What should I buy to pack for lunches?

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by Koriemo, Aug 17, 2015.

  1. Koriemo

    Koriemo Comrade

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    Aug 17, 2015

    Okay teachers, help me out. I have NO idea what type of stuff to pack to bring for lunch! I am trying to avoid the cafeteria food this year. My husband eats all of our leftovers for his lunches, so I can't rely on that.

    I have access to a fridge and microwave, but sometimes it's hard to get there during the day.

    I'm going grocery shopping tonight, and for some reason, my mind is completely blank.
     
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  3. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Aug 17, 2015

    My answer probably won't be that helpful because I don't have a lunch. I bring small snacks that I can munch on during the day...nuts, yogurt, fruit snacks, crackers and cheese snacks, etc. I don't have access to a microwave or fridge so I pack my snacks in one of those lunch boxes that you put in the freezer and stays cold all day.
     
  4. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    Aug 17, 2015

    If you are wanting left overs, make more when you can. Obviously if you do something like a lasagna, you are limited with the pan. But if you grill some chicken with veggies, throw an extra piece of chicken and extra veggies specifically for you.

    My go-to lunch is turkey with lettuce on a 'sandwich thin' (or whatever those skinny things are called) and an apple. Sometimes some crackers with it. I eat that probably 60% of the time. The other 40% could be left overs, a frozen meal, or whatever. In the past, I went through a kick where maybe one week per month I'd grill a bunch of chicken and bring that and bagged lettuce for lunch. During last winter I would hibernate on Sunday, so every Monday I ate something from a can. (soup or something) :lol: Honestly, I'm a super picky eater, so I'm probably not the best person to give advice!

    I had a co-worker that would bring an entire loaf of bread, jar of jelly, and jar of peanut butter to school. She said that way she didn't have to worry about lunch. She had two little ones to get ready in the morning.

    My best advice- if you want to avoid the cafeteria, make sure you keep an 'emergency lunch' in your desk. A can of soup, Easy Mac, something. That way if you accidentally forget it, someone steals it, you drop it on the floor, etc... you have a back-up. My emergency lunch was always a can of Spaghettios. I don't like them, but I can tolerate them. They made a perfect emergency lunch- I was never tempted to eat them!!
     
  5. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Aug 17, 2015

    I plan and prepare my lunches on Sundays. (I also count calories and log it, and this helped me lose over 30 lbs between November and May).
    Basically I make rice (mixed with veggies) in a rice cooker, and then divide them into 4-5 containers. I don't mind eating it for 4-5 days. I make veggies for side for 2-3 days (steamed cabbage, green peas, etc) as well as some type of meat for 2-3 days, and then do the same Tuesday or Wednesday night.
    I used to also make salads ahead of time.

    In addition to my prepared lunches, I have a mini fridge stocked with the following items:
    - fruit (couple of apples)
    - several yoghurts
    - juice or coconut water
    - plenty of protein bars.
    - I'm also planning on taking some crackers in zip lock bags, in the past I had some nuts in a small container.

    I'm buying a microwave for my classroom next week or so, and I'm planning on having milk in the fridge, with premixed oats and dried fruit and nuts in my desk.
    This way I'll be set just in case I can't make lunch.

    You can also make sandwiches, they're great because they can be eaten quickly, even while standing or working, but I don't like that much bread. When I do make sandwiches, I usually include lettuce, ham or other type of meat, or peanut butter and sliced strawberries with fresh basil or sliced apples.
    Bananas are also great for a quick bite and quick energy / low blood sugar.
     
  6. ECE ABC

    ECE ABC Comrade

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    Aug 17, 2015

    I bring leftovers a lot of the time; soups, pasta, chicken or tuna over a salad, etc.

    Here are a few things I enjoy if I don't have leftovers....

