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What Do You Have for Work Lunch?

Five Easy Work Lunches

What do you usually eat for lunch? Work lunches often fall into two distinct categories: expensive or boring. Many people in our workspace either grab pricey takeout or bring in leftovers, hoping they reheat okay. But, of course, it doesn’t have to be that way! With some help from SoYoung, here are five cheap and delicious meals that’ll take no more than fifteen minutes…

Five Easy Work Lunches

Salad in a Jar
Salad in a mason jar is the easiest way to have a big, zillion-ingredient salad at work. The key is simply knowing how to layer it: Dressing goes in first, followed by your firmest vegetables (carrots, etc.). Next, add your grains and/or beans and a protein. Top it all off with lettuce or leafy greens. When you’re ready to eat, just dump it all into a bowl and toss!

Grown-Up PB&J
Nothing wrong with the classic, if that’s your jam. But if you’re in the mood for something new, try swapping out peanut butter for sun butter or almond butter. Add one more ingredient and you’ve got a whole new sandwich on your hands. Try slicing up a fig or sprinkling in some dried apricot for texture; or add sliced fresh fruit or bananas instead of jelly.

Picnic in a Bag
Joanna has had this lunch every other day for years. Pack your favorite cheese, crackers and some fruit. (For example, a Honeycrisp apple with sharp cheddar is one of life’s simple pleasures.) If you’d like, toss in a few slices of cured ham or a handful of almonds. Voila! A picnic at work couldn’t be easier.

Chicken Waldorf Salad
Not to be confused with regular chicken salad, Waldorf chicken salad is the fancy (and more filling) version. The recipe combines chopped up chicken, tart apple, halved red grapes, raisins, walnuts, mustard and mayo. But it’s easily tweaked for whatever you have on hand: Sub in carrots for the celery. If you don’t have walnuts and raisins, swap them out for virtually any nut and dried fruit (or even a handful of trail mix). Any kind of chicken will do, as well: leftovers from last night; the frozen skinless breast taking up space in the freezer. Toss it all in a bowl and taste as you go.

Any Grain + Any Green + Hummus
A grain and a green are a good start, but if you crave something more solid to make it a meal, that solid thing is hummus. A good hummus is rich in protein, fiber and flavor; and that thick creaminess hits the spot so well. Cook a cup of whatever grain you have in the house (rice, farro, quinoa) and some kind of leafy green (ideally something a little crunchy, like kale, which will hold up better than softer greens). Dollop a nice, big heaping spoonful of hummus right on top. Simple as that.

Five Easy Work Lunches

Five Easy Work Lunches

What do you bring for your work lunches? And what do you bring it in? The SoYoung lunch poche fits all the essentials, with room for a drink and extra snacks. It’s fully lined, with a removable insert for easy cleaning and a shoulder strap for easy carrying. (They also have great kids’ lunch boxes and backpacks, too. Anton has the shark!)

Five Easy Work Lunches

We love that SoYoung is a woman-owned company (you can find the founder’s amazing story here) and that every SoYoung product is made with the hope that it helps people embrace a little bit more wellness in their lives.

What do you eat for lunch? Do you have any easy ideas to add?

P.S. What food geniuses have for lunch (cottage cheese for the win), and the $2 meal that changed my budget.

(Photos by Christine Han for Cup of Jo. This post is sponsored by SoYoung, a brand whose mission we love. Thanks for supporting the brands that help keep Cup of Jo running.)

  1. Kathryn says...

    I eat the same thing four days a week – Trader Joe’s Southwest salad kit (the one in the bag) + one teeny tiny avocado + Frank’s hot sauce. SO delicious and ensures I have one veggie-based meal per day. I buy two bags of the salad kit per week (one lunch = half a bag) + a bag of teeny tiny avos and boom! Four lunches less than $10. Fridays I WFH so that meal is whatever I pull together in the fridge (usually eggs + veggie + cheese scramble).

  2. Emily R Hylden says...

    my chicken life-saver: CANNED. Perfect, for me, for salad-making (and also pot-pie making, and soup-making, and everything, really).

  3. Mason jar salads are so cute, and so instagramable, but does anyone really pack them? I guess I only trust myself for shatter-proof options like pyrex. Or maybe everyone else is more careful than I am! I’ve worked in many office environments and never seen anyone actually pack an actual mason jar.

