Packing Lunches


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Every day I pack Scott’s lunch for him.  He never gets anything too earth-shattering in his lunch.

But life isn’t always earth-shattering.  Sometimes its just lunch.

And it’s always based on what I have on hand and can throw in his bag.

For instance:


Three apples out of bag

Fresh pineapple chunks

Fresh pineapple chunks



Date Rolls

Date Rolls

No Bake Coconut & Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites

No Bake Coconut & Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites

Homemade Trail Mix with whatever odds and ends I have to throw into it

Homemade Trail Mix


Terra Chips

Terra ChipsDo these count as getting my Blue Food in for the day?

Leftover Sesame Ginger Maple Tofu

Sesame Ginger Maple Tofu

Microwave Chocolate Peanut Butter and Oat Snack Bars

Microwave Chocolate Peanut Butter and Oat Snack Bars


Vegan Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Protein Bars

Vegan Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Protein BarsIt’s so easy to make your own bars.  You can customize them and save lots of money in the process.  And keep out what you don’t like.  And add more of what you do like.  More chocolate chips maybe?

And maybe if I’m feeling generous and don’t want to hog them all for myself, I’ll give him some of whatever baked goods I have on hand or is in rotation.

This week it’s been Magic Eight Bars but they are almost gone.

Magic Eight BarsMust make more.

From my last post, Officially Summer, I’m glad you liked the discussion of why it’s customary to do 108 sun salutations in yoga when marking the Summer Solstice.

And it was fun to read what you like to do and eat now that summer is officially here!


1. Do you pack your lunch?

I always pack food with me to work or even on errands.  You never know when that granola bar is going to save the day.  Having anything in my purse is key and of course, yes, if I know I will be out of the house over mealtime, I pack something because I am too cheap and too picky to rely on “finding something” when I’m out and time is of the essence and I need to be at work.

2. What do you include in it?

I am the queen of planned leftovers from the night before so that’s where things like leftover tofu or a container of Cheesy Taco Casserole come in handy.

Cheesy Taco Casserole

I also put a lot of fresh fruits and veggies in lunches from carrots sticks and apples to cucumber slices and grapes.  This isn’t rocket science or fine dining.

This is lunch that he can eat at his desk and it serves the purposes of:

keeping him healthy, i.e.not going out to restaurants or delis, and being able to control what he’s getting because I know I packed it and it came from home and my kitchen.  He actually tells me he hates client luncheons now because he leaves them feeling stuffed with food that doesn’t make him feel good for the rest of the day and he would have never chosen had it not been a business lunch.

it saves tons of money.  We both like this.

it saves time!  Not having to chase out over the lunch hour is a major time savings for him and one that he always tells me he appreciates.

3. What makes you excited when you reach into your lunch and see it or did you used to get excited when your mom would pack your lunch about a certain item?

My mom was a no frills lunch packer.  Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, some fruit, a little box of raisins, maybe a baggie of chips (Doritos excited me!), maybe something she had baked like a cookie or a bar or a brownie <—exciting.

But seeing a Twinkie or a Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pie in my lunch was Not that she did it very often, but when she did, it was really a thrill.


I loved Oatmeal Creme Pies!

P.S. Thanks for the continued Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 Giveaway entries.  Contest ends Friday morning so enter if you still need to!


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Welcome to AverieCooks! Here you’ll find fast and easy recipes that taste amazing and are geared for real life. Nothing fussy or complicated, just awesome tasting dishes everyone loves!

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  1. I love that you pack your husband lunch! I HATE eating at work. I work at a living foods kitchen, and they have a staff fridge which they stock with organic produce, so I usually just eat from in there. Talk about saving money!! My love comes home for lunch, so he never has to worry, and just eats whatever is fastest. I was like you growing up. Lunches were pretty simple. Once my mom started making us pack our own lunches, I would either have left overs, or pizza pockets. I LOVED pizza pockets!! Now I think that I would be very disappointed to see one of those as my lunch.

  2. I pack paul’s lunches. lately i’ve slacked and let him eat subs from the work gas station. It makes me cringe. piles of ham and processed cheese and mayo… I die… but it makes him so happy.

    1 year of marriage down. by year 2 I plan on having him scared of lunch meats too ;) haha!

    great lunch options Averie! I love the taco casserole!!!

