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Kitchen Basics – Delicious Packable Lunches

By August 26, 2015Kitchen Basics

Oh lunch. The oft neglected middle meal. How often do we eat in a hurry at our desks, eat a squished vending machine sandwich, or forget to eat altogether? Admittedly, I don’t forget to eat all that often. I’m usually thinking about the next meal while I’m eating the current one. It’s just the way I operate. But, if I have nothing planned or prepared, I will eat chips and salsa, or cold leftovers standing at the kitchen island… anything to ward off the hunger pangs.

I try to have our meals planned a week ahead of time. Not just dinners, but breakfasts and lunches too. Helps my days to run much smoother when things are planned ahead of time. Food is defrosted when I need it, groceries are added to the list, and there’s food to take to work or eat at home for lunch.

Whether I’m making a lunch for Tim to take to work, or something to be eaten at home, I like to include something filling – a main of sorts, along with some raw fruits and veggies. Today’s lunch was Taco Salad, using some of what we have on hand: lettuce, tomato, cucumber, black beans (spiced up with some chili powder and salt), shredded cheese, corn chips, Greek yogurt, and salsa. To go along with that was some cut up cantaloupe and watermelon, and a whole plum.

Here are some other ideas for lunches that can be packed and enjoyed no matter what you’ve got going on at lunchtime.

Hot Lunches for the Work Week

Monday 

Rice and Bean Burritos or leftover Beef and Bean Enchiladas with Greek yogurt and salsa

Carrot sticks

Fruit – whole or in chunks as a salad (stone fruit, apple, pear, persimmon, pomegranate, melon, figs)

Tuesday 

Spicy Summer Squash and Tomato Soup

BLT

Fruit – whole or in chunks as a salad

or Chicken Noodle Soup

Roasted Veggie Sandwich (leftover roasted veggies, like eggplant, summer squash, onions, peppers – with mustard or mayo – or both, on a baguette, with fresh tomatoes and olives)

Fruit – whole or in chunks as a salad

or Kohlrabi Stew

Ham and Cheese Sandwich

Fruit – whole or in chunks as a salad

Wednesday 

Succotash

Tuna Melt (bring the prepared tuna in a separate container, top bread with tuna and cheese, place on a pan in the toaster oven and cook until hot and melty)

Vegan Fruit Crisp

Thursday 

Fish Wellingtons

Creamy Cucumber and Tomato Salad

Fruit – whole or in chunks as a salad

Friday 

Mediterranean Veggies and Rice

Salted Chocolate and Roasted Fig Pudding

Cold Lunches for the Work Week

 

Monday 

Artichoke Heart Dip with raw veggies for dipping (carrots, celery, radishes, artichoke leaves, snap peas, green beans, fava beans, bell peppers, fennel, mushrooms)

Chunks of bread or crackers with cheese

Nuts and seeds

Hard boiled eggs

Fruit – whole or in chunks as a salad

Tuesday 

Eggplant and Summer Squash Tacos

Melon and Feta Salad

Wednesday 

Bean and Veggie Mélange atop rice/quinoa/bulgur wheat, leftover crispy or baked potatoes (cold or reheated), or toasted bread (rub a bit of raw garlic on it, add a sprinkle of salt, and a drizzle of olive oil before you top with the mélange)

Whole Wheat Parsnip Cookies

Thursday

Massaged Kale and Tuna Salad

Apricot and Black Pepper Galette

Friday 

Taco Salad (use leftover Bean and Veggie Mélange to top lettuce, add some cheese, corn chips, chopped tomatoes, Greek yogurt, and salsa)

Vegan Fruit Crisp

These lunches don’t have to be limited to the grownups. Summer is drawing to a close, so school lunches will need to be packed. The kiddos might enjoy a break from PB&J (although let’s be honest, I still love a good PB&J sandwich for any meal). Depending on the level of pickiness, you may want to tweak them a bit. I don’t know if the little ones will enjoy a Massaged Kale and Tuna Salad… although they may surprise you. 😉 You can take the general idea and make it your own. Maybe even come up with a fun saying for each day, so they’ll look forward to their lunch (like Taco Tuesday – come up with a four week rotation for different types of tacos). You could let them help pack their lunches too. They might take pride in being able to help put it together the night before, making them look forward to eating it at noon.

However, wherever, and whenever you enjoy your lunch…

Happy Eating!

Author Rachel Oberg

More posts by Rachel Oberg

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