Looking for fresh new ideas for packed lunches to take to work. After making dinner most nights, I'm too tired to put together lunch for the next day and I end up picking up lunch most days. Would love some new ideas for easy healthy packed lunches.

  • Posted by: melissav
  • September 18, 2010


Kevin September 19, 2010
Make up a big batch of chicken salad or tuna salad on the weekend, then stuff it into pita halves for an easy sandwich. Here's a couple of recipes: http://www.seriouslygood.kdweeks.com/2005/04/salad-sandwiches.html
ketherian September 19, 2010
My solution is a lot like Kitchen Butterfly's. I try to make enough dinner so that there are leftovers. However, I'm not always successful and I really don't like eating the same meal so close together. So I mix and match and buy a few extra things to toss into the mix. I really like roasted chickens, packaged crab or shrimp, crispy vegetables and dips, and crackers. These, combined with my own leftovers makes for a tasty lunch that I look forward to eating.

When I'm out of ideas, I tend to visit the flicker websites relating to bento boxes and laptop lunchables.They're both great for coming up with quick and easy meals made from a variety of foods.
melissav September 19, 2010
Thanks all for the great ideas. This foodpickle feature is great. I never expected so many quality responses in such a short time. I think on my my way to healthier lunch options! Thanks again.
Kitchen B. September 19, 2010
I usually make more than enough for dinner most nights and that's usually served up as lunch. Often I'll make some soup and then have that throughout the week, maybe varying toppings. Or use leftover rice to make a salad with flaked almonds, some curry powder, raisins, shallots and chopped cilantro.
luvcookbooks September 19, 2010
agree with Ms. Perrillo... think something you don't have to prepare. Like the yogurt, also think about some sliced deli meat if you eat meat, to have with say, sliced mozzarella and olivada.... on whole wheat, you have a single dish sandwich that's fascinating, cheap, and uses minimal packaging. Cathy Erway's book about noteatingoutinnewyork has a great thread about the ways eating from home is greener. Fruit from the farmer's market is easy to grab on the way out the door. I don't want to reveal this on food52 (please don't hate me) but I have a stash of frozen meals from Lean Cuisine in the freezer. If I can't even put together a sandwich or run out of bread, I take one... not so great if you don't have access to a microwave, of course, and you lose healthy green points. Consider making extra curry in the eve and taking it to work the next day with a small container of lime pickle and some rice and a small container of Greek yogurt. Good hot or cold. Just try to think about noteatingoutforlunch. Could be a web site?
Jennifer P. September 19, 2010
Sometimes it helps to think outside the box, or plate in this case. A meal doesn't need to consist of an entree, sides, etc. What you need is a proper balance of protein, carbs, fruits and veggies. So, something fun like a cheeseplate is also easy—just cube your favorite, add some grapes (no cutting necessary, just rinsing), pre-cut baby carrots and whole-grain crackers. If you have a fridge at work, maybe keeping some sandwich staples there would take away the stress too—whatever filling faves you like and stash a loaf of bread at your desk. And in a pinch, Greek yogurt is always a great protein boost too.
katiebakes September 18, 2010
I agree with Amanda. Bean salads are another good option, also barley salad. I like to cook edamame, toss with a little olive oil and sea salt, and then top with pecorino or parmesan. Easy, yummy, and a healthy dose of protein! Try the Cucumber-Veggie Salad here on Food52 (sorry, I can't figure out how to get the link).
drbabs September 18, 2010
I often bring tortillas, hummus and mixed lettuce and make a wrap (or 2) at work for lunch. I keep fruit and trail mix at work, too, for when I get hungry and can't get out. I've also made lentil salads (http://www.food52.com/recipes/6507_lentilred_pepper_salad) and (http://www.food52.com/recipes/6236_lemon_thyme_lentils_with_mesclun_greens) the night before and brought them to lunch. One of my colleagues keeps tuna, mayo, hard boiled eggs, apples and crackers at work so he always has something to eat...not very tasty but filling on the fly.
Amanda H. September 18, 2010
Farro and couscous salads -- you could make this couscous salad with butternut squash instead of zucchini now: http://bit.ly/blDkLx
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