    Turkey or ham roll ups
    String cheese or cubes
    Pickles and/or olives
    Hard boiled/deviled eggs
    Pepperoni slices w/wheat thins
    Greek yogurt w/berries & nuts
    Apple slices w/peanut butter
    Baby carrots w/ranch dressing
    Celery w/cream cheese
     
  7. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Aug 17, 2015

    Salads
    String cheese and crackers
    Hummus and veg
    Sandwich thins with hummus, sprouts,feta
    Yogurt
    Cottage cheese
    Canned fish: tuna, sardines and crackers
    Roasted veg
    Fruit
    Granola
     
  8. Koriemo

    Koriemo Comrade

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    Aug 17, 2015

    Thanks for the ideas! I felt like I couldn't remember a THING I had eaten over the past year. I ended up getting:
    Baby carrots and ranch dressing
    Tortillas, roasted red peppers, sundried tomatoes, and hummus for roll ups
    Packets of oatmeal for my morning snack or if I forget breakfast
    Grapes
    Apples
    Bananas
    Nonfat yogurt
    The drink it out of the container soup things
    Pretzels
    Rice cakes
    String cheese

    I guess I tend to like more snack food that I can eat quickly during the day. I end up having about three 15 minute time periods I can eat something, so I guess it works out! I remembered that I like tortilla roll ups a lot- that was my go to lunch during college.
     
  9. WindyCityGal606

    WindyCityGal606 Enthusiast

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    Aug 17, 2015

    I also prefer having something light but nutritious throughout the day. I try to devote time to prepare a healthy breakfast then make sure to do the same for dinner.
     
  10. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    Aug 17, 2015

    Wow - I stop at the closest McD's every morning on my way to work and get a couple of yogurt parfaits and call it done. I hate packing lunches, hate waiting for the microwave which is always dirty, hate when people feel free to poach your food from the fridge, and I hate the cafeteria food.

    Actually, my choice is still sounding pretty good to me - if it ain't broke, don't fix it!:cool:
     
  11. jadorelafrance

    jadorelafrance Cohort

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    Aug 17, 2015

    Haha I love this! Not a bad idea and it's only a couple of bucks which is what you'd end up spending preparing a lunch anyways.
     
  12. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    Aug 17, 2015

    This is a good thread. I always start the year with good intentions and get bored of everything fast. I am lucky enough to have my own mini-fridge and microwave so my options are open -- the biggest factor is lack of time, and I have trouble relaxing enough to eat when I'm rushed. I also stress out on Sundays if I don't have a plan for lunch for the week (sad but true!). I like the idea of keeping the fridge stocked with healthy snacky things to munch on when I'm able!
     
  13. jadorelafrance

    jadorelafrance Cohort

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    Aug 17, 2015

    I wish I could say I packed really healthy snacks/lunches like some of the other posters, but in reality I aM really lazy when it comes to school lunches. I usually pack leftovers and most of the time it's some form of pasta. Occasionally I'll make a sandwich or salad, but those options are not filling for me and would require more snacks. I'm really cheap when it comes to food because I'm on a tight budget.
    Yogurt with fruit is a good snack/side option because it is filling.
     
  14. MLB711

    MLB711 Comrade

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    Aug 18, 2015

    Just like Linguist, I try to make one big meal on Sunday or Monday to take for the rest of the week. I get the most bang for my buck out of pasta. I'll often make a pound of pasta plus homemade sauce (cheaper than jarred sauce plus I add tons of veggies), and pre-package it into 5 containers. Then I reheat in a lunch crock, because when you have 20 min to eat there's no time to waste on the microwave lol. I also like fiesta chicken (chicken breasts with rice/peppers/beans/onions/cream cheese), chicken curry (with jarred sauce and added veggies), all kinds of soups, and chili. Most of those recipes I pop in the crock pot because I'm a crock pot addict.

    I often take mason jar salads as a side dish. I take them in the medium-sized jars, like ones I'd use for jelly. I put dressing on the bottom, usually half a stalk of chopped celery and baby carrots on top of that, then pack with lettuce. It looks pretty AND it's nutritious! ;)

    Fallbacks that are almost always in the house:
    - refried bean/cheese quesadillas with peppers
    - carrots/celery with hummus, cheese/crackers
    - giant mason jar salad
    - classic PB&J or PB&nutella
    - Chef Boyardee or Soup in a Cup (kept at school)
    - granola bars, fruit, & yogurt
     
  15. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    Aug 18, 2015

    I either bring sandwiches: pimento cheese and PB&J, or microwave meals (lean cuisine, etc. - whatever's on sale that week). I also bring Cliff bars.
     
  16. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    What a great idea to use a lunch crock pot. Is it the really small type? I've just committed to never using the filthe microwave again. Seriously, it's a health hazard. I like granola on yogurt, tuna sandwiches. I'm trying to cut down on pasta, but the veggie pasta seems to be okay for my blood sugar.
     
