One of the most asked questions I get is how I pack lunches. Four days this semester I leave the house around 9 am and come back around 9:30 pm which is a looooong time to be gone. I’ve been through a lot of trial and error for packing food for that long and I’ll share my tips with you! I’ll mainly focus this on lunches since most humans work 9-5 or some 8 hour shift around there but for those students or busy bees stay tuned for extra tips towards the end.
Here are two of my most recent lunches for about a 6 hour day. I also throw a bar in there for emergency hunger as I walk out of the door since the bars are in the downstairs fridge- so image one there.
I always eat a good breakfast before these so I’m pretty fueled up before leaving the house at 9 am. Typical breakfasts these days have looked like this + like 2 mugs of coffee with half and half. I’ll have pancakes 4 days out of 7- they are just always so appetizing to me!
Choose your main “course”. Usually this is a sandwich or a big salad with roasted veggies and chickpeas. I try and roast up some squash, sweet potatoes, and maybe some other veggies and keep them in a container to throw onto a bunch of greens. Yesterday all I wanted was PB and J so I lathered on a generous PB serving with some jam and built the rest my lunch.
Add in micronutrients. I always always have at least 1 serving of fruit if not 2 or 3 to snack on. Favorites that stay well in lunch boxes are sliced apples, grapes, and orange slices! I also love raw veggies like carrots and celery. I usually have 1 baggie of veggies and at least 1 of fruit regardless of my “main course”.
Add in your snack. My favorites have been a siggis and some granola or a cheese stick and some form of cracker or these pretzel goldfish were amazing. Sometimes I pack 2 snacks if I’m going to be there long but not for the full dinner meal. Other great snack options are trail mix, a bar, an hard boiled egg, or a baked good! I try and bake something from ambitions kitchen each week so I can throw it in there with a blob of PB and call it a day.
Sweet tooth! I always have a sweet tooth. Dark chocolate is my favorite but anything will do! Halloween is coming up- you bet I’ll have some Reeses in there.
Lunchbox! I use this one. The packit brand is wonderful because you freeze the actual box and it stays really cold.
Now that you now how to pack a killer lunch we can move onto dinner. These days I pack dinner at the bottom of the lunch box since it gets pretty full in there and I reach down for dinner last. Typically I need it to fit into a smallish container so salads don’t work plus I probably already had a salad and 2 salads in one day is blah for me. I try and pack something hearty into that small space so most often it’s pasta! I love cooking whole wheat pasta, throwing some sauce, cheese, and extra protein if the sauce didn’t have turkey or something in it. Another great option are burritos or a burrito bowl with beans, lettuce, cheese, salsa, protein, and a tortilla on the side folded up. The goal is got get in enough calories but in a smaller space. Leftovers from the night before are also often in lunch as dinner.
Once I get home from the day around 9 I may or may not need more food. I’ll most definitely be drinking some wine and a few spoons of ice cream but it totally depends on how active I was that day and if I packed well enough. Some days I under shoot my hunger and some days I over shoot it. I always try and over shoot since its NEVER fun to be in a 3 hour lecture and its 7 pm and you are hangry and want to throw pencils at your professor.
I would say as a whole my hunger has been pretty mild. This semester has brought me some tummy troubles since that’s how I internalize my stress and there have been many days where food sounds unappealing all together which stinks because eating rocks but I never force it. So maybe down the line I’ll show one of these for how I pack my lunches for my rotations starting in May! Guessing I’ll be even more stressed then but I would like to think I’ll be a confident almost RD and can just own it but who knows.
Hope this was helpful for you guys!