  4. Julie says...

    I just ordered one! Tired of packing my lunch in plastic grocery bags!
    My go to lunches are usually leftover veggie burgers (I make extra the day before) or salads with fun things in them like candied nuts and goat cheese.

    • Hope you love your lunch poche! I saw so many stylish women using shopping bags as their lunch bags and just knew the lunch bag market needed an upgrade! xo Catherine

    • Penny says...

      Oh Steph, thank you for that! I was just reading these great ideas thinking “okay, but I wouldn’t have the time to eat these!”. High five to all the teachers and their sorry lunches ;-).

  5. Robin says...

    Leftovers. Always, always make enough for tomorrow. Or several days! In a pinch, I’ll grab a boiled egg, bread and butter, put some salt in a twist of paper and baby carrots/fruit. I don’t really meal prep, but I usually have boiled eggs at least. I do the grain plus salad and hummus pretty often too, though I figure that counts as leftovers. I usually add feta as well. I had smitten kitchen’s cauliflower slaw most of last week. So good!

  6. Ashley says...

    My girls and I do “snack” lunches. Basically we pick something from every food group. Kind of like your picnic lunch. For example, salami chunk of brie carrots grapes & some woven wheat crackers. When we’ve been out of school I crave getting back to them because they’re everything my body needs with lunch.

  7. Tracy says...

    Every day for the past 3 years, I’ve had peanut butter and jelly on multigrain bread, with an apple and a cheese stick. It’s the perfect kind of energy for me mid day!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that actually sounds really delicious.

    • Sasha L says...

      Tracy, I read *every day for three years* and I’m whoa, that’s just nuts. Then I realize hello, I’ve had the same breakfast every day for pretty much my entire adult life lol (banana, oatmeal, PB). It’s just one decision you don’t have to make right? And when you like and it’s delicious and healthy ish, that’s brilliant.

    • Holly says...

      My mom made fun of my brother and I – we each took the same lunch to school for 12 years. PB&J for me, plain peanut butter sandwich for him. The ‘others’ varied, but the sandwiches stayed the same from elementary school through high school!

  8. Lisa says...

    Lasagna, any casserole or soup of the “tastes I level better day 2”-kind. Halloumi stroganoff (is this a Swedish thing? It’s delicious) or sausage and mashed potatoes. I need proper lunch to function as a human being, and rather eat a huge lunch and a small dinner than the other way around. Also, snacks.

  9. Bec says...

    Always disappointed that the great brands you showcase don’t seem to ship internationally :( please don’t forget us readers outside North America!

    • J. says...

      Oh, you can get these on amazon and at Anthropologie!

    • Bec says...

      Thank you :) I tried Amazon but the US website won’t ship ‘non digital items’ to Australia?! Could do Anthro but the shipping fee would make it a $75 lunch bag :(

    • Bec says...

      Thank you so much Justine!!

  10. Cait says...

    My coworkers and I have rotated lunch shifts each week for the last 2 years. We each get a week where we are responsible for lunches for the 3 of us, then we get 2 weeks of no planning/just enjoying lunch. Its been a great way of trying new foods and less stress :)

    • Bec says...

      Such a great idea! We do a similar thing with neighbours, they cook one Wednesday we cook the next. I love it :)

  11. Alison says...

    Very boring–but I usually have soup for lunch in the winter and mason jar salads in the summer… this is because on Sundays in the winter I make soup for dinner and make extra for the week and in the summer we grill on Sundays and I grill extra for salads. By mixing up the types and flavors I get enough variety and it’s become such a system that it feels effortless now.

  12. michaela says...

    My go-to, can-eat-it-every-single-day, no-fuss, very-little-brainpower work lunch is: Wasa crackers (the multigrain are my favorite); one large avocado, smashed; flaky salt; and salsa. It’s great because I only have to add three items to my grocery cart, and I can keep the Wasa at my desk and the other ingredients in the office fridge (I commute about 3 hours every day, so I’m a big fan of hauling as little shit with me as possible—five avocados, one jar of salsa, and one package of Wasa once a week is doable). Assembly is a snap too, and no waiting for the microwave. I do this pretty much every day when avocados are fresh and cheap. I’ve been teased about my typical-millennial lunch fare more than once, but it keeps the hanger away for about $2.00/day.

