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food to bring to work


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So I am not a morning person at all, I will sleep until I have the minimum amount of time to get ready (I use public transit). I tend to scarf down a bowl of cereal or have a peanut butter sandwich for breakfast (but there's been times I've had to skip it and bought a protein bar from the vending machine at work). I only work about 4-5 hours, so I get out around lunch but I get a break about an hour before that, at which time I get hungry so again I'm at the vending machine getting a bag of chips. I'm also hungry after work, when it's tempting to eat out nearby before embarking on the hour long travel home.

Anyway, what are some things I could pack that are better? I've never been able to bring myself to make something the night before, but I can see making a batch of something that I could just grab a portion of (for example I saw a recipe for muffin style meatloaf).

What are some things you bring to work for lunch and snacks?

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Snacks: Reduced fat whole wheat crackers, peanut butter, SF jello or pudding, ricecakes, fruit, carrot sticks, cherry tomatoes, olives, nuts.

Lunches: Sandwiches on whole wheat bread (Saralee makes some that's 45 calories), I think you can buy premade salads from the deli part of the supermarket, if you don't want to make it yourself.

i make my lunches the sunday before for the entire week so i just grab it and go in the morning. i usually will bring a WW pita sandwich w/ low fat ham & turkey, and ff cheese with lettuce. i'll put some mustard on the morning of so my sandwich does not get soggy. for snacks i bring a bag of baby carrots (eat this with my lunch) and for my mid afternoon snack i bring activia fat free yogurt. also sometimes i will get hungry mid morning and i usually bring a low fat granola bar or a soy protein bar. it is very convenient and saves me money and calories!

Carrot and cucumber sticks, sliced apples, other fruits, salads in a tupperware box (I do salad leaves, cherry toms, cucumber, mushroom etc then maybe a boiled egg, some tuna, sliced ham, chicken, turkey, whatever), healthy sandwhich. I also sometimes just bring last night's leftover stirfry or chilli or whatever. A tin of soup if handy if there's a microwave to use.

Tip - get some snack size plastic zip bags.  Buy a bag of baby carrots.  As soon as you get them home, divide them up into the bags and put those little bags in a larger one.  In the morning - grab and go. 

Tip - buy a box of a cereal that is in large size pieces, such as Barbara's Bakery Puffins.  Divide this up into those little bags and store them in a larger bag - another grab and go.

Tip - keep a supply of bars in your desk in an airtight container.  No more trips to the vending machine.  I like the Luna bars - not to many calories and very good for you, but there are plenty to choose from.

I tend to keep a stash in my desk and in the fredge, we get tons of vendor treats so I try to have my own hand somethings I have are:

Snacks

  • Celery sticks (precut) and Hummus (love the red pepper)
  • yoplait light yogurt
  • Pirates Booty (puffed rice and corn snacks)
  • Os Trim Ostrich Beef Stick (love these for the days I am having a large workout)
  • Kind Bars
  • I keep a bowl of fruit at my desk (yes I am a nerd lol)
  • Sliced tomatoes with a little goat cheese or reduced fat blue cheese and pepper
  • baby carrots with salsa (sounds weird but really good)
  • pickles (watch the sodium intake)
  • 22 almonds and a small V8 juice (watch the soduim and yes I count out 22 almonds)

Breakfast

  • double fiber wheat engish muffins with 1 tbl reduced fat peanut butter or almond butter
  • oatmeal with a little brown sugar and cranberries
  • fat free milk and gluten free honey nut chex
  • Kind bar

Lunch

  • multi grain tortilla filled with one of the Tuna creations packages I like the hickory smoked and I add lettuce or jalapenos
  • Frozen Steamed veggies (checkout the green giant ones)
  • sushi place near use has brown rice sushi (treat for me)
  • whole wheat pita and hummus
  • grab a subway turkey sandwich and apple slices

I usally add a spinach salad or a pice of fruit to my lunch.

