The salad you see on the left in the photo above is the radicchio, endive, orange, and walnut salad I shared yesterday. In that post, I mentioned I’d have at least one serving idea for you, and I do: this is how I packed up some of the leftovers in my take-to-work lunchbox on Monday. It’s a goal of mine to share more of my packable lunches this year and next, and that goal has only been strengthened by diving into nutrition work again. Many of my clients report that it’s easy enough for them to plan a healthy meal at home, but when they have to start planning meals to tote to work or school day in and day out, it becomes harder to meet nutrient needs while also pleasing the tastebuds. So, let’s chat about packing up a healthy, convenient, and satisfying vegan lunch. When I went back to school a few years ago, it marked a change in the kind of lunches I could prepare for myself. Left to my own devices, as you all know, I’m a huge fan of big, voluminous salads, tons of raw veggies, piles of greens, and so forth. At my old job, I was lucky enough to have a roomy office fridge in which I could store any food I’d brought for the day, which meant that it was easy to carry giant, meal sized salads to work. As student life commenced, I initially tried to replicate those same habits, stuffing giant salads into my backpack and trying not to mind that they left barely any room for my books, laptop, and sometimes my gym shoes as well. It didn’t take too long for me to realize that my usual lunch packing habits just weren’t sustainable for a more peripatetic schedule. I needed to find ways to pack lunches that would be:
You’ve probably seen a bunch of my lunchboxes on Instagram or on this blog already, but if you’d like some inspiration, here’s a little collage:As you can see, quite a bit of variety in spite of space constraints! I’m often asked on Instagram which lunchbox I use. I have two that I really like: 1. Stainless Steel ECO Three-in-One Lunchbox Pros: Compact and neat looking. Perfect for stuffing into crowded backpacks or bags. In spite of not having the biggest dimensions, it can still fit a good amount of food. Cons: Not suitable for anything liquidy or prone to leaks, since the seal isn’t very strong. Not as much volume as other lunchbox options. 2. SmartPlanet Collapsible Silicone Lunchbox Pros: Lots of volume, compared to other lunchbox options. Collapses after you eat, which means it’s super transportable as soon as you’ve had your lunch! Pretty leakproof, too. Cons: Takes up a lot of space, and can be awkward to pack when your bag is full. I also have a soup thermos for soups and stews. When I pack that, I’ll still pack some other stuff (a nice salad, some quinoa, roasted veggies, etc.). You can likely tell from the photos above what sort of stuff I tend to pack: salads, grain dishes, legumes, crackers, dressings, avocados, hummus, snack bars, fruit. Other packable ideas!