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Help!

I need to pack a lunch more. Preferably at least 4/5 days of the week. Two birds can be killed with this stone: saving money and eating healthier. A third potential proverbial bird could be time, in that I could eat at my desk which would only take a half hour and then I could possibly leave here earlier. (Sorry Scott, I hate to break it to you, but our pleasant restaurant lunches are cutting into my furniture budget!)

I need you, my fine LJ friends, to tell me anything and everything I could pack in a lunch (and supplemental all day periodic snack delivery system that does not involve the vending machine) that would take minimum prep time. Preferably healthy, as well. Don't count it out because you know I don't like X or Y. I have to just pretend I'm not picky.

Next up: dinner. MUCH more of a challenge. For now we'll tackle lunch.

I'm thinking it would be best if I could get enough for a week or two weeks, so I could plan my grocery shopping better.

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( 96 comments — Leave a comment )
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msteleute
Oct. 4th, 2005 06:38 pm (UTC)
i think baby carrots are good snacking material. You can also drive your co-workers crazy with your crunching!
forestdweller
Oct. 4th, 2005 06:39 pm (UTC)
And they are good with Hummus!!
(no subject) - msteleute - Oct. 4th, 2005 06:42 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - forestdweller - Oct. 4th, 2005 06:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - snidegrrl - Oct. 4th, 2005 06:57 pm (UTC) - Expand
msteleute
Oct. 4th, 2005 06:42 pm (UTC)
We usually do Lean Cuisine or Weight Watchers tv dinners. Ok, they are usually high on the sodium but if you need something fast the calories are low. They are tasty too. Usually there will be one brand on sale at the store on any given week. I think Healthy Choice dinners are poo.
I like hummus on a bagel. I make that for lunch sometimes.
cheetahmaster
Oct. 4th, 2005 06:58 pm (UTC)
I did that for lunch all the time, when I had a freezer at the old job. It's all about finding the ones you like the best.
(no subject) - snidegrrl - Oct. 4th, 2005 07:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - snidegrrl - Oct. 4th, 2005 06:59 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - judithiscariot - Oct. 4th, 2005 07:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - msteleute - Oct. 4th, 2005 07:26 pm (UTC) - Expand
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andthesparrows
Oct. 4th, 2005 06:43 pm (UTC)
My lunch (and I am on WW) consists of a Campbells Soup at Hand, 5 Melba Toast rounds, a wedge of laughing cow cheese, cherry tomatoes and a Special K bar.
For snacks I usually have an individual OJ in the morning and a banana in the afternoon.
snidegrrl
Oct. 4th, 2005 06:50 pm (UTC)
I used to eat those Special K bars. But after my most recent round of fillings, they seem to hurt my teeth. :(

Do you eat that same set of stuff every day? How frequently do you grocery shop? How long to the cherry tomatoes last from the time you buy them?

You'd probably be appalled at the number of melba toast rounds I can eat in one sitting.

Thanks for answering. :) Hope you don't mind the incessant questions!
(no subject) - andthesparrows - Oct. 4th, 2005 06:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - snidegrrl - Oct. 4th, 2005 07:52 pm (UTC) - Expand
judithiscariot
Oct. 4th, 2005 06:47 pm (UTC)
I tend to cook large dinners and portion them into single-serv tupperwares for future lunches. Fridge if I'm going to eat them all soon, freezer if I'm not. Things I tend to make in bulk include: chili, bean dishes (black bean stew, cajun red beans), lasagna, soups (potato-leek, turkey/chicken-noodle). Also, any leftovers from dinner are fair game for lunch; just make twice as much.

Sometimes I do sandwiches, which are usually tunafish, though I also make a mean vegetarian-thing with muenster, red onions, some kind of homemade spread, cukes, sprouts, tomato, & roasted red pepper.

I also usually bring a piece of fruit and a small single-serv salady/snacky type thing (bean salad, tabbouleh, hummus, yogurt, cottage cheese, coleslaw, carrots, celery, more fruit).
snidegrrl
Oct. 4th, 2005 07:55 pm (UTC)
A tupperware salesperson could have a field day with the number of people who use leftovers I know. I would like to make a batch of your pasta salad for just such a purpose.

