What People (Actually) Eat for Lunch

What Do You (Actually) Eat for Lunch?

When lunchtime rolls around, what do you eat? On the days I bring my lunch to work, I resort to the meal I’ve packed since kindergarten: a yogurt, an orange and some sort of nut-butter sandwich. Reader, I cannot see another cup of Chobani.

Feeling curious, I quizzed people in our shared workspace about their recent meals:

“A slice of pizza and a chicken roll. A pizza slice is not enough for a lunch. Neither is the chicken roll. Together they are enough.”

“I picked up a Cuban sandwich. It was underwhelming. And water.”

“Frozen Snickers.”

“A bento box with two rice balls.”

“I brought steak tacos with avocado and pickled cabbage. I’m a big fan of leftovers. ”

“Today I went to the deli and got a whitefish salad on pumpernickel bread. Sometimes I’ll get one leaf of lettuce. Never tomato.”

“A Clif Bar.”

Sound familiar to you? This month, our food series will be all about lunches — inspiration for quick meals that won’t make you feel bummed out or hangry. But before we begin, here’s a pop quiz: What did you have for lunch at work today — thumbs up, thumbs down? Did you pack food? Order delivery with office mates? If you’re home, did you reach for last night’s leftovers?

What Do You (Actually) Eat for Lunch?

Here’s to never eyeing your coworker’s plate again.

P.S. Five-ingredient dinners, and stretches for people who sit at desks.
P.P.S. This makes me laugh every time I think about it.

  1. Claire says...

    Getting ready to send my son to kindergarten and anxious about figuring out all those lunches to pack! (His preschool provides lunch.) Perhaps you would be kind enough to do something on packable school lunch ideas? Easy, inexpensive, nutritious, not too messy? I would love that.

  2. PB on toast, PB on a banana, avocado on toast with a grind of black pepper, leftovers, two peeled soft boiled eggs … haha. Tortilla chips with homous … fast, ridiculous lunches that are eaten usually standing up. Not cool!!!!!! Sometimes I sit down for a few minutes. :P

  3. I always like to have a lot of vegetables so this week I made a kale, potato, mushroom, and onion curry

  4. Becca says...

    Ugh. Lunch. I’m a mum at home but there is still never anything to eat (kind of like having “nothing to wear” when you’re standing in front of a full cupboard I think). Anyway today a lunch was leftovers (vegetarian pilaf) but usually it’s Vegemite on toast.

  5. Mallory says...

    I AM SO EXCITED FOR THIS. Today I ate a pear and some pretzels. With a sprite. That shouldn’t qualify as lunch and I’m not sure if it does.

  6. Sarah says...

    Lunch is so annoying!! Its the worst meal, you just want to cook something lovely and take a nap but instead you’re.. at work. Ugh. One great thing I’ve discovered though- toaster quesadillas! You can stack a tortilla, cheese, avocado, green chile, leftover beans, tomatoes, etc then a top layer of cheese and a top tortilla and toast it like to bread. It comes out great! If its not clear, I live in the southwest lol and I bring a big container of salsa to top it all off.

  7. I prep vegan salads for Monday – Thursday… some variation on the following… Kale, broccoli slaw or shredded brussels sprouts, 1/2 roasted beet, zucchini, some legume (usually chickpeas), possibly pumpkin seeds or almonds and a basic dressing (usually hummus mixed with some sort of vinegar and spices). That, plus a fruit – clementines recently, and some carrot sticks!
    Its nothing special but it gives me one less thing to worry about during the day, I know I’m getting greens, and it packs well. Then on Fridays I get lunch out somewhere for a treat!

  8. Addie says...

    Lunch stresses me out. I never know what to make. I spend so much time worrying about making a substantial dinner that lunch gets overlooked. On an ambitious day I’ll make some egg salad to bring to the office. Most of the time it’s just a cup of yogurt that I threw into the grocery cart at the last minute, and then I scrounge up some crackers or something.

  9. JudyH says...

    Almost always leftovers. Today I had white bean soup and brocolli slaw. I always bring nuts and a fruit for a snack. I love to eat and I’m cheap. I feel like life is too short to spend it eating bad food.

  10. Amanda says...

    Salads from Sweetgreen; Pho from Pho Zombies (so good, I sub bean spouts for noodles); my not so famous beer chili or bean soup from a can—I make the soup more robust by adding fresh tomatoes; fresh avocado; tortilla chips; fresh salsa; cheese; cilantro; and roasted sweet potatoes. If I want something sweet & healthy for lunch, I make a almond butter & banana burrito/wrap.

  11. Jennifer says...

    Leftover Chicken Fajitas – a bit underwhelming. We always bring leftovers though – saves us having to plan another meal.

  12. Sally says...

    I’m hopeless at lunch, and I know it!
    I rarely get a decent lunch break, so lunch at work is quick. Usually a sandwich of some sort (beef, chicken or ham) and a babybel cheese…
    I’d love to manage even leftovers, but I genuinely don’t have the spoons most of the time to do anything more.

  13. Leftovers forever! ? It makes it so easy. Making a whole other meal for lunch seems exhausting for me. A bonus side effect I discovered is that I am less likely to overeat at dinner time because I know I will get to enjoy those flavours again for lunch!

  14. Leftovers are the way to go! It keeps thing simple and streamlined. Generally I’ll cook 3-4 dinner-type meals per week, and my partner and I will rotate those for lunch and dinner. Plus, fresh bread I bake on Sundays to keep me full. Today I had last night’s dinner: roasted carrots in sesame oil and fresh red cabbage over a bed of rice. Top with soy sauce and voila! Two really great (educational) sources for meals: and A Modern Way To Cook (find it on amazon).

  15. I eat lunch at home nowadays since I’m a new-entrepreneur. I love to prep ahead a batch of grains (brown rice, quinoa, etc.), lean protein, and roasted veggies. I basically combine them in some way in a bowl & top it with a sauce or dressing. You can eat it as a salad, a burrito bowl, or a buddha bowl. I like being able to mix it up : )

  16. Katie says...

    This cookbook changed my lunchin’ life: Found it in a $5 book bin at a bookshop on the coast and have been enjoying delish & inexpensive packed lunches every since! Holla for local bookstores!

    (Bob’s Beach Books, Lincoln City, OR) <—not an ad, just love that place & like to patronize small book shops :)

  17. Ryan says...

    I lunch prep on Sundays. I made chicken and asparagus teriyaki stir-fry with brown rice (recipe courtesy of Skinnytaste). I only had enough for 4 days, so today I resorted to a protein bar and mixed nuts :(

  18. I’m at home for lunch most days. Sometimes I will eat leftovers from dinner the night before. Recently I reheated Italian wedding soup. It was delicious reheated, better the second day. Sometimes I improvise. Recently I made some quinoa in the rice cooker, and added in scrambled egg, cheese, and steamed broccoli. Yesterday I had a grilled cheese sandwich on whole wheat bread and gala apple slices. Today I am having a smoothie made with whole milk, yogurt, fresh pineapple, frozen strawberries, a frozen banana and cinnamon. If I eat out, I like to go to a local place that makes delicious veggie bowls, or go somewhere for a deli sandwich that is fancier than what I make at home, a big salad, or a burrito bowl.