5 Days, 5 Ways… How to Build a Better “On-the-Go” Lunch

Grab your lunch tote, and get ready to liven up your midday meal! Whether you regularly eat at your desk, are packing for the beach or a picnic, or otherwise find yourself out and about, I’ve got 5 healthy and flavor-packed lunch ideas for “on-the-go”. 

1. The Quintessential Wrap

Easy, fast and healthy… these are good reasons that wraps are a great idea for lunch. Start with a sturdy, whole wheat tortilla. I like to layer sliced cheese as a base, to keep the wrap from getting soggy. Next add a generous smear of hummus, and a heaping handful of basic slaw mix (it comes in a bag and you can find it in the produce section of your local grocer). For a vinegary kick, layer on some jarred pepperoncinis, then maybe some roasted or fresh bell peppers, grilled chicken, and kalamata olives. A few crunchy chickpeas add great texture (Biena or Saffron Road are brands you can find in bags at the store), but are totally optional. Roll it up and wrap tightly in plastic wrap.

For another idea, try wrapping up my Curried Turkey Salad! (Place a layer of lettuce on the bottom to keep the wrap from getting soggy, something to consider no matter what you are wrapping up). Or a super healthy grain wrap – quiona, black beans, feta, corn, and a spoonful of salsa. The possibilities are endless!

2. Greek Grain Bowl

How about a layered Greek salad!?! I love Mediterranean flavors. Using an upcycled pickle jar (or another upright container) is a fun way to toss together lunch. From the bottom up, layer in cubed cucumber, bell pepper and cherry tomatoes. Next add a layer of drained, canned chickpeas. Top that with a layer of feta cheese, then a hearty grain such as cooked barley or farro. (For those that prefer gluten free, use quinoa- or leave the grains out altogether). In a separate bowl, mix up dried oregano, red wine vinegar, garlic powder, salt, pepper and olive oil. Pour into the jar, pop on the lid and go! At lunch time give it a shake to mix, and enjoy with a soft pita if you like.

Or try a Mexican version! Use the same bottom layers, but go with black beans in place of the chickpeas. In the dressing, additionally include lime juice and ground cumin. Tortilla chips are a great go with. (They’re also fantastic crushed up in this salad! Just make sure not to add until lunchtime so they don’t get soggy.)

Key Lime Lexi Hexagon Print Neoprene Lunch Tote

Key Lime Lexi Hexagon Print Neoprene Lunch Tote available at Bealls Stores

3. Super Food Salad

The best part about this salad is it can be anything you want it to be, or contain anything you’ve got in the fridge that you need to use up, as long as you follow my two basic rules:

First, use a hearty green. That’s right, I’m looking at you kale. For salads on the go, it’s the ideal choice as it won’t wilt or release a bunch of liquid, leaving you with a soggy, sad lunch.

Second, add your dressing ingredients to the bottom of your container. (Hint: I save glass jars or sturdy plastic ice cream containers, such as Talenti, to use for salads). Start by pouring in a little olive oil, vinegar, maybe a squeeze of citrus juice if you have it, and add a pinch of salt and pepper. 

Next, chop up your kale and other veggies. Try celery, sliced fennel, cucumber, shredded carrots, chickpeas or anything else that floats your boat (bell peppers, jicama, I could go on and on…). Toss in some dried cranberries or raisins, and nuts for crunch. Sprinkle in shredded or grated cheese if you like, and add a bit of protein such as smoked fish (think: trout), shredded chicken, or a hard boiled egg (chunked). Combine it all in a bowl, then place it in the container on top of your dressing.

When ready to enjoy, turn it upside down for a minute or two, then shake gently. SO much better than take out!

4. Sandwiches, Jacked up

Veggie Sandwich with Red Pepper Cheese Arugula on Crusty Bread on a White Plate

I make sandwiches for my three kids almost every day for school lunch… that’s a lot of sandwiches, so I aim to keep it interesting. Try branching out from the ordinary turkey and cheese, or tuna salad. Here are a couple of ideas, which all start with a good rustic crusty bread. 

  • Grab a flavorful hard cheese, such as gouda or pecorino. Slice and layer on the bread. Add sliced apples and candied nuts, then smear a layer of grainy mustard on the top slice. Wrap up in some parchment or foil.
  • Stop by the olive bar or prepared foods section in the grocery. Pick up some grilled vegetables, such as peppers, squash, eggplant (or do it yourself at home), and marinated artichokes. Layer the veggies on your bread with some store-bought pesto, and fresh mozzarella cheese.
  • Cream cheese, smoked salmon, capers, tomatoes and onions. ’nuff said.
  • Fig jam, goat cheese or brie cheese, sliced turkey.
  • Try a funky Korean-style sammie! Use jarred kimchi (drained of excess liquid), sliced avocado, a squeeze of sriracha sauce, and protein of choice, such as sliced hard boiled egg, sliced turkey. roast beef or grilled chicken.

 

5. Make a Bento Box

Sounds fussy, but it’s SUPER easy and is a way to really mix things up. The night before, make sushi rice according to package directions. While still hot, shake a little rice vinegar, sugar and salt over top and toss. This will make the rice sticky and flavorful. Form into a ball, wrap it in plastic, and place it into a container. Any container will do – it doesn’t need to be a designated bento box. Add sliced tofu or cooked salmon to the box, (or another protein of choice), sliced cucumbers and tomatoes, steamed edamame, or other cut up veggies. My kids love a quick, homemade peanut dipping sauce for the veggies and to pour over the protein. It’s a cinch to put together with peanut butter, honey and soy sauce. Add a little water if it’s too thick. Put the sauce in a separate small jar. Pop in your lunch tote and you’ve got a fun and healthy lunch!

Key Lime Lexi Lemon Neoprene Lunch Tote

Key Lime Lexi Lemon Print Neoprene Lunch Tote available at Bealls Stores

 

A note about my lunch totes:

I have three fun and fantastic Key Lime Lexi neoprene lunch totes. They feature bright prints, insulated interior, zipper closure and built in dual handles. They measures 12.25”L x 6”W x 11”H, and can be found at your local Bealls Store or online at BeallsFlorida.com.

 

 

Who else will love these tips for an on-the-go lunch? Please click this button and share with friends!

 

 

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