Sandwiches will probably figure prominently in any lunch plan I make. Deli meats at first, more creative things will come in time maybe. I'm weird in that I like to eat all the pieces of the sandwich seperately so when I used to make myself lunches I would pack all the bits apart and eat them apart. :)
(no subject) - belladonnalin - Oct. 4th, 2005 08:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
peregrin8
Oct. 4th, 2005 06:48 pm (UTC)
I have a tendency to bring huge amounts of groceries to work; here are some of my lunches/snacks...

- English muffins (if there is a toaster at your work)
- bread or crackers & cheese and/or fake Canadian bacon
- leftover pasta with raw broccoli (it steams in the microwave), margarine, and real or fake Parmesan to shake on top
- leftover whatever-was-for-dinner -- this is my most usual lunch.
- burrito fixins: the easiest no-cook version is salsa, shredded cheese, lettuce/tomato/peppers, but I also use leftover black beans and rice or canned chili
- sandwiches: fake turkey or Canadian bacon, lettuce, red bell pepper slices, cheese, mustard, Vegemite when I can get it
- instant soup cups (the ones by Fantastic Foods aren't too unhealthy)
- instant oatmeal
- yogurt; Grape-nuts cereal to mix into the yogurt
- baby carrots; apples; grapes; dried apricots; salted mixed nuts; trail mix; ginger snaps; graham crackers; cashew butter to spread on rice cakes or slices of apple
snidegrrl
Oct. 4th, 2005 06:52 pm (UTC)
Consider my office kitchen a no-fly zone. It smells of death in there. Reading on... :)
(no subject) - peregrin8 - Oct. 4th, 2005 06:57 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - snidegrrl - Oct. 4th, 2005 07:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - forestdweller - Oct. 4th, 2005 07:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - snidegrrl - Oct. 4th, 2005 07:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
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(Deleted comment)
snidegrrl
Oct. 4th, 2005 07:56 pm (UTC)
i don't know what crudite is?
(Deleted comment)
catsaurus
Oct. 4th, 2005 06:51 pm (UTC)
I like to leave a thing of cottage cheese in the fridge, and then add yogurt or fruit and have it as a snack. For lunch, I usually bring a frozen thing (Amy's are good, as are this Indian brand I can't think of). There's always leftovers from dinner the night before, tuna packets, cucumber, tomato and cheese salads, chopped up veggies and hummus, etc. etc.
snidegrrl
Oct. 4th, 2005 07:57 pm (UTC)
I've tried the cottage cheese thing, but never managed to make it palatable. I may try again.

<3 cucumbers.
(no subject) - angela_la_la - Oct. 4th, 2005 08:40 pm (UTC) - Expand
peregrin8
Oct. 4th, 2005 07:02 pm (UTC)
oh yeah and if you like tuna, there are these really nice foil pouch things out now that each have one tuna steak in a sauce... not the cheapest lunch ever, though way cheaper than fresh tuna steaks... I would throw one on some lettuce and baby spinach, with bread or crackers, and just use some of the sauce that's included as dressing. If you like tuna. If not, then that would be really gross. :-)
snidegrrl
Oct. 4th, 2005 07:05 pm (UTC)
does it taste fishy? i don't want to count anything out at this point. i don't traditionally like tuna unless it's the seared fancy tuna appetizer they serve at ruth's chris.
(no subject) - peregrin8 - Oct. 4th, 2005 07:07 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - snidegrrl - Oct. 4th, 2005 07:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
forestdweller
Oct. 4th, 2005 07:04 pm (UTC)
Idears!
Since the kitchen at your office is a pit I'd reccomend a thermos and the making of big pots of soup that you can freeze in baggies and thaw the next day for lunch with crakers and cheez if you like cheez.

Sammiches, pita stuffed with hummus and veggies, wheat wraps with salad greens in drizzled in dressing kept in a seperate container.