  13. Teegan says...

    Hi Yulia – I usually make a quart or two of kraut, and I think it’s pretty easy (but I’ve been doing it for a few years now!). It take a little bit of prep time, but most of the waiting is while it ferments (3+ days), and the quart usually lasts me weeks. Here’s the basic method: https://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-homemade-sauerkraut-in-a-mason-jar-193124. I usually don’t do caraway, but I do add some combo of: sliced garlic, crushed red pepper or diced fresh hot peppers, sometimes shredded carrot or radish, finely sliced onion, shredded beet, etc.
    When I was pregnant, my go-to afternoon snack was fried eggs with sauerkraut! I don’t quite eat it daily any longer, but it goes really well on grilled cheese or with eggs or on salads in particular.

  14. Sasha L says...

    I am so so lucky (pinching myself!!) to work from home. One of the many very best parts is excellent lunch every single day. Most days I have last night’s leftovers, but once in a while have toast and eggs or whatever I’m fixing for my kiddos – pizza, spaghetti, pad Thai. I mostly just love that I don’t have to think ahead in packing for the day, another chore I don’t have to do. My last job, out of the house, I had to pack breakfast, lunch and afternoon snack because I was home so late, dinner was also super late. 1000% happier at home.

    I love those beautiful lunch boxes! Thinking would make excellent holiday gifts, so pretty and not at all expensive for how nice they seem.

    • Thank you for the kind comments about our lunch poche – thrilled that you think they’re beautiful! xo Catherine

  15. Sharon in Scotland says...

    There is no good reason for me to spend £3.00 + on lunch everyday, so most Sundays I make a vat of soup. It always has a base of carrots, celery and onions, flavoured by lardons, then sweet pots, tinned beans, fresh spinach and light coconut milk. I use chicken stock if I have it, good stock cube if I don’t. I’ll more than happily have this for lunch everyday, the flavours only deepen and get better. If I’m organised I’ll put a few frozen tortellini in the bottom of the tupperware, pour the cold soup on top and by the time it’s time to eat, the tortellini has defrosted and is ready to be microwaved with the soup……………fab!!.

    • Oh yes! I do something similar. This is a magic soup for whatever vegetables are about to wither away in my fridge. One time I even added my toddler’s leftover pasta shells and cheese.
      {PS – I just had to google Lardons. Oh, America!)

  16. Steph says...

    “Picnic in a bag” or as I call it, “Adult Lunchable”. Taller stacks of better crackers, cheeses, and meats, as well as a full size candy bar of my choice because I am a grown up who can have candy whenever she wants. Yogurt/kombucha/all the fruit to round it out.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      YUM! on board for the adult lunchables! :)

    • Elyse Ann Narozonick says...

      You just described my lunch exactly! Now I know I’m not the only one who refers to this as an “adult lunchable” :)

    • Callie says...

      This is what my coworker & I called it! “Adult Lunchable”

  17. Ooh, we had SoYoung’s Charlie diaper bag and loved it! I didn’t know they made lunch bags for grown-ups! I tend to go Joanna’s route and bring deli meat, some cheese, crackers/something crunchy, and carrots or mini bell peppers.

    The KEY to work lunches: plate it! I’ve had so many people comment on my work lunches and say, That looks delicious! or, That looks so fancy! (When it’s totally not–see above for components.)

    But what really changed my work lunches forever was moving to a house a mile away from my office, so now I go home for lunch and eat at the picnic table in my backyard with my Bichon. :)

    • Thrilled that you’re one of our previous Charlie customers! Yes, the adult lunch bag market is a new foray for us – felt that there were too many stylish women carrying shopping bags for the lunch bags. xo Catherine

  18. sunday mornings are meal prep day. in the summer i make pasta salad with whatever vegs were in the CSA dressed with balsamic vinaigrette. if i’m feeling fancy, i might roast the vegs. if am hating the pasta, i switch in quinoa. if i hate life, i make peanut butter honey sandwiches. this should last me about 4 days before i want to punch myself from repetition, and then friday is eating out.
    in the winter, i make chili or soup. it’s like pasta salad but in broth. sometimes, i’ll make rice and add in some kind of curry.

    if i’m feeling really fancy, i make sushi rolls/sandwiches. that doesn’t happen often though.

  19. jenn says...

    holy crap, i just bought myself a lunch bag for the first time. i got the Ali Sabet ‘Evergreen’ one..can’t wait to actually be excited to bring my lunch, lol. typically i’ll bring leftovers or meal prep something simple like a veggie stew or chili, and once in a while (though it should be less) i’ll treat myself to takeout. thanks ladies <3

    • Yay! Evergreen is one of our faves!!

