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Punching Up Packed Lunches #weekendcooking @BethFishReads

The upside of being unemployed–lunch at home with my work-from-home husband.

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After several months of being unemployed, I have recently gone back to working in a library, and so have started bringing packed lunches again. I am lucky to have a husband who often packs lunch for me, complete with unexpected little treats!

The lunches my husband packs for me to eat at work are a balm to my soul.

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But I do try to pack my own lunch at least a couple of times a week, so I checked out this article right away when it came into my email inbox from Refinery29:

11 Things People Who Pack Their Lunches Always Do

The ideas in the slide show reflect different approaches and eating/cooking styles; depending on your level of willingness to plan ahead, spend money, etc., only some may seem worth a try to you. Some of them I occasionally do already, such as  immediately portioning out and putting away a lunch-sized serving for the next day of whatever we’re having for dinner. Tip #9 from Senior Health Editor Amelia Harnish was my favorite, “Pack a fun snack”:

The secret to bringing your own lunch every day for real is making a lunch you actually like eating — something that’s healthy and makes you feel full and satisfied and happy —but it also has to be easy to make. I usually go with a salad with plenty of protein and a “surprise” ingredient, which is mandatory.

Sometimes I top my salad with sweet potato fries; sometimes it’s the chicken I didn’t finish at dinner the night before. Sometimes I add salsa and also pack chips, or it’s even weirder, like a scoop of leftover Indian food. I also build in other treats: cheese sticks, chips, Oreos, whatever you want. Lunch dessert is important. — Amelia Harnish, Senior Health Editor

I’ve been on a salad kick for the last couple of months, and have already been making plain garden salads more interesting with toppings like rice salad, hard-boiled eggs, assorted cheeses, seasoned/dressed canned beans, capers, toasted sunflower seeds, and slivers of sundried tomatoes. Also adding torn leaves of basil, parsley, and/or mint to the mixed greens, and always remembering to pack a little bottle of homemade salad dressing!


But after reading Tip #9, I tried putting leftover Chinese food on salad greens for lunch, and it was pretty good!

Lunchtime! Just starting Tuesday Nights in 1980, but have heard good things about it!

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The other day I finally thought of returning the favor and made a salad for my husband’s lunch (He works from home.) when I made my own in the morning!


Some of our best recent salad efforts:

Don’t forget fruit salads!

Happy Weekend Cooking!

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20 thoughts on “Punching Up Packed Lunches #weekendcooking @BethFishReads”

  1. Packing lunch for my husband (whether he does it or I do) is always so difficult. Thanks for some good ideas!

  2. These salads are gorgeous! And they look so tasty and tempting! When I was working I was terrible at packing my lunch and all my coworkers were big on going out to lunch so even when I did pack I more often than not got talked into going out to eat. When I’m cleaning up from dinner I usually make my husband a plate of leftovers for lunch the next day but if we don’t have leftovers or they weren’t very travel friendly he ends up eating out which isn’t good for him or the budget. These salads look way better!

    1. Leftovers don’t always make an appetizing lunch the next day, that’s for sure. The advantage to them is all you have to remember to pack in the morning is a fork and a napkin!

    1. I love my freezer bag for packed lunches. No freezer packs to bother with, you just empty the bag when you come home from work, fold it up and stick it in the freezer overnight to chill and it’s ready to use the next morning. No drippy freezer pack in the bag at lunchtime!

  3. All the articles about lunch seem to focus on kids’ lunch boxes. It’s nice to see someone looking out for the vast number of grownups who brown bag it!

    best… mae at

  4. You have some good and healthy lunches packed there. I admire that. So many people I work with go out everyday. My husband and I take lunch almost every single day to keep it economically friendly to our account and becaus, most of all, it’s healthier. I love your ideas and lunches!

  5. Yeah on going back to work. How lucky for you your husband makes your lunch. I am with you on the homemade lunches. It is a way to keep the waist trim and the wallet fat. I read the 11 things list-must say I do not agree with all-I have never used a delivery service. I like choosing my own produce. That and while we have leftovers I do not make meals in advance and then freeze them. Have a good day.

    1. The tips were shared by 11 different people, so they wouldn’t all work for everyone, I guess! I agree with you on the delivery service; I am too frugal to use one, though, in addition to liking to pick out my own stuff!

    1. I’ve been trying to pack them BEFORE I’m trying to rush out the door, which is what usually would happen if my husband didn’t take pity on me or wasn’t around in the morning!

  6. Your salads inspire me, as I tire of sandwiches during the school year. But, it’s so hard for me to give up chips! I’m a bit assuaged when the food editor said there must be lunch dessert. But of course! 😉

    1. Chips were very hard for me to give up, too, and I still can’t resist having them occasionally, but I found that adding nuts or sunflower seeds to the salads give me that little extra crunch that I need! My desserts have been mostly fruit lately, but I’m considering adding a bite-sized piece of Dove dark chocolate as a treat once in a while!

  7. Your lunches look amazing. I’m going to have to invite myself over 😉

    I like the idea of adding leftovers to a salad. We often have left overs for lunch but it’s just what was for dinner so it’s usually cold and boring. I like the idea of a lunch dessert. I’ve found having a bite of something else can sometimes make all the difference between that have-eaten feeling and not.

Would love to have you comment!