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Healthy Packed Lunch Ideas

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Old 03-01-2013, 08:42 PM   #1
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Default Healthy Packed Lunch Ideas

Hi guys

I'm a poor student who is in uni about 9 to 5 everyday. I'm good at eating a healthy breakfast and dinner... but lunch and snacks are my major downfall!! Not only do I think they're to blame for my increase in weight, but I also can't afford to keep buying lunch out everyday! As well as this at about 11am I begin to get tummy grumbles and end up running to the vending machine for a snickers to attempt to shut it up!

So I'm looking for any packed lunch and snack ideas if you have them please. I have to admit... salads just don't do it for me. They fill me for about an hour and then I'm starving again. Are sandwiches so bad? If not, what kind of fillings would you suggest? I heard recently of someone who had lost a ridiculous amount of weight by not eating carbs for their evening meal. Do you think I could get away with a wholemeal sandwich at lunch if i had no carbs at dinner? Or maybe even both?
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Old 03-01-2013, 09:05 PM   #2
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I'm not from the UK, but I have suggestions. I'm simply not sure what brands you have in the UK. I work 7-3 each day, so I understand the need to pack a lunch and snacks. Make sure you invest in a well-insulated lunchbox and an ice pack if you do not have a refrigerator around.

You can make sandwiches, just look for low-calorie whole-grain breads. Buy turkey or chicken breast if you want lunch meat. Microwaveable veggie burgers are great as well. I would suggest putting any condiments on the side so the bread doesn't get soggy.

You can also look for broth-based soups (watch the sodium) and microwavable dinners. Make sure any microwavable dinners include veggies and enough calories for a filling meal (300-400).

As for snacks, go for washed fruit and veggies. You can also grab granola or trail mix bars. A handful of nuts is also a good snack. Personally, I eat popcorn often because its low calorie and filling due to the fiber.
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Old 03-02-2013, 06:36 AM   #3
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Thanks! I'll look out for the bread today! Another thing that I didn't mention was unfortunately I don't have access to a microwave during the day But the chicken/turkey sandwiches sound like a good idea. And popcorn!? Popcorn is low in calories!? Brilliant!!

Would ham be a bad filling?
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Old 03-02-2013, 01:24 PM   #4
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How are you with fruit? I work 6.30 to 2.30 so need something substantial in my break and will usually buy a prepared fruit salad but it's not difficult to make your own. I know a lot of people at my SW group eat cold meals (not my thing) apparently the bachelors Pasta 'n' Sauce things are good if you cook them at home then refrigerate them. My dad used to make me little mini Caesar salads, in little disposable pots, I know you said you don't like salads but these were tiny.
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Old 03-02-2013, 09:38 PM   #5
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I eat most fruit bar bananas. They're not SUPER filling but I'll just have to eat more and they'll keep me going.
It's not that I don't like salad, it just doesn't fill me for long at all. But thanks, I'll have a look into pasta 'n' sauce!

So is that a 'no' on the ham sandwich? :P
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Old 03-02-2013, 09:47 PM   #6
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How about maybe a cold soup? Make a big batch and bring them in a mason jar. Greek yogurt with fruit, little bit of honey and granola (also can go in a mason jar) add some nuts or Chia seeds to make it extra filling. Are you opposed to a bean salad or quinoa salad?
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Old 03-03-2013, 06:36 AM   #7
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When I'm on plan, every Sunday I will prepare my lunches for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. This usually consists of pasta with loads of roasted peppers, onions and tomatoes and then a protein (either ham, chicken, quorn meatballs etc). These are then done and I don't have to think about it again until Wednesday evening.

This week, I made a batch of pea and ham soup on Tuesday evening for dinner and portioned off lunch portions for Thursday and Friday. I got a decent thermos flask for Christmas so on Thursday and Friday morning I just heated the soup at home and then carried it with me in my thermos until lunch.

The key to good lunches where I feel full (and don't end up having things I shouldn't) is planning and preparing things in advance. Sit and have a think about what you enjoy eating that fits with your plan and then make it ahead of time. You can keep pre-prepared, portioned food in the fridge for ~3 days.
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Old 03-03-2013, 10:48 AM   #8
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I'd suggest investing in a good flask/food flask that will keep things hot for 3/4 hours. Then you could take in soup which you could make up in big batches at the weekend and heat up in the morning to go in the flask and have with a pitta bread. Or you could just buy the pots/cans of soup and heat them up in the morning and take with a pitta bread.
Also pasta salad could be good, as it's good cold and much more filling than salad. There must be some recipes around and if you use brown pasta and not a mayo based sauce but lots of veg then it would be pretty healthy.

You could alternate these a bit, and have sandwiches occasionally too. Hams probs okay occasionally, it's quite high is salt though, turkey ham or something is better.

For snacks, I'd suggest a handful of nuts, maybe brazils. A low fat yogurt around 100 cals. Low cal fruit - grapes, satsumas etc.

You can get soups that are about 200 cal for 800ml in the supermarket, have that will a pitta (160 cal) and thats 360, then a couple of satsumas (40 cal) and a handful of nuts or a yogurt (100 cal) and that's a really fulling, quite high protein, healthy lunch for 500 cals.
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Old 03-04-2013, 08:22 AM   #9
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Thanks guys! Some great ideas! I'll try them out
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Old 03-05-2013, 07:21 AM   #10
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There's nothing wrong with ham per se and it tastes good!!! But it's often quite high sodium and some people avoid it because of the chemicals used to preserve ham.

Avoid the crisps - that's always what does me.

Salads with beans, quinoa, meat, cheese etc can be quite filling and tasty. Maybe with some ryvita or Finncrisps on the side. (I don't know where you live, but my Waitrose carries Finncrisp and I love it because of the sour dough taste...so good)
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Old 03-05-2013, 11:30 AM   #11
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I buy 10 calorie jelly in tesco that I always have on hand for a snack.
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Old 03-05-2013, 12:00 PM   #12
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It sucks that you don't have access to a microwave. That makes things a lot harder.

You can use ham on sandwiches, but try looking for low sodium ham. If you can find it, I have a love for Butterball brand Turkey Ham. It tastes like ham, but its lower calorie and has less sodium.

For meal ideas that you can have that don't need a microwave... Sandwiches, salads, wasa crisps with spreadable cheese, guacamole and tortilla chips, pre-microwaved popcorn (LOW FAT TYPE), dried fruit/veggies, yogurt, jerky, cottage cheese with fruit.

And to answer your question about popcorn, it is a great snack and low calorie. Just make sure you buy low-fat popcorn with little or no butter.
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Old 03-17-2013, 03:13 PM   #13
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My latest packed lunch included, half a melon chopped into cubes, a little pot of dried fruit, an muller light fat free greek style yoghurt and an Alpen light bar.
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Old 03-17-2013, 05:09 PM   #14
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I think wheat sandwiches are great - just skip the mayo and cheese - that's the secret in my opinion.

My cheap and quick bring-to-work-lunch a few days of the week: Turkey sandwich with mustard and a slice of super thin swiss (on a 80 calorie bun or 1 slice of bread), half cup cottage cheese, apple slices and PB. I think the apple slices & PB are great for that "I want a snickers" feeling. It's a great combo of nutrients and very satisfying.

Bob Harper has this thing on the internet that says you shouldn't eat carbs past lunch. I don't know how true this is, but it's not going to hurt. The more stable your blood sugar the happier you will be on your diet!
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Old 05-04-2013, 10:53 AM   #15
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Thanks guys! This will really help I've heard from a few people about peanut butter being good for a diet... which sounds amazing to me! I guess I'm going to get addicted to peanut butter and popcorn now! :P
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