  17. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    I pack things that don't need to be reheated and can be easily eaten while standing: sandwiches (PB&J is my favorite), salads (loaded with veggies and black beans), or overnight oatmeal (on certain weeks, I'll make enough for Mon-Fri and store the containers in the fridge at work).

    Additionally, I pack snacks such as yogurt, pretzels, nuts, granola bars, or fruit.

    This year, my goal is to set aside 10-15 minutes each day to sit down and eat (versus standing up while at playground/cafeteria duty).
     
  18. Koriemo

    Koriemo Comrade

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    Aug 18, 2015

    The lunch crock! That's probably a good idea to invest in. I also just realized that this week I have lunch duty (we have it one week per quarter) so I have to pack something especially quick and easy to eat.

    I have a hard time eating the same thing every day... If I get bored with what I'm eating, I end up not eating and then wanting to stop for fast food on my drive home.

    Tomorrow I will probably bring a bagel with cream cheese. Not the healthiest option, but so it goes!
     
  19. Rabbitt

    Rabbitt Connoisseur

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    Aug 18, 2015

    I make smoothies on the weekend and freeze them into individual solo cups covered with the Glad press and seal.
    Fruit, spinach, Almond milk, yogurt, nuts, ice.
    I mix it up sometimes with PB, chocolate, juice

    Every couple weeks I bring groceries...case of water, cereal, cheese, fruit, boiled eggs, sucking candy, meats, etc.

    We joke at school about how we need a pantry/closet in our room not only for food but personal items...sweaters, lotions, toothbrush, aspirin, hairspray, HAHAHHAHA
     
  20. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

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    Aug 18, 2015

    I did leftovers or some sort of sandwich.
    We had a teacher keep half gallon of milk & box of cereal...ate that for lunch.
     
  21. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Ooh, frozen smoothies, what a great idea!!
    I have a Nutribullet, and I love smoothies, but I hardly use it (unless I make frozen Margaritas), because it would be too much work in the morning.
    But I could just spend a half an hour making a large batch (and record all the ingredients, since I'm still trying to lose a little bit of weight) and freeze them into small cups. I actually save plastic bottles (like Gatorade bottles) that have a wider opening.
    I'm going to start this week :)
     
  22. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Aug 19, 2015

    This is exactly what I do. I don't have time to just sit and eat lunch uninterrupted for 25 minutes. I bring lots of small snacks and an energy drink for the afternoon slump.
     
  23. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    At least 4 days a week I don't eat lunch at school. Sometimes I keep a Quest bar in my bag. Those are pretty filling.
     
  24. ECE ABC

    ECE ABC Comrade

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    Aug 29, 2015

    I went food shopping today to stock up on my snacks/lunches for next week when I go back to school......


    hummus
    bag of baby carrots
    ranch dressing
    cucumbers
    greek yogurt
    strawberries
    peaches
    sliced turkey
    american cheese
    lettuce & tomato
    dill pickles
    green olives
    romaine lettuce
    cans of tuna
    bag of string cheese
    multi grain bread
    pretzels (100 cal paks)
    crystal light tea
     
  25. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    Aug 30, 2015

    I usually make enough dinner to bring leftovers for lunch. This week I've made myself a salad everyday for lunch and that's been great. I have a lunchbox that has freeze packs built into it so I just put it in the freezer the day before and it keeps everything cold the next day! Salads this week have been simple- lettuce, tomato, cucumber, carrots, olives and some tuna. Make sure to put dressing the day of or bring it separately.
     
  26. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Aug 30, 2015

    I don't mind eating the same thing every day (I'm sure it will get old after a while tough). Last week I had red rice cooked with diced tomatoes and gran beans (both were canned originally) and chicken. The microwave really helped.
    For snack I mixed fat free vanilla yoghurt with pineapple chunks, it was delicious.

    Next week I will make rice again (I love it) but with pork this time, and only for 3 days. The other 2 days I will make a big salad, and pack grilled port separately, heat it in the microwave and then mix it with the salad. Sounds yummy.

    I might also make oatmeal for my snack.
     
  27. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    Aug 30, 2015

    My team and I have our lunch and planning back to back, so it's a pretty large block of time. We've gotten into the bad habit of going out and picking up food for lunch. I've already gained a few pounds since school started, and it's only been three weeks! I'm trying to get back on track this week. I bought some pretzels, hummus, string cheese sticks, greek yogurt, and lots of fruits and veggies for lunches this week.
     

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