  20. Emily says...

    Just bought two of these for my sisters for Christmas gifts!!

  21. MCF says...

    Just a head’s up that my 25% discount email went to my spam folder in Gmail. Definitely gonna purchase, though! Very cute. Perfect timing, too—I’m starting a new contract right after Thanksgiving that’ll have me onsite after months of working from home. Kind of looking forward to figuring out lunch prep!

    • Glad to hear you caught the discount code in your spam folder! Thrilled to hear that you’re excited about lunch prep – when I designed the bags, I had in mind busy women like yourself who needed something to inspire them (like a beautiful new lunch bag) to motivate them to take the time to pack a lunch. Hoorah! xo Catherine

  22. Carole says...

    It’s a shame they can only send to the US… :(

  23. Audrey says...

    My go-to for a long time has been to buy a really nice loaf of bread from a bakery, and then I toast a slice at work and either make avocado toast or spread hummus on it, along with some fresh fruit.

    I’m also a big fan of making large batches of quinoa salad and eating that for lunch during the week.

    My last resort is always the Amy’s frozen been and cheese burritos (I buy them at Costco 8 for $10), which are really very tasty! Especially if you throw some avocado on top and some hot sauce.

  24. Kathleen says...

    On the PB&J — try PB and tomato. A chef friend once made it for me, at 2am, and I was instantly sold. The tomato has all of the great juiciness of jam, but with more texture and flavor. So good with some chunky PB and good bread.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, i would have never thought of that! thanks for the tip, so curious to try.

    • PBJ and tomato are two of my favorite things to eat (separately) so this is kind of blowing my mind. I might have to try this when I get home today!

    • Loesie says...

      I was once recommended pancakes with tomato ketchup and it is absolutely THE best! Pancakes as in Dutch pancakes, so more comparable to the crêpes-version.
      Seriously, it might sound weird but it’s so good!

  25. Hani says...

    I recently re-entered the work world and found myself oddly excited to pack lunches for myself. The excitement lasted about a week when I realized I just never wanted to eat the food that I brought, especially if it was what I had cooked and cleaned up after the night before. It’s some kind of fatigue I can’t quite put my finger on. So I gave myself permission to not drudge through.
    I’ll get some tasty takeout and divide it up into some portions, or pick up a delicious jimmy johns sandwich with extra pickles on my way in.
    I’ve found that the cost over the course of the week is comparable to what I would spend bringing my own. But you know, even if it wasn’t, its one area where I choose not to do the most frugal thing. I did that for 5 years as a stay at home mom, and now…I will eat what actually sounds GOOD to ME. :)

    • Erica says...

      You go girl!! I so feel this.

    • M.A. says...

      YASSS!
      As a 9-hour-day working mom and wife, saying no to prepping yet another meal once a day is so liberating.
      We have an excellent cafe at work and most week days lunch is my healthiest and most satisfying meal.
      But every so often if I have some inspiring ingredients at home I’ll kick out the mason jar salad.
      I’ve gotten a few coworkers rolling their eyes, “Oh, you do mason jar salads?” (They are secretly jealous, right?)
      “Yes I do!”
      They are so easy and so good.
      Also love these lunch bags.

  26. Carrie says...

    On Sundays I cook a double batch of quinoa, adding tomato bullion to the water (or sometimes cooking with broth) to give it flavor. For lunches I measure one cup and then just add whatever sounds good that day. It’s the ultimate base for meals.

  27. Kirstin says...

    I LOVE Chicken Waldorf Salad, but when I make it I swap out the mayo and mustard with some whole milk greek yogurt — I don’t notice a difference in the flavor and the texture is pretty much the same, plus some added calcium and probiotics!

  28. R says...

    Quinoa is life saver lunch for us.
    If you have cooked quinoa ready to go ,just top with one of these
    There are seemingly endless combos..

    1.Bell peppers+corn+black beans – topped with hot sauce and or taco spice+shredded cheese
    2. Falafel (we warm up frozen ones) + hummus+pomegranate seeds
    3. cooked Lentils + caramelized onions
    4. Roasted carrots + green peas + walnuts
    5. Wilted Spinach+ corn+ Parmesan cheese
    6. Chickpeas+ Wilted Spinach+Tomato sauce+ Garam masala ( for some Indian flavor )
    7. Julianne carrots+ green onions+peanuts+soy sauce+sesame seeds
    I could go on and on..
    most of these can be made or prepped ahead of time ..just assemble what you are in mood for :)

    • Susie says...