I find it's easiest if I keep those reusable Glad containers around (the ones with the screw on caps are the best -- no leaking).  That way, I know that it won't spill during the commute and so I'm more likely to pack my lunch.  And it opens up a world of possibilities (like soup -- if I know it won't spill, I just make it on Sunday and bring it all week).

Also dig fig cereal bars from Trader Joe's, Quaker Oats oatmeal and grits, yogurt with granola packed separately, and bananas and apples and pears.  You can get through a whole day!

And I have a teeny-tiny plastic container for nuts.  Perfect portion size.

1.  On Sunday night I cut up a package celery into slices and then put them into quart size or sandwich style ziplock bags about 3 oz to a bag.  That way I know how much I had on a given day by how many bags I ate.  I also cut up lettuce and tomato for sandwiches all week.

2.  I keep a supply of sugar free jello cups in the fridge at work for a quick very low calorie snack.

3.  I usually bring 4 slices of 35 calorie bread with me each day in a zip lock for breakfast and lunch.

4.  Every night I make preparations for lunch the next day (or two).  If I have the Bumble Bee Sensations (I like the sundried tomato w/basil), I split it in half.  I have this little Glad containers that are reusable for this purpose and I pack up one (with bread) for lunch and leave the other in the fridge at home.  If I have the Starkist fat free lunch kit, I just throw that in a bag but I bring bread to eat instead of the crackers and save the crackers for a snack another day.  If I have the Tyson canned chicken, I make it up with fat free mayo and split it up in two servings as well.  I usually have that with a small canned veggie like spinach or carrots but I'm intrigues by the frozen veggie idea.

5.  For breakfast (at work) I measure out 1/4 cup of Egg Beaters (I really like the southwestern style) and put that in a little container and bring a slice of fat free cheese.  It makes a great breakfast sandwich with two slices of 35 calorie bread with lettuce/tomato and very low calorie.

6.  I bring an orange most days and sometimes a banana.  Tomorrow I'll bring a kiwi fruit.

I think the key is to take a few minutes each night or at the beginning of the week and measure out servings of whatever it is you want to eat.  That way you know exactly how much you're eating and it makes it much easier to keep track.  I just take care of it while I'm still in the kitchen after cleaning up from dinner and it really doesn't take very long.

Original Post by caverlady:

1.  On Sunday night I cut up a package celery into slices and then put them into quart size or sandwich style ziplock bags about 3 oz to a bag.  That way I know how much I had on a given day by how many bags I ate.  I also cut up lettuce and tomato for sandwiches all week.

2.  I keep a supply of sugar free jello cups in the fridge at work for a quick very low calorie snack.

3.  I usually bring 4 slices of 35 calorie bread with me each day in a zip lock for breakfast and lunch.

4.  Every night I make preparations for lunch the next day (or two).  If I have the Bumble Bee Sensations (I like the sundried tomato w/basil), I split it in half.  I have this little Glad containers that are reusable for this purpose and I pack up one (with bread) for lunch and leave the other in the fridge at home.  If I have the Starkist fat free lunch kit, I just throw that in a bag but I bring bread to eat instead of the crackers and save the crackers for a snack another day.  If I have the Tyson canned chicken, I make it up with fat free mayo and split it up in two servings as well.  I usually have that with a small canned veggie like spinach or carrots but I'm intrigues by the frozen veggie idea.

5.  For breakfast (at work) I measure out 1/4 cup of Egg Beaters (I really like the southwestern style) and put that in a little container and bring a slice of fat free cheese.  It makes a great breakfast sandwich with two slices of 35 calorie bread with lettuce/tomato and very low calorie.

