So, for I think the…

So, for I think the first time in our relationship, Kevin is going off to work around 9 every weekday morning, and coming home either before or after dinner (depending on what the work colleagues are doing). As we are trying to be better about not eating out, and also trying to eat a bit healthier, I have promised to try to help him pack a bag lunch every day. I realized, though, that I am entirely unpracticed in packing bag lunches. Oh, sometimes I'm sure we'll have leftovers, and I'll merrily send him off with chicken curry, saag, and rice to microwave (to the envy of his colleagues). But there will be other days where no leftovers are to be found.

Help me brainstorm what would be good (and varied) to include in a healthy lunch, moderate on starches and sugars, high on protein and fiber, low on fat? Keeping in mind that Kevin, like me, enjoys good food very much. He has also vetoed lunch meats, on the grounds that he claims they get slimy when they sit around for a few hours. Oh, and I'm happy to cook some of this in advance, though ideally only if I can use it for a few meals (pasta salad?) Hopefully, this is all good practice for a few years down the line, when we're packing up school lunches for Kavi...

So far, I've thought of:

  • veggie sandwiches (on some sort of seeded grain bread) -- what do I put in them? hummus and tabouleh? a bit of cheese? (what kind?) what else?
  • hard-boiled eggs
  • olives
  • pasta salad (anyone have a good recipe?)
  • fresh fruit (which he loves, so definitely some of this in every bag)
  • occasional cookies (because it's nice to have a little treat)
  • power bar
  • yogurt (which he likes with berries and granola, though I'm not sure how to send that without it all getting soggy -- three separate little containers?)
  • carrot sticks (seem healthy, but dull)
  • potato chips (tasty, but not healthy at all)
Okay, I'm stumped. HELP???

8 thoughts on “So, for I think the…”

  1. For variety, you can put sandwich filling in a whole-wheat pita or roll it up in a wheat tortilla.

    String cheese is easily portable, comes in low-fat varieties, and is a great source of quick protein.

    I like to dip baby carrots in hummus, which makes them less boring.

    The individual pouches of tuna are FANTASTIC. So much tastier than the canned stuff. Depending on how he likes his tuna, you can either mix it up (with mayo, onions, pickles, etc.) and put it in a container so he can put it on bread at lunchtime, or just give him the pouch and he can eat it plain with the rest of his goodies.

    What about sushi?

    Coleslaw. The vinegar-based kind is healthier than the mayo-based kind and so easy to make. I add wasabi to mine for a bit of kick). Also, it stays crunchy and actually gets better if it sits for a while.

    Some kind of cooked pasty is always good, and can be eaten warm or cold. Good for using up leftovers, too. 🙂

    Lowfat or fat-free cottage cheese with things mixed in is also healthy, tasty, and full of protein.

    Your list is great, too!

  2. I second Pita pocket sandwiches with hummus & veggies.
    Do you have a grill pan? You can marinate slices of eggplant, zucchini & red onion in olive oil, herbs, garlic and then grill them. Put some pesto on slices of bread and load up the grilled veggies. This sandwich tastes good cold too. You can also grill chicken for sandwiches or salad. There was a good sweet and chilly chicken recipe on the Rachael Ray show website that I tried last week and would be a good lunch (I’m a big RR fan. Her recipes are quick, easy and tasty.)

  3. In my veggie sandwiches, I like hummus with sliced cucumber or tomato and maybe some grilled/broiled zucchini or roasted red pepper (though the pepper can make the bread soggy). My favorite veggie sandwich, though, is an equal mix of bleu cheese and cream cheese with a sliced apple or pear and a sprinkling of toasted walnuts or pecans. That can be made healthier by using the low fat cream cheese and it only gets better when it sits for a few hours as the cheese has time to warm up. The apple or pear will brown a little when it sits, but it still tastes fine to me, and you can rub them with lemon juice to slow that down if it bothers you.

    I sometimes make a casserole specifically to take for lunches. The following one is very easy to add in while making dinner, provides multiple lunches, and is tasty hot, cold, or at room temperature.

    Roasted Beans with Garlic and Olives

    3 T olive oil
    1 one pound package of frozen lima beans
    6 large cloves of garlic, peeled and halved
    1 C green olives, pitted and sliced
    1-2 T minced fresh herbs (or 1-2 tsp dried)
    2-3 medium red skinned potatoes, sliced
    salt and pepper to taste

    Preheat oven to 375. Spread 2 T olive oil into a baking dish. Toss everything together directly into the dish and spinkle with a little salt and pepper. Cover tightly with foil. Bake for 50 minutes or until the garlic is tender when pierced with a fork. Stir and drizzle on more olive oil, salt, and pepper to taste.

    This is adapted from Mollie Katzen’s Vegetable Heaven. The potatoes are my addition to turn the bean dish into a one-dish meal. For the herbs, I usually use 1 tsp dried summer savory and 1 tsp dried sage, but they also suggest marjoram and thyme as possibilities. I use the sliced green olives with pimento straight out of the supermarket jars to save time, but it would be even better with good olives.

  4. One of the things I like are Mary’s Gone Crackers, cucumber peeled and sliced thinly, a tomato cut into slices like an apple, and slices of hard cheese. Then he can make his own little snack cracker lunch. (And Mary’s Gone Crackers are healthy, taste incredibly good, and hold up in lunches.)

    Egg salad sandwiches are also good, but you might want to put the egg salad into a separate container, then provide something like Wasa crackers to spread it on.

    Wasa crackers are a great substitute for bread, as they don’t get soggy like bread does. As for bread, see if you can find the French Meadow Bakery’s “Men’s Bread”. I love the Woman’s Bread, myself. I get it from my local co-op — they have it in the freezer section.

    Some sort of trail mix as a snack. Little containers of apple sauce (the organic stuff from Santa Cruz is really good.)

    These are all I have off the top of my head. Hope this helps!

  5. Big help, guys — thanks! 🙂 Sadly, Kevin doesn’t eat fish, which I should have said, but all the rest of the notes were very useful…

  6. Here’s another cool one (related to the above one):

    http://lunchinabox.net/

    There’s a ton of ideas and pretty cool pics too. I just am not as disciplined to do this on a daily basis. If you can make ’em, it sounds like it could be fun and creative…

    HM

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