      I love this list! Thanks for sharing :)

  29. Savannah says...

    I thought the inside of the lunchbox said “own who you ate” and it made me laugh, my vegan husband would approve!

    • Haha! That’s actually a pretty clever vegan slogan 😁

  30. Samantha says...

    Ooh! I love this post. Sometimes I’ll do a baked potato, a can of Trader Joe’s chicken chili, and some mashed up avocado with a big squeeze of lime.

  31. Sarah says...

    I can’t do a snacky lunch– I’ve found that I need a proper warm lunch, or else I get cranky in the afternoon and end up buying a massive pastry and coffee at 3pm. I guess I abide by the whole “eat breakfast like a prince, lunch like a king, dinner like a pauper” thing. Lately, TJ’s filled raviolis (in the refrigerated section) have been a lifesaver. I buy 5 packs at a time, throw them in the freezer, and whenever I don’t have leftovers to eat for lunch (salad-for-dinner nights), I boil some pasta while I make breakfast (they only take 5 minutes to cook). Today, though, I have taco leftovers for lunch. I made cochinita pibil and tortillas from scratch last night (first time ever making both) I have been counting down the minutes to eat them!!

    • Ndi says...

      I agree with you. I need a warm large lunch else I will be snacking on pastry and sweet treats during the day and cranky too. I rather all the above listed examples of lunch for dinner. I find eating a large dinner means indigestion or takes too long to fall asleep. Also after work I don’t feel like cooking anything so a quick salad or sandwich would do for dinner. I meal prep my lunches on Sunday. So am always excited come lunch time, from Buddha bowls, to lasagna to beef stews. With the colder months coming, my crock pot is put to work. Pinterest is great for recipes that can be made in a crock pot, everything from stews to butter chicken in a crock pot. I love watching those sped up recipes on Pinterest too.

  32. CaraM says...

    I love making a crustless quiche at the beginning of each week. I swap out or add ingredients based on what is in season or what I’m inspired by. This week I’m enjoying one made with cherry tomatoes, basil, spinach, and ricotta. I serve it with a simple tossed salad on the side and piece of fruit. So easy!

    • Carrie says...

      That sounds amazing! I’m going to implement this next week!

  33. Kim says...

    Okay, so I’m the laziest person here! I keep the freezer stocked with frozen stuff from Trader Joe’s; the mac and cheese is AMAZING, the tamales, the Indian food….This way if I don’t have the time or energy to get my act together I know I have something yummy anyway.

  34. Mary says...

    I’ve been eating a version of the mason jar salad (sans heavy jar & replaced with a similar size tupperware) for 20 years. I’m known for my spinach salads with various layers. I don’t include the dressing & simply keep a balsamic dressing at work in the fridge. A delicious salad keeps me honest and temptation free and 90% of the time they’re delicious, satisfying and healthy and never boring!

  35. Nothing novel here but I often smash avocados into proteins – canned Wild Planet Tuna or a shredded rotisserie chicken, add some Sriracha, Dijon mustard and throw it over whatever salad greens and veggies I have. Sometimes I’ll use a Primal Kitchen dressing or make my own. Alternatively, I’ll bring whatever leftovers I have. Thank you for sharing these bags – I totally just got one! I’m sick of using old plastic bags to hold my containers. As a lover of cheese, I’m shocked that it never occurred to me to pack a “picnic” for lunch!

    • Sarah says...

      Ooh, I have to try smashing avocados into proteins, plus hot sauce! Sounds perfect. Also, I love primal kitchen dressings! Yay for healthy oils :)

  36. J Mac says...

    Thanks for sharing so many easy and great veggie options! Sometimes it’s hard to be able to throw together a protein filled lunch.

    These “lunch poches” are really great too! The paper is so unique, perfect timing for the holidays. I can now cross my mom and sister off the list, thanks for the find!

  37. Kate says...

    I’ve become an Instant Pot junkie and usually make 3 meals around the beginning of the week – a deconstructed “Egg Roll In a Bowl”, some version of a butternut squash/carrot/ginger/curry/chickpea soup, and a chicken curry – and my husband and I can just grab whatever to take to work for lunch (and breakfast, in my case – turns out soup is as delicious at breakfast as it is for dinner). I also make a bunch of hard boiled eggs to snack on, and I’m set!