6.  I bring an orange most days and sometimes a banana.  Tomorrow I'll bring a kiwi fruit.

I think the key is to take a few minutes each night or at the beginning of the week and measure out servings of whatever it is you want to eat.  That way you know exactly how much you're eating and it makes it much easier to keep track.  I just take care of it while I'm still in the kitchen after cleaning up from dinner and it really doesn't take very long.

 caverlady,

how long can egg whites stay without the fridge? can I carry my egg whites in a container to work. I usually work out in the morings so the eggs will be in the container for about 3 hours before  I cook them. Is that ok?

and what kind of containers do you use for liquids? I am having hard time bringing milk to work. it just creats a mess.

Original Post by safina1:

how long can egg whites stay without the fridge? can I carry my egg whites in a container to work. I usually work out in the morings so the eggs will be in the container for about 3 hours before  I cook them. Is that ok?

I don't know because I put mine right in the fridge as soon as I get to work, but if you could put them on ice somehow, like a lunch box that has one of those freezable blocks it would probably be fine.  Do you have access to a fridge at work?  If so you could probably buy the small container of "Egg Beaters" and just keep it there, otherwise I think you're going to have to come up with a way to keep it cold.

and what kind of containers do you use for liquids? I am having hard time bringing milk to work. it just creats a mess.

I used those little Glad containers, but they wouldn't hold enought milk.  You'd probably do better to use a water bottle to carry milk, but you'd probably not want to use it for water anymore afterwards.

 

i just discovered the bumble bee tuna "kits" that come with a small can of marinated tuna and crackers. the whole package is only 200 calories, and they're very good and very convenient.

leftovers!

oh - and a sigg would be perfect for milk; they're double-walled aluminum, so will keep it cold and fresh during the commute.

rediced fat snack and high fider and protien content the fiber and protean should help keep you full a good snack I often grab is a two pack string cheese. For meif gives me that salt craving I always get and its high in protien

 

also a little trick I leanred, bring snacks in ahead of time, I hate packing things to bring with me it never been somthingI was good at.so one day just bring in somestuff that youcan leave at work for yourself that way you don't have to worry about it in the morning

You guys are awesome with your suggestions!

I just wrote a whole bunch down and now I have no excuse for snacking at work!

I have a couple of those freezer blocks that I can throw in my totebag along with my snacks to get me to work...I love the make ahead ideas and need to go get little snack bags and screw on cap containers...

Thanks for asking the question and thanks for the great ideas...what a great group of people we have on this site! No wonder I am losing weight after months of "failure"...these tips are great.

You've had plenty of good suggestions.  My only addition is that I swore I could never pack my lunch the night before or morning of.  But having no option (my work didn't have a vending machine or even a nearby shop), I found that I could do it, and developed a routine within a couple weeks.  I had a cooler bag that was the size of a 6-pack.  I'd pack every inch of that thing with food!  Usually some instant microwaveable something or leftovers from dinner (which I packed into my take-to-work container immediately, instead of putting it all in a big container and then having to re-pack my portion later), a pack of WW cookies, some carrots, low-fat cottage cheese and melba toast, a small container of olives and a tube of WW candies.  There was so much to choose from that I could pick my meal or snack according to my mood of the moment.

I'm not a morning person either.  I eat a bowl of instant oatmeal for breakfast.  For a snack, I take an apple or a banana and for lunch I take a microwaveable Lean Cuisine or Healthy Choice dinner.  They are all things that I can just grab on the way out the door.

I do the same things in the morning and it's tough because a lot of the time people will either order burritos from a place that delivers (and they are sooo friggin good) or someone will bring in Kolaches or lately, at least once a week, someone brings in sausage biscuits from McDonalds (today is one of those days).

As for good foods in the morning and throughout the day, I've found that I like Yoplait Yogurts, especially Strawberry Orange Sunrise and Strawberry Mango but the Chocolate Mousse is good too. For salty snacks I love Wonderful Pistachios. If you don't suck on the shell but just eat the nut you can eat a half a cup full.

