Need ideas for bringing food to work for lunch
Hey all! I'm a 19 year old guy looking to bulk up and add muscle, and I need some help in eating lunch at work because I have an insane appetite lately that snacking could never satisfy. I have breakfast and dinner and 2 protein drinks everyday, which has lasted me reasonably well as I first got into the swing of heavy lifting, but damn; I'm friggin' ravenous lately! Which is all well and good, because I've always been that one bastard who can and will eat anything and everything offered to him on a plate and not add a pound of weight to his skinny-ass. Add in weight lifting and adolescence and you have a recipe for some serious food shortage.
Anyways, I work 5 days a week, and my shift is 12-7pm on weekdays or 12-6:30/5pm on weekends (depending on whether I'm working on a Saturday or Sunday, respectively). I get home between 7:30-8:30pm, and I tend to hibernate for at least 10 hours a night until 8-9am, so I have ample time to prepare something beforehand; only thing is, I have no idea WHAT to make! There's nothing Primal/Paleo anywhere near my workplace and I only have a 30 minute break regardless, so I'd rather prepare my own meal at home first. I definitely feel and perform better with more carbs (fruit or starches) as opposed to VLC / ketosis and I would particularly be thankful for meals or -filling- snacks that are quick and easy to cook up and go with. Many people suggest leftovers but I never have any. I'm grotesquely obese in spirit, believe me!
First, we make all kinds of raw veggie salads (doesn't necessarily mean lettuce -- we use seasonal stuff), and in winter, we do warm (lightly sauteed kale with roasted veggies) salads.
Second, we carry these things with us: 1. hard boiled eggs and/or mini crustless quiches (which usually have veg in them); 2. chicken, steaks, or any other left overs such as stew meat or whatever; 3. sliders which we flavor in a variety of ways (different seasonings), and then sometimes we have sauces for them (like pasta sauce, different indian or thai curry sauces, etc), but usually, it's just "plain" with an aoli (mayo dip).
Finally, we also carry fruit and nuts, just in case.
I do a few things for my husband and I- big ass salads being number one: make a huge salad at the beginning of the week and add whatever leftover meat you have for the day. Wraps are awesome as well- we do chicken salad with lettuce and tuna salad with cabbage. We also do a foraging meal- some hardboiled eggs, bubbes pickles, jerky, veggies and sometimes a seaweed salad. Homemade Lara bars are an epic snack you can quickly grab on the go, along with a good chunk of cheese. Good luck!
Originally Posted by meghanannie
For several months before I found Keto-land, I would make a lot of meat, pack it up in portions and then freeze it. Taco meat, spicy chicken, steak slices, etc. (This way I had variety.) Then at lunch I'd buy a green salad from the cafeteria (you could easily just do bagged salad from the store), then I dump the meat on top, add things like red onion, avocado, sour cream or plain yogurt, salsa, or hot sauce and I was good to go. So very delicious and very filling.
All the prep you would have to do in the morning would be to dump salad mix into tupperware, grab meat of choice from the freezer, and then an avocado or whatever, and you'd be good to go. The meat slowly thaws while you're working, and then when you're ready to eat you only need to heat it up a little bit in the microwave, then mix all together.
Hard boiled eggs are a great snack and easy to have on hand. I love them, and you can get away without having them in a fridge until lunch. I have also become a fan of apple slices and almond butter. Kind of shunned here, but given you need the calories, it's easy to eat and store.
If you don't have leftovers, just cook more. Do a big crock pot of stew or a big thing of shepherds pie and reserve it for lunches. I cook pork roasts in my pot and shred it - great meal is the pork over sweet potatoes with guac and salsa.
My other advice is to get yourself a good set of containers. Pyrex sells nice ones with lids. You can cook in the container (in the oven) and then pop the lid on. They work great for stuff like salads too.
Ohyeah, stuff like tuna and chicken salad-home made mayo, celery, some onion, a bit of nuts, and an apple, chop up, mix. Really great on a salad.
I try and eat lower carb, so this moght not work for you- butI will have applegate lunch meat and boiled eggs. Filling and takes 30 seconds to pull together. If you need carbs, throw in some fruit.
I fast a lot at work, but I'm also well prepared for when I'm not fasting...
I like to make what I call "planned overs" - portion it into your lunch containers as soon as it's cooked (you may need to let it cool a little bit, especially if your lunch containers are plastic), cover and pop it in the fridge as soon as it's cool enough. I have a bunch of glass storage bowls that I use daily for this. I can microwave in these, but I usually eat the leftovers at room temp after they've been sitting out for a few hours (I don't like microwaves, PLUS the one at my office is in someone's office and people make comments on how food smells, which is lame.)
I pack salads or veggies (things that I know I won't ever want to heat) in a metal tiffin (the one I have lets me use 1 or both tiers), and I almost always throw some sort of apple, banana, orange, avocado, tomato, hard boiled egg, etc. in my bag as well - can go without refrigeration for quite awhile, but also portable and yummy.