    • Shelby says...

      I’m also a soup-for-breakfast person!

  38. Loesie says...

    I usually bring two slices of sunpit bread with 48+ cheese. Then I bring a granola bar which I eat at 11am. At 4 pm, I usually have a cookie or something. I drink water at work all day. Sounds rather boring but it works! Plus, on Fridays Hubby always takes me out for lunch.

  39. Heidi says...

    Love how cute these lunch boxes are! I was inspired by your “$2 meal that changed my budget” post a while back and started taking prepackaged salad kits from the grocery store, splitting into two containers, and adding my own toppings. My go-to right now is the chopped Asian salad kits, to which I add shelled edamame and cashews. It’s easy, delicious, and filling.

    • Danielle says...

      Adding the edamame to the asian salad is such a good idea! I often split the TJ’s Southwest one into two portions and heat up one of the TJ’s quinoa southwest veggie burgers to go with it.

  40. I love making a big pot of meat sauce for dinner and then turning that into chili for lunch the next day by adding beans and chili powder. I add plantain chips and sliced avocado to my lunch and eat that with the chili as well. I also like tuna salad and egg salad with Simple Mills crackers.

  41. Jill says...

    We try to keep the freezer stocked with portioned out items like lasagna or chicken tortilla soup (or the amazing Fire Pot Soup from Eat Live Run), and they’re easy to either throw in our lunch bags still frozen, or thaw quickly and pack in a thermos before we leave. Fresh fruit, a variety of crackers, and the occasional can of tuna (those little tins packed with olive oil are delicious!) help to round out the lunch. In the summer/fall there’s an incredible food truck parked across from work, and their final flourish is always Thanksgiving Poutine (we’re in Canada) and I LOVE having that at least once before they shut down for the winter.

  42. Andrea says...

    Purchased! I recently bought a kate spade lunch bag that looks similar but is smaller than I thought it would be; this one seems to be the perfect size.

    I usually eat this for breakfast but my favorite easy salad is spinach, quinoa, hard-boiled egg and avocado with a drizzle of olive oil plus salt and pepper. Another idea is Special-K frozen crustless quiche, I usually have those on hand in the freezer . Surprisingly good.

  43. LR says...

    I’m really into jar salad these days – I love mixing up all the produce and nuts into a beautiful, colorful creation and then adding some protein.

    These lunch bags are really great! I own one of their linen ones and it’s the only cute bag I’ve found that fits my salad container and snack containers comfortably! Also – the removable liner is the best when I spill dressing in my bag (a common occurrence).

    • Wonderful to hear this! thank you so much. Catherine

  44. Linda says...

    Almond butter with fresh blueberries on sourdough!

  45. Keri says...

    Love these easy lunch ideas! I usually have leftovers along with a bento box style Tupperware filled with snacks like chopped fruit and veg, almonds, cheese and crackers, banana bread…. I often do 10-12 hour days so I need lots of little snacks to keep me going.

  46. adrianne says...

    My favorite “grown up pb&j” is my favorite seeded, sliced bread, Barney’s no-sugar, no-salt, smooth almond butter and pomegranate seeds. Soooo good!

  47. Christie says...

    I’ve discovered the perfect salad:

    Leftover roast chicken (or leftover roasted salmon)
    Spinach leaves
    Sliced cucumber
    Edamame
    Goat cheese

    Top with a basic oil/balsamic dressing. Really light, but still filling.

  48. Tiff says...

    I just made the loaded sweet potato recipe you posted last month for my lunch tomorrow, but swapped the chicken with pancetta! :)

  49. I make a batch of savoury muffins and freeze them, then when left overs aren’t an option I just grab a few of those and I’m good, I do the same with mini quiches. When I do pizza for dinner I will double it (I always end up buying enough ingredients for 4 pizzas) and once I’ve baked them, slice up the extras and freeze the slices between pieces of baking paper for another easy lunch.
    In the past I have done hummus/avocado dip with crackers, carrot sticks and cucumber sticks which is super easy.
    For snacks it’s always the same:
    Nuts + chocolate (2 parts whatever nuts I have and 1 part chocolate chips/m&ms)
    Bagel chips/tortilla chips/veggie chips
    If I’ve been baking I may take a piece of that.

