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For the Animals, For the Earth, For Ourselves.
Bag lunches 
28th-Jan-2011 09:29 pm

I need some brainstorming help. I recently got a new job where I have to eat lunch at work. So give me some simple sandwich or other ideas for my lunch bag (oh yeah, I guess I gotta buy one of those, too)! I am clueless. I haven't had to pack a lunch since I've been a kid in school.

I am a lacto-ovo vegetarian. I am allergic to nuts, but can do peanuts (weird, I know). I do have access to a refrigerator and microwave.

29th-Jan-2011 01:24 pm (UTC)
I am allergic to nuts, but can do peanuts (weird, I know).

Not so weird! I'm the same way -- can eat peanuts like it's no one's business, but go into anaphylactic shock when I eat tree nuts. Difference, I guess, is in what it is: Peanuts are legumes, and tree nuts are, erm, nuts. :)

Anyway, more relevant to your post, I made an entry with easy on-the-go lunches a while ago that might help you out. I also use a lot of my recipes and refrigerate/freeze them for lunch the next day or week.

Congratulations on the new job, by the way!! :)
29th-Jan-2011 03:48 pm (UTC)
Thank you for the link! Being able to use them the next day for lunch will be very helpful, too!
29th-Jan-2011 02:05 pm (UTC)
I am really really bad at remembering to pack lunches, but I rotate these ideas when I do.

  • Pasta mixed with tinned/frozen sweetcorn and a tomato sauce to eat cold.

  • Couscous seasoned with spices and mixed with dried vegetables and seeds so you can just add boiling water at lunch. You can buy stuff like this in packets but it's easy to make yourself.

  • Humus and salad in a wrap.

  • Rice mixed with peas and sweetcorn (best kept in the fridge until lunch).

  • Samosa style potato salad wrapped up in a chapati like a burrito.

  • Snack size pakoras and samosas.

29th-Jan-2011 03:49 pm (UTC)
Yum, some great ideas, thank you! See, I'm so bad at thinking up this stuff myself.
29th-Jan-2011 02:09 pm (UTC)
I bought a bunch of little tuperware-like containers and just make extra servings of various dinners to use the next day. Pasta, stiryfry, etc. If it can be heated up in a microwave, it's been lunch. Sometimes I make a batch of soup, portion it out and freeze it. Frozen soup transports easier with less concern about splllage in my bag. Just to be safe I put the containers inside a plastic bag. That way when the rinsed container is coming home with me it doesn't get my purse wet.
29th-Jan-2011 03:50 pm (UTC)
Good idea, thank you!
29th-Jan-2011 02:27 pm (UTC)
I've been brown bagging it for a long time. :)

I normally just pack some of last night's dinner in this cool glass container with a glass lid so I can microwave it. It's something like this http://www.amazon.com/Marinex-23-7-Ounce-Small-Round-Casserole/dp/B0016MZPII/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1296311144&sr=8-1 but from the 70s. :)

If you like sandwiches you really should invest in a sandwich case, or one of those lunch bags with the separate hard bottom for sandwiches, or maybe a bento kit. Something like this: http://www.amazon.com/Picnic-Plus-Savoy-Insulated-Orange/dp/B001MP5ID6/ref=sr_1_12?ie=UTF8&qid=1296311081&sr=8-12

I also like to treat myself with an Amy's frozen meal once in a while, when I'm too busy to cook. They're expensive, but very good and usually quite healthy.
29th-Jan-2011 03:53 pm (UTC)
Oh, I really like that lunch bag...
30th-Jan-2011 12:11 am (UTC)
Does the glass container lid snap on or does it just sit on top?
30th-Jan-2011 02:51 am (UTC)
Nah, I have a different model. It's just a casserole dish. I put a rubber band around it. I don't like microwaving in plastic.
29th-Jan-2011 05:31 pm (UTC)
If you find some good water tight containers, soups are pretty easy for lunch. You can make some soup on the weekend, pack all your lunches for the week at once (if you have five containers) and just grab them from the fridge in the morning before going out the door. Add some fruit (and/or pack a sandwich too, depending on your appetite) and you're all set.
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29th-Jan-2011 08:24 pm (UTC)
I just started to type a comment and then the page refreshed for no reason, so I might wind up posting twice. Sorry! What I was going to say is, can you store food at work? I try to keep crackers and hummus there, and yogurts if I'm in a yogurty mood.

I like to make big batches of things on the weekends to bring with me. This weekend it's quinoa/chickpea salad. Last week it was an eggplant pasta dish. I'm not a fan of garden-variety sandwiches usually so leftover-type foods work the best for me.
29th-Jan-2011 10:32 pm (UTC)
This black bean salad recipe makes a good lunch. It's easy to assemble, and it holds up inside the fridge or out.
29th-Jan-2011 11:00 pm (UTC)
Can't go wrong with pasta or shepherd's pie for lunches. Cube cheese, olives, peanuts, yogurt with fruit, etc., for snacks. The other suggestions were really good for general lunches, but may I add--I found the fridges at my last few jobs to be either ridiculously under- or overpowered (resulting in either rotted, lukewarm food or destroyed, freezer-burned salads), or else not secure (resulting in, well, no food at all).

To remedy the situation, I bought an insulated lunch sack and use a cold ice-pack under and/or over the food to keep it cool. I got mine from a chocolate company I mail-ordered from (chocolatesource.com, I want to say), but you can get them in camping stores too, I think. I put mine into gallon-size ziploc baggies. I've never had a problem since. Other people at work bring entire coolers every day--seriously, wheeled coolers filled with soft drinks, snacks, meals, etc.--but I'm just not that hardcore. I don't think the managers mind; the fridges are still, despite their issues, full all the time anyway, so it's not like it's a large-scale abandonment of a work perk.
30th-Jan-2011 06:15 am (UTC)
Leftovers are your friend :D
Otherwise, check out the bentolunch community here on LJ - while you don't have to make bentos if you don't want, they do have some good ideas for lunches anyway :)
30th-Jan-2011 09:29 am (UTC)
Depending on whether or not you can leave food in the work fridge (or if you have lunch thieves in the office), you can buy salad ingredients and keep them in the fridge. I like to keep spinach, grape tomatoes, avocado, feta, and oil and vinegar at work so I can throw together a fresh salad. Packing the salads in the morning tends to result in soggy, wilted salads, in my experience. I'll sometimes bring something else, too, like half a PB&J sandwich or a tortilla and cheese for a small quesadilla.
31st-Jan-2011 07:08 am (UTC)
I am also a lacto-ovo vegetarian and outlined all of my tricks to packing hearty, healthy lunches.

Some of my favorite lunch recipes include:

Soups and salads are also great (make a big batch of veggie chili, freeze in individual portions) as are other leftovers. Sometimes I'll make a healthy "Lunchable" type meal with apples, cheese, and crackers or artisan bread. Good luck!
2nd-Feb-2011 02:20 am (UTC)
This is so helpful! Thank you so much! :)
2nd-Feb-2011 07:39 pm (UTC)
HCC - hummus, crackers & carrots. Quick, easy, delish.

I also like to bring wraps with various veggies and sauteed portobello mushrooms. You can dress it with hummus, cream cheese, salad dressing, salsa, or anything your heart desires.

Also, as another person already mentioned - leftovers are your friend! Freeze leftovers in individual portions and heat them up in the microwave for lunch.
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