    1. married 10 yrs, together 12.

      wasnt til year 3 or 4 that we did away with lunch meats for the most part…he still eats some when out (there are worse things) but I dont buy it anymore :)

      1. We’ve been together for 6 years and once I get a few more vegan and vegetarian options that he adores, i’m getting just plain sneaky.

        though I envision him sitting in his car with a packet of lunch meat like he’s cheating on me or something. bahaha! oh man.

  3. I love this post! I often struggle with what to pack my kids for preschool and what to pack for myself for my 12 hour work day… the simpler & fresher, the better :) Keep up the awesome work girl!

    1. mom to mom, thanks for reading and being a great mom and packing lunches for your fam :)

  4. I alway spack all 4 of our lunches! The kids like sandwiches or leftover in their thermos. Jason and I ALWAYS eat leftovers….I plan it that way. ;) I also pack myself a muffin or bar for a morning snack b/c I hit up the gym at lunch and need some fuel, then fruit for my afternoon snack. These days it’s raspberries, pineapple or watermelon. YUM!

    1. thanks for you lovely comments, busy lady :)

      hope you and the fam are doing great!

  5. I’m all ABOUT packing my lunches, it saves me money and allows me to control my portions despite most of my friends at work liking to go out and grab foods to bring back.

    leftovers are some of my favorites, with salads a close favorite, and sandwiches rounding out the rear. Yummy.

  6. my mother was a great cook and made home made everything….a treat in the lunchbox was–i kid you not–a hamburger wrapped in tin foil…
    funny thing, i wanted to make some veggie burgers for my girls to take to school–they gave me that puzzled look–a hamburger? for school?…my oldest is at that age that’s she’s self conscious about what she has in her lunch box…i tried to explain how cool i was when i had a hamburger and other kids didn’t…
    i’ve been learning about all sorts of amazing vegan burgers–i want to share this discovery with my girls…they’ll eat them for dinner–no problem…so easy to pack in a lunch for them…i’ll keep working on them!

  7. I love oatmeal pies too! My mom never packed my lunch, I was always a “hot lunch” kid. It apparently didn’t have a big impact on me, because I don’t even really remember what I used to get for lunch as a kid. Probably pizza and fruit.

    Luckily, I eat lunch at home so I don’t have to worry about packing anything with me. Which is awesome because I am so super picky. I can never bring snacks with me when I’m going to be out because I haven’t found anything I can do that with!

    “Tips” I read everywhere such as bringing a piece of fruit or some string cheese don’t work for me. I like my fruit cold and diced up and I like all dairy products cold. I don’t find granola or snack bars filling enough, plus I need ice cold water to drink with them. Some things I like directly from the freezer, such as nuts. I can’t bring a baggie of trail mix because the nuts will be all warm and the dried fruit just makes me shake from the sugar. <– too darn picky for my own good!

  8. I pack my lunch most of the week, but snacks in the purse are an ALWAYS. Almonds, dried fruit, bars – there is always something in there to tide me over or for a situation where there’s nothing available for me to eat.

  9. I always pack lunch for myself, usually in the form of leftovers. I’m a picky eater and prefer my own food. Plus, it’s a lot cheaper than eating out every day! Fruit are a great snack between meals, I always pack some berries, apples or bananas.

  10. I pack a lunch almost every day and try hard to vary what I am bringing. Salads, soups, sandwiches, veggies and hummus, lots of fresh fruit.

  11. 1. I always pack my lunch. I used to be a take-out girl, and waste tons of money, calories and plastic containers until I read The Art of Eating In by Cathy Erway. I like to pack the night before if I have to be up early, that way I can just grab and go.

    2. I usually have a salad. I put the dressing in a separate container and sometimes I leave an avocado on top of the salad so that I don’t forget to slice it in. I’m also a fan of leftovers if there will be a place to heat it up.

    3. Who doesn’t love cookies in their lunchbox? Yours look delicious!

  12. Your posts make me go nutzz!!

    All I want right now is to quit my job, shift next to your house and then play the role of the ideal neighbour by visiting you exactly at the time you were eating!! lol

    But you do make me jealous, okay!! :D

  13. I used to really rely on store bought energy bars, but I got *too* dependent on them & began eating them all the time. Now I find it easier to simply look for a place to eat – usually there’s a sandwich or salad I can buy/ order. I like bringing bananas & apples (and some nori sheets/ dried fruit) with me when I travel, and I bring more food on (longer) car trips, but I stay away from the store-bought energy bars on the most part (I now find them too sweet).

  14. hey Lady!

    I pack lunches for the two of us. We prepare them the night before, so the day of, it’s just packing them into the lunch bags and adding ice packs and cutlery.