  50. JP says...

    I actually just purchased a SoYoung backpack for my 3 year old daughter. https://us.soyoung.ca/collections/backpack-sale/products/pixopop-stitch-time-traveller-grade-school-backpack
    I didn’t know she had such an incredible journey to where she is today. It warms my heart that I have something from her company!
    By the way, her products are just the cutest things, especially with all the little details. (ex. My daughter’s backpack has a little label inside where she can put her super hero’s name. And the bottom of the backpack has a clear plastic cover to keep the bag clean.) And we get so many compliments.

    • Thrilled to hear this ! Thank you so much for being a wonderful customer o our line! xo Catherine

  51. I have been meal prepping for now almost 5 years so its something that is now a habit. Although it has evolved since the beginning, I know stick to foods that I know I don’t get tired of and so that it is easy to make. I need one of these pretty lunch bags for work. I have been looking for ones that are big enough to hold my lunch and snacks but are pretty too!

  52. Kate says...

    I work near one of the top ten food markets in the world, and a former colleague used to describe lunches as an arms race. We all find the freshest produce, great cheese, antipasti and bread, and make a more elaborate version of Joanna’s picnic in a bag. I discovered that a big dollop of plain greek yogurt with olives, sun dried tomatoes and arugula is one of life’s great pleasures!

    • Love hearing this! Thank you so much! xo

  53. AG says...

    I love making a big pot of soup or chili on Sundays for lunch through the week. The key for me is to divide it up into single serving glass containers immediately for easy grabbing each morning.

  54. Loved reading Catherine’s story. Thank you for linking to that message behind the brand! Such stories are 100 percent a deciding factor for me, when choosing what to buy.

    • This brings tears to my eyes – thank you Dana. I shared my story so people would understand that I’m not just trying to sell pretty stuff – that it’s about spreading the message that we’re way stronger and more capable than we think we are. xo Catherine

  55. Claire says...

    I just finished making tuna salad and a pot of creamy southwestern pumpkin soup for the rest of my work lunches this week.
    And wow those lunch bags on the website are just too beautiful.

  56. Anne says...

    A colleague and I switch off making lunches every other week. I usually cook up a big batch of quinoa or wheat berries or barley and make it into a salad that lasts us M-W. Then I use the same base and change the flavor profile a bit for Th and Fri lunches. It’s a fun system that started when I accidentally made way too much food and asked her if she wanted lunches for the week.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that sounds like so much fun. although i would be intimidated to cook for someone else, i think!

  57. Molly says...

    As a teacher, I don’t have the option to run out and grab something. I typically pack leftovers from dinner, which can include asparagus risotto, fajitas, kale caesar salad with homemade dressing and croutons, lo mein/stir fry, sesame noodles, soup, and so on. I find that most reheat well. Several even do well at room temp unrefrigerated (like the lo mein or sesame noodles). I love these lunch boxes, though. Your run-of-the-mill lunch box is rarely spacious enough and almost never as cute as these. And some of those meal ideas may come in handy when I don’t have any leftovers to pack.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      these sound delicious, molly!

    • Hil says...

      Do you have a go to lo mein recipe? I put that on my menu plan for next week and I’d love a trusted one to use!

  58. Liz says...

    Leftovers or meal prep! My favorite thing to make is a cold orzo salad or Greek salad with a few Trader Joe’s frozen meatballs on the side (they heat up pretty well and defrost in the fridge the night before). Add a couple Trader Joe’s dolmas and it’s a delight!

  59. Kim says...

    I’ve been roasting veggies like it’s my job lately (I guess it sort of is…I have two kids to feed.) I take a bunch of carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, potatoes, asparagus etc toss with olive oil and salt and pepper and roast them on a sheet pan in the oven. It’s really easy, has endless options for dinner and leftovers. And somehow they taste extra delicious in autumn, I’m not sure why but it’s true for me.

    I love the picnic lunch. The kids and I do that pretty much everyday.

  60. Ashley says...

    I’m all about meal prepping when I have the time to! My go-to right now consists of cooking a big batch of quinoa, slicing a bunch of cucumbers, and then throwing in some diced avocado, chickpeas, shredded carrots if I have them on hand and a dollop of hummus the day of. I add in (probably a bit too much?) of the Everything But The Bagel seasoning and eat it up! Definitely one of my favorites.

