Packed Lunch Ideas

Last week Emily, our Registered Dietitian, did a cooking demo/workshop on packed lunch and snack ideas.  With an emphasis on convenient and easily packed items, here is the list of lunches the group came up with. (Based on the balanced-meal guidelines we recommend)


  • Mason Jar Salads:  Have you seen these? The dressing and other components are layered in such a way that leafy greens won’t get soggy but you only need in one container. You start with dressing in the bottom, followed by sturdy vegetables that can marinate in the dressing, leafy greens next, and then you would add any variety of protein (leftover chicken, salmon, hard boiled eggs, cheese, nuts, seeds and/or beans) and carbohydrate (quinoa, beans, corn, fruit, brown rice, potato, etc).  When you make 5 on the weekened, you can easily grab one each day to take for lunch.  When you are ready to eat, you would just shake it up to toss all components in the dressing and eat!  This link will give you some ideas!

18 Mason Jar Salads That Make Perfect Health Lunches

  • PB, egg salad, tuna salad, turkey or chicken sandwiches with veggies and hummus
  • Hard boiled egg(s), whole grain pita, hummus and carrots
  • Chili baked potato
  • Chicken/tuna salad (greek yogurt, mustard, grapes, celery, walnuts and quinoa) in lettuce wraps
  • Salsa chicken (chicken and salsa in crockpot for 6-8 hours, shred when cooked and use all week!) in tacos, taco salad or with brown rice, veggies and sour cream.
  • Brown rice (make big batch on weekend) with beans,veggies, salsa and guacamole
  • Toast with guacamole, tomato slices and hard boiled eggs
  • Sweet potato toppd with cottage cheese, tomatoes and slivered almonds
  • Greek baked potato – small baked potato topped with garbanzo beans, cucumber, tomato, feta and olives with a bit of olive oil and lemon juice
  • Quinoa salad, pasta salad, bean salads – some sort of one pot meal prepped and ready to go!  (see below for item demonstrated)
  • Madras Lentils (can find at Costco and other grocery stores) with chicken and sprinkle of cheese
  • Leftovers!

Pesto Chicken Pasta Salad

1 lb whole grain pasta

2 cups chopped kale or spinach

3/4 cups pesto sauce (Emily used this brand)

Juice of 1 lemon

1/2 cup chopped sundried tomatoes

1 cup chopped roasted red peppers

1 cup chopped marinated (drained) artichoke hearts

1 cup grape tomatoes, halved

2 cups cooked, cooled and chopped chicken

Cook pasta using package directions.  Place colander in the sink and put your chopped kale or spinach in it.  As you pour your cooked pasta over the greens, it will wilt perfectly.  Cool.

While pasta and greens cool, mix together the remaining ingredients in a large bowl, starting with items listed first in list above and moving down the list.  Add cooled pasta and greens and toss to combine.  Optional: top with 1/4 cup chopped walnuts.  Serve or refrigerate until ready to eat. (250 calories per cup)

Check back tomorrow for our snack ideas!