Baby carrottness! Popcorn if the microwave isn't too scary. Sliced bell peppers. Crackers and cheez. Animal crackers.

hmm...Hungry now.
elizardaa
Oct. 4th, 2005 07:06 pm (UTC)
hummus seems to be covered, but i'll say it again. and it's high in fiber!
i like making some hummus, and some lebneh and going to town with wheat pita.
bring in some fruit and carrots/celery and you're all set.

my green hummus: couple a cans a chickpeas; lemon juice [1+ whole lemons]; salt; canola oil [just a bit]; more garlic and parsley than you can shake a stick at [for me this usually means 6+ cloves of garlic, and a huge handful of chopped parsley]. blend it all up in a food processor and you're set!

my lebneh: take some cheesecloth, fill it with plain lowfat yogurt. tie up the cheesecloth and hang from... something. i use the sink facet, or our dishtowel hook with a bowl under. let it drain overnight [8-12 hours is good]. next day, put in bowl and stir in a bit of sugar [if it's too sour] and salt to taste, it will be quite flat. garnish with a little olive oil and enjoy! [some folks also add herbs to this... but i'm a fan of it plain.]


i really need to get the middle eastern cookbooks on my wishlist! also, i think i may go home and make some lebneh or hummus now...
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(no subject) - elizardaa - Oct. 4th, 2005 09:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
angela_la_la
Oct. 4th, 2005 08:43 pm (UTC)
Re: My Rabbity Lunch
Healthy, quick to put together, and dirt cheap are all important for grown-up lunches too. :)
(Deleted comment)
Re: My Rabbity Lunch - snidegrrl - Oct. 5th, 2005 03:07 am (UTC) - Expand
rob_donoghue
Oct. 4th, 2005 07:10 pm (UTC)
I'm a sandwich man. I'll make other thigns, but sandwiches remain my fallback for one simple reason: it's easy to make a couple days worth all at once. Get good bread, make sure to include some greenery, bag em dand fridge em, and just snag them when you go out the door.

Snackage is more variable. I keep trying to go the yogurt path, but it's just not that satisfying to me. As commented, baby carrots are good if you just want to address mindless nibbling. I actually have had a lot of success with beef jerky (a carryover form atkins days). You dont' eat a lot, but you eat it slow, and it's filling. Unfortunately, it's pretty darn expensive everywhere. Barring that, nuts or peanut butter are good in reasonable doses, padded out by fruit.

Main thing is I wouldn't worry too much about it being an overly "diet" packed lunch. If it's made up of decent stuff it's still goign to be healthier than most eating out, and if you don't feel you're punishign yourself, you're more likely to make the habit stick.

snidegrrl
Oct. 5th, 2005 03:17 am (UTC)
Too bad I don't like jerky. I think that's one I can not feel too bad about rejecting out of hand. :)

I'm not too worried about the diety nature of it, honestly. I just wanna do it!
miz_kitty
Oct. 4th, 2005 07:10 pm (UTC)
Work lunches have always been a stumbling block for me. When I was in undergrad, I worked a retail place that would fill up a huge box from Costco full of candy and crap at Christmas. Ugh.

Anyway, I take things like yogurt and cheese sticks for snacks. Pria bars, precut apples (I'm that lazy) and whole wheat Ritz with a few cheese singles.

For lunch, I take leftover if I was bothered to cook, or a salad in those containers where the dressing stays in the top, sandwhichers, definately soup on hand, and WW or Lean Cusine if I'm in a pinch.
snidegrrl
Oct. 5th, 2005 03:18 am (UTC)
Where does one get these magic containers where the dressing stays in the top!! I have never seen such things. Exciting!
fooltheworld
Oct. 4th, 2005 07:14 pm (UTC)
This would probably need to be kept cold but I love wraps made with hummus, spinach and other assorted goodies, such as: black olives, feta cheese, grape tomatoes, red bell pepper, purple onion, artichoke hearts...
peregrin8
Oct. 4th, 2005 07:18 pm (UTC)
YUM!

when I make wraps like that, I fridge them overnight but then let them sit out when they get to the office -- it's not long enough for them to spoil but they taste good at room temperature.

[adding feta and artichoke hearts to grocery list...]
(no subject) - snidegrrl - Oct. 4th, 2005 07:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peregrin8 - Oct. 4th, 2005 07:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
jwiv
Oct. 4th, 2005 07:15 pm (UTC)
My usual day.

Breakfast
Bagel w/ Cream Cheese or eggs/english muffin with OJ

Lunch
Lately been Thai Noodles (little single serving packages)
Sometimes Fruit Salad

Dinner
Something cooked at home
snidegrrl
Oct. 5th, 2005 01:16 am (UTC)
where do you get the thai noodles and how do you prepare them?
(no subject) - tartedelune - Oct. 5th, 2005 03:42 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jwiv - Oct. 5th, 2005 10:30 am (UTC) - Expand
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