  61. Erica says...

    I am working on my lunches for the next few days right now! I used to cook professionally but now I am a carpenter/remodeler and I get very hungry at work. Usually we end up eating out and eating badly, but I am so tired of it. I have some bags of salad mixes that I like, with dressing and toppings so that I don’t have to think to hard about lunch before the sun comes up. I’m also grilling a lot of vegetables with different seasonings and some turkey thighs that I’m sure will be great with all of the veggies. And as much as I would like to only eat all this healthy stuff, I know it won’t do it so I have some awesome rolls and a few leftover tiny snickers from Halloween to fulfill my carb yearnings. I hate eating lunch from home unless it is something to be excited about. So I’m trying to make it exciting.

  62. gfy says...

    I always make enough for the next lunch when I make dinner. I put it atop salad I set aside for that purpose before I dress it for dinner and carry dressing for the next day in a little container. I am always so happy to eat this the next day! I bring my own silverware too, somehow that makes it taste even better. If unable to do it one day for some reason, then I’ll get takeout from the amazingly good Thai place around the corner from work, but that is rare.

    It is my goal to have $5ok in savings and bringing my lunch is one of the ways I will get there. Also my work has an amazing free espresso bar with free muffins so I save even more. I drink tea at home so I now never spend on coffee.

    • Blaire says...

      Way to take charge of your finances gfy!

  63. Ragon says...

    My easy work lunch is two pieces of whole wheat bread to toast in the office toaster, an avocado so smush on top of the toast with a liberal sprinkling of Trader Joe’s Everything But The Bagel seasoning. Add an apple or pear on the side. No prep work whatsoever so perfect for when I’m rushing out the door.

    Bento boxes (I borrow my kid’s!) make it easy to pack a pick n’ choose kind of lunch. I’ll do either hummus, sliced veggies and pretzel chips/pita chips or quick deviled eggs, string cheese and fruit.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that sounds DELICIOUS!

  64. jade lees says...

    Love the look of these lunchboxes. As someone who has had a packed lunch every day since the age of 5 I cant help but think this is nice adult alternative to my current lunch box.

  65. Love these lunch bags – they are so chic! And I totally agree – a honeycrisp apple and sharp cheddar = amazing combo :)

    • Marci says...

      Is it weird that I’m ridiculously proud of the honeycrisp? The apple was developed by my alma mater, the University of Minnesota, as part of its century old effort to grow trees that can withstand MN winters. Try the lovely First Kiss, which debuted this year, or my long-time fave, the Haralson.

      To be clear, I have had no part in this project. Just proud of my home state.

      Yeah, I guess I’m weird.

    • Danielle says...

      @Marci I don’t think it’s weird at all! The history and development of it is so interesting! I love that some varieties take the nation by storm and yet there are so many old regional varieties that endure as well. I recently moved to Boulder (having lived in CA and OH before) and discovered that the entire town used to basically be an orchard. There are unique varieties all over town in backyards and public space. Apparently Colorado was once one of the largest apple hubs until Washington developed the Red Delicious and ended their reign. Who knew apple history was so interesting, haha.

  66. teegan says...

    After packing lunches for a three-year-old, a six-year-old, and my husband, my lunch is whatever leftovers are left kicking around the fridge! Usually some combo of cooked grain + bean + cooked veggies, topped with homemade sauerkraut or hot sauce or cheese. It all gets packed in a clean peanut butter jar and taken to work with me.
    For a while, my kids loved hard-boiled eggs but only the whites, so my lunch constantly had two hard-boiled-egg yolks on top! That got old quickly…

    • Amy says...

      My kids will also only eat the whites of boiled eggs! It started with my oldest and now the younger two follow suit, although I suspect they would be happy to eat them if they didn’t think they weren’t supposed to like them.

      I make freezer burritos 3 dozen at a time and always have a stash on hand. Beef and bean with rice and cheese; shredded taco chicken with homemade refried beans, corn, and cheese; shredded bbq chicken with bell peppers, pineapple, and cheese; shredded pork with a sweet green chili sauce and rice and beans and cheese…if there aren’t leftovers, there’s always a burrito or two available to grab.

    • Yulia says...

      Would love a link to your sauerkraut recipe and your thoughts on how easy/hard/time-consuming it is to make, Teegan!

    • Chelsea says...

      @Amy, I love this idea! Could you share how you store the burritos? Just in tupperware? And do you have a link to any of the beef or pork that you cook up for the burritos?