Do you have any space at work to store things (desk, community kitchen, etc.)?
I like to keep some "emergency" foods in my desk/fridge (though there are foragers in the fridge, so I carefully package what I put in there to make it CLEAR that it does not belong to anyone else). My desk has: evoo, sea salt, pepper grinder, hot sauce, plain vinegar, grass-fed jerky (alone and in primalpacs or paleo kits), larabars, homemade trail mix (throw your favorite raw nuts/seeds + unsweetened dried fruit + coconut flakes and some chopped up super dark chocolate into a ziplock)... I also keep a single (ceramic) plate, bowl, cup, knife, and a bamboo untesil set in the desk. Eggs, kimchee, veggies & fruit stay in the fridge, and I make sure to check/clean the fridge at the end of the work week. You could also keep non-perishables in whatever bag you carry if you don't have a desk (I used to carry around that bambooware too).
oh, and in case you were wondering, my leftovers lunch for today is (in one of the glass bowls):
garlicky marinated eye of round
garam masala roasted brussels sprouts
roasted mashed sweet potato with kerrygold butter
I might pack a small thing of pineapple, since we have some in the fridge...
I'll toss in my bag: an avocado and a small heirloom tomato
I might also think about some baby arugula (I am hungry today).
That sounds delicious! Earlier this year I went to the store and bought a bunch of lock-seal 2.5 quart plastic containers. I dump an entire bag of "Mixed Greens" or the 50/50 "Mixed Greens/Spinach" in there, pour olive oil and a little vinegar over it, pepper, add a whole avocado and crumble a few hard boiled eggs. Lock it up and SHAKE it! The huge bowl full of leafy greens gets covered with goodies and compresses itself to about half the size of the container. Set a pound of leftover meat, a cup of fruit, sweet potato, chopped garden veggies, and whatever else you want to eat on top of the salad. Toss a fork in there and your lunch is DONE. 5-10 minutes should be the most time you spend making it.
Originally Posted by lissee
I get the feeling I know how hungry you are (I was there at 17, eating 6000+ calories a day, 30hrs a week of sports, sometimes feeling famished). Try buying a huge bag of almonds or mixed nuts and snacking on those throughout the day, perhaps with home dried fruit mixed in there for carbs or an apple and banana on the passenger seat of your car each morning.
I've been filling an empty 2 lb yogurt cup with mixed green salad and bringing that with an avocado and a can of sardines in olive oil. I eat the avocado and the sardines, then use the excess oil on the salad along with additional olive oil and balsamic vinegar I keep at my desk. I also keep bags of macadamia nuts, pistachios, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds at my desk. I'm still getting hungry a few hours after lunch though, so I need to figure out more options.
um. YUM. do this!
Originally Posted by RobbyJ
I thought some more about this as I was actually packing my aforementioned lunch... and I was thinking about what I used to pack when I did just lc (not primal)... These days if I were making/packing this stuff, I'd be paying more attention to ingredients/sources than I used to - also, a few of these assume you're okay with some dairy.
Homemade chicken or tuna salad (I'd usually go for chicken 'cause it's less offensive to other people's noses) they could be made in bulk, as easily as meat+mayo+fork, or as gourmet as meat+chopped peppers, onions, celery, eggs, evoo, etc. - I usually packed w/ a wasa cracker (these days I'd pack w/a lettuce cup and the mayo would have to be free of seed oil and sugar)
Smoked Salmon + cream cheese + onions/capers/tomato/olive with garlic bagel chips was another fave (I wouldn't do bagel chips now - these days I'd do a lettuce wrap or something)
Cold cuts rolled around cheese and veggies
celery filled with cream cheese or raw nut butter
pieces of cheese (baby bell, string cheese, etc - these days I'd just cut a block of cheese from my fridge myself)
I've found that to feel FULL and FUELED with a limited lunch break, fat is really important, protein is pretty important, and carbs are not as important.... but that's me... YMMV.
I also wanted to mention that, to me, the containers I use to transport/store/eat my food are important - some foods just shouldn't mix, I don't like plastic, sometimes I want to heat, etc...
I'll just mention a few things I like (I linked to some in my above post too):
To-Go Ware - metal containers (2 and 3 tiered tiffins, sidekicks) and bamboo utensils - have and love these!
Fish's Eddy - Glass Storage - I shop here because it's local. I have several glass storage bowls (16 and 24oz - wonderful for leftovers), mason jars (great for soups & salads), glass bottles, etc. You might be able to find this type of thing cheaper locally.
PlanetBox - I don't have one of these, but they look really cool, especially the bigger one they just introduced!
LunchBots - again, things I don't have, but these look awesome.
I've found a lot of good products at http://www.reuseit.com (though I liked them better when they sold less plastic), including my lunch bag made from recycled soda bottles.
Last edited by PrimalMama; 10-05-2012 at 11:53 AM.