it into a tortilla, or if you have more time eat it with organic tortilla chips.
During winter months or if you work in a cold building soups, chili’s, and casserole’s would be a nice way to warm up during the day.
Brown Baggin’ It
More than likely you’re not actually taking your lunch in a brown bag, not that I’m judging. You can buy an ice pack to use in a reusable, insulated lunch bag or even a small cooler (depending on your situation) fairly inexpensively. This set up can keep your food cold for at least half the day. The key here would be packing food that is good at room temperature or cold.
A few options that come to mind is a Not So Tuna Salad (or Not So Chicken Salad) Sandwich or wrap. This is made with chickpea’s so it is a good source of protein and fiber helping you feel full longer.
I’m also a fan of Veggie Wraps with Jalapeno Hummus (or other flavors), spinach, carrots, and bell peppers. You could add cucumbers, mushrooms, corn, tomatoes, or your favorite veggies. I have these for lunch often because they are easy to throw together. You could even make up a bunch at the beginning of the week, I’d pack the hummus separately to keep things from getting soggy if you were gonna wait a few days.
Big Salads are another option, just fill a big container with your favorite veggies, and store salad dressing and wet veggies in a separate container until lunch time. Some people like cold pasta salads or quinoa salads. These can also be quite filling and full of nutritional goodness. I’m sitting here dreaming of a Black Bean Quinoa Salad with roasted corn, avocado and salsa. A side of hummus and veggies is always a good idea too!
Another option is to make smoothies and freeze them ahead of time so they can slowly thaw throughout the day.
I’ve seen many a Brown Bagger go into convenience stores to heat up lunch. If this is an option for you then you have graduated to the Sweet Set Up category.
Sometimes life gets busy and we don’t have time to pack a lunch. For times like these I send McDougall’s Soup Cups, Tasty Bites (read label because they are not all vegan), or a can of Amy’s Soup (again not all vegan).
If you need to eat out you can grab a bean burrito, a meatless Subway meal, or even better a meal for Chipotle. Just don’t eat vegan junk food, you won’t be doing yourself any favors.
On our recent trip to the zoo we packed a lunch of 2 almond butter, gluten free sandwiches and 2 peanut butter wheat bread sandwiches, a few GoGo Squeez applesauce pouches, 2 apples, 2 rice milk boxes (a huge treat), granola bars, raisins, and water. Lunch was a success and super easy, never underestimate the power of a nut butter sandwich.
So do you pack a lunch? If so what do you pack?