Are you tired of having sandwiches every day for lunch? Although it’s possible to make extremely delicious sandwiches, it’s nice to be able to vary your lunches, to keep you enjoying them and not dread the same meal every day. This is not only true at home, but also for when you are at work. Finding good lunches to take with you to work can be a little bit of a challenge. You have to consider whether it will stay fresh until lunch time, such as in a lunch box or thermos or wrapped in plastic. It also depends on your work environment. Some work environments have a microwave which you can access to heat your meals, while others may have a toaster oven. Some even have a fridge allowing you to keep your meal chilled till lunch, while in some work places; you simply do not have access to any cooking appliances. In these cases, a thermos can come in very handy, or choose lunches which do not require refrigeration, heating, and can sit in your bag most of the day without spoiling.
For fresh lunch ideas, in a previous post I mentioned lettuce rolls, tortilla wraps and mixed lunches such as veggies and dip or cheese and crackers. But I thought we could have a look at some more ideas to really bring variety to our lunches with keeping in mind how easy these lunches would be to transport to work.
Fresh Work Lunch Ideas:
Meals in a Thermos
One nifty idea is to get a hold of a steel thermos with a wide mouth to take with you to work for lunch. These are a great idea for anyone who doesn’t have access to a microwave at lunch and also for anyone who works in construction. You can freeze your meal in advance, leftovers from previous dinners is a good choice, and move it to the fridge to thaw overnight. The next morning, preheat your thermos with hot water, heat your meal and then pop it in the thermos, and you are ready to go. This way of making lunch for work is very fast, saves you time in the mornings, uses any leftovers from dinners, and won’t cost you a penny. Not to mention, you also get a very yummy and hot lunch!
Meals that can be carried in a thermos to work:
- Hot dogs
Salads are a great option for those looking for a healthy lunch to take to work, they taste delicious cold and leave you feeling full but not tired after the meal, leaving you rejuvenated to go back to work for the afternoon. Many may have the impression that salads can be a bit boring and don’t fill you up enough, but there is a way to make salads both interesting as well as very filling. Make a salad so tasty that you will be craving to eat it well before lunchtime.
Try a ham, chicken, tuna, turkey, or beef salad. Use leftover meat from the night before, chop it up into small pieces or mix with a processor or blender. You can do this step in advance also and freeze it in separate servings. When it’s time to make it, thaw the meat then add pretty much whatever you want to make the rest of the salad. Make it like you would a sandwich with all the fillings and dressings you like to eat, but skip the bread to make it a salad, not a sandwich. For a vegetarian option, try adding beans, refried beans, or tofu to your salad for extra filling.
Ideas to put in your chicken, tuna, ham, turkey, beef, bean or tofu salad:
- With a ham salad, red onion and pineapple taste delicious.
- With a chicken or turkey salad, I love to add celery, red onion, grapes and walnuts, with a touch of parsley and dill, topped with mayonnaise and mustard.
Add fruit, veggies & nuts to any salad, some ideas are:
- Chopped pickles
- Red onion
- Carrot shreds
- Chopped olives
- Sundried tomatoes
- Apple pieces
Choose your dressings based on the kind of salad it is and what flavor you want, some options are:
- Low fat cream cheese
- Hoisin – for an oriental salad
12 More Lunches to Take to Work:
- Cold jasmine rice mixed with fruit – optional: mix in fresh berries, chopped crystallized ginger, toasted almonds, dried cherries or dried pineapple. Eat as is or top with coconut cream, soy milk or soy creamer.
- Pasta salad – optional: add grilled chicken prepared beforehand.
- Meatball subs – meatballs and mozzarella cheese with spaghetti sauce, served with a roll. (Pop it on the roll at lunch time).
- Cooked chicken (chopped and wrapped separately) – add the chicken to premade rice, soup or salad.
- Pasta or casserole in a dish – a great option if you have access to a fridge and microwave. Leftover risotto, spaghetti, or any pasta or casserole dish.
- Regular salads and taco salads – refried bean or hamburger mixture can taste delicious cold.
- Chicken burritos or Bean and Beef Burritos
- Cold soups – such as: gazpacho, avocado, beetroot or cucumber soup.
- Omelets – some taste pretty nice cold.
- Cheese (optional: with fruit) plate with crackers
- Cold cuts
- Filling dips such as hummus or pumpkin dip with vegetable or fruit slices.
These are just some lunches you can take to work with you, that aren’t sandwiches. I’m sure there are a lot more lunch ideas you can come up with when thinking on the subject. Next time you cook dinner, consider if you could freeze or chill the leftovers and somehow use them in a salad, soup, casserole, with rice, in an omelet, in a burrito, to put in a thermos, or even on a sandwich. You should be able to come up with a lot of different lunches this way. And when you do start varying up your lunches more often, you will find that when you do have a sandwich, it’s actually quite nice as you aren’t having them all the time.