I'm horrible at packing lunches too. But what I have gotten better at is grabbing stuff on my way out the door that I can make lunches with. Example a green pepper, with cream cheese and a lunch meat. Or a piece of fruit, a veggie, and turkey jerky. I also pack stuff I can snack on in case I don't have a filling lunch. Examples: Sugar free jello, salt free cashews, fruit, raisins, turkey jerky!

I used to bring in a Lean Cuisine or Smart Ones for lunch - but - I count WW points out of habit and most of those types of meals are 5-7 points a piece.  While that's a fair points range for a main meal, I noticed I was hungier than I should have been in the afternoons given the points I was spending on lunch.  Instead, I switched to snacking on a 1-3 point item every couple of hours which seems to fill me up without exhausting my points bank.

To make it easy and convenience, I usually take some time on Sunday night to pull together a grocery bag full of items I can take with me to work on Monday.  I have a drawer in my desk I use to store the items and so I am able to choose from a selection of lunch or snack options over the next week. 

Some of the things I have brought on a routine basis include:

  • Mini Bag of 94% FF Kettle Korn (1 pt = bag)
  • Progresso Light (Reduced Sodium) Soup (0 pts = serving; 2 pts = can)
  • FF Saltines to put in soup (1 pt = 5 crackers)
  • Bunch of Bananas (1-2 pts = banana)
  • Red Apples (1-2 pts =  banana)
  • Light Whole Wheat Pita with thinly sliced turkey and one slice of 2% Cheese (3 pts = sandwich)
  • Baked Lays (2 pts = serving)
  • Chex Bars - Turtle (2 pts = bar)
  • Quaker Oaks Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookie (3 pts = cookie)
  • Individually Wrapped String Cheese (1 pt = stick)
  • Light and Lively Strawberry-Banana Yogurt Drink (2 pts = drink)
  • Slim Fast Optima (3 pts = 1 can)

As you can see, I sometimes have a sweet tooth and so a couple of the items I keep on hand are to fill that need for a 3 pm chocolate fix! 

Because I hate to drink milk and don't like the consistency of real yogurt, I drink a Slim Fast Optima on the way to work to make sure I am getting in at least 1 daily serving = milk.  It's also quick, convenient and filling.

Hope some of these suggestions are helpful!  After reviewing the board, it seems like you have a lot of ideas to choose from.  I am looking forward to trying out some of the other options listed, too!

I am like you, I sleep in and then eat a bowl of cereal or oatmeal before I hurriedly get off to work.

I work an eight hour day. About an hour or so after I get to work I usually eat a snack which is normally an apple, apple sauce, almonds or green tea with soy milk. I drink a glass of water with every meal which helps me keep full.

Two hours later I eat lunch, which consists of protein and vegetables with maybe a salad on non work out days and rigoruous work out days protein, vegetables and bake potato, healthy pasta w/ salad or chicken breast or baked fish sandwich w/ salad. (Watch your portions and condiments)

An hour or two later I eat desert which is either low fat yogurt or part skim ricotta with cinnamon and splenda.

Maybe an hour before I'm reading to go home I eat another snack which could be any of the previous snacks or celery with low fat cottage cheese (whipped) or peanut butter, string cheese, hummus and carrots/ or few ritz crackers.

Dinner - I try to stay away from complex carbs at dinner so protein and vegetables.

It takes some preparation but I think its really easy to just bring an apple, yogurt and a low fat spring cheese or almonds. BTW - only bring a handful of almonds to work and not the whole can, if it is at your desk you will probably eat it. :-)

 

 

Original Post by safina1:

 caverlady,

how long can egg whites stay without the fridge? can I carry my egg whites in a container to work. I usually work out in the morings so the eggs will be in the container for about 3 hours before  I cook them. Is that ok?

 I would try getting the ziploc or glad screw top containers, get your egg whites measured out and freeze them.  When you leave in the morning, get one out and take it with you, and it should keep itself cold and be ready for you three hours later. 

31 Replies (last)
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