    In the winter/fall, we generally have leftovers (to be re-heated at work) as the main course. In the spring/summer, it’s salad and veggie sticks/hummus. We also pack greek yogurt, cheese strings, almonds, and fruit salad as side dishes/snacks for the rest of the day.

    I’m like Scott – I don’t like business lunches at all: they don’t serve food that agrees with me, it’s heavy, and I don’t feel the best in the afternoon. I’ve developed the reputation for bringing my own food (snacks + lunch) to meetings (where they usually order in, as opposed to going to a restaurant).

    happy thursday!


  15. I bring my own lunches to work, always have. My mom packed all my lunches as a kid, but I was allowed to eat at school once a week (a treat!).
    My husband used to make his own lunches about half the time (I am of the belief a man should be able to make his own food, plus we like different things). But with his new job he gets all lunches, no matter where or the price, free. His co-workers are into healthy eating like he is, so they usually go to some decent places.

  16. Mmmm….I’m jealous of Scott’s lunches!!!! Can you come to PA and pack me a lunch too?!? :-)

  17. Hey!
    I am visiting your blog after a while and hence have not been through many of recent articles.
    Pardon me for my last comment, I never knew she was just the one :)
    But she’s too sweet anyways.

    Regarding the article, I wish my wife had the same sense of food that you have :). I wish :)

  18. I have to pack my lunch for my summer job and I’ll sometimes pack it at school, depending on my class schedule. I’m so repetitive with my lunches – I almost always pack a hummus + avocado sandwich, an apple, some sliced veggies, and a snack of some sort of homemade granola bar or cookie. Somehow I never get bored of this lunch! But you’ve just given me so many new ideas for snacks to make! Those chocolate PB microwave bars look amazing! :D

  19. I always pack my lunch! In fact that’s what I’m getting ready to do before work. :) You can pack mine if you want to! My Dad would always pack our lunches for my brother and me. He would always go plain and simple with a small treat, but he always made the best pb and J… super thick.

    Gosh I loved those oatmeal creme pies though (we never had them which was probably why they were so exciting!)

  20. I always pack some food up when i’m working… it normally consists of fruit, roasted veg, homemade granola (if I have time) some nuts and maybe a little something sweet! :)

  21. I feel like I could reach out and grab an apple. That’s how fatalistic your photos are!

  22. I love having packed lunch or snack for the hubby and me even when I am out running errands. What more, than to enjoy summer produce with great flavors :)

  23. Hello there! Cannot believe it’s thurdays already. Crazy.

    I always pack mine and Tom’s lunch. Tom’s is usually very boring as he’s picky about what he’ll have for lunch- marmite and PB sandwiches, fruit (apple, banana), cereal bar (nutrigrain usually), bag of low-fat crisps. That usually sorts it for him. For me, I tend to pack any sort of raw vegan snacks, salad, rice, roasted veg, fruit, trail mix. Tom would cry if we mixed these lunches up! :) I always love finding chocolate in there… it would also be amazing if a hot cup of coffee would just magic itself into existence right at the moment when I’m having my 20 min lunch break! Dreaming…


  24. I pack a huge lunch for my boys every day they are in school. They ALWAYS have fresh fruit in it and eat a ton. They are so thankful that I pack them a lunch instead of having to eat food from a vending machine or from the school! My kiddos are healthy and I want to keep them that way! :-)

    When I was in high school, my mom always packed me a lunch, too. The funny thing was, I was super into ketchup at the time! Kinda like you, Averie! haha…Anyway, I would ask my mom to pack anything that I could dip in ketchup from the cafeteria and she did, i.e, sandwich, pretzels, carrots, you name it…if I could dip it in ketchup, I would! :-)

  25. Great inspiration for packing lunches, it’s so pricey to eat out every day. If I could afford it, I’d have lunch at Whole Foods more, but that’s just not practical. :-)

    1. Yes, I usually end up eating with my mom or sisters since they live near my job, but we’re always combining leftovers.
    2. Usually leftovers from dinner, huge salads and lots of fruit. Sometimes a meal smoothie if I’m running errands.
    3. Fresh, ripe fruit and maybe popcorn with coconut oil and a pinch of salt.

  26. OMG, I kind of want Dustin to work outside of the house so I can pack him a lunch, LOL. I’d only want to do it for my own selfish reasons: Blog pics! hahaha Maybe I can pack it and make him eat it at home? :D He’d love it. He cooked his own eggs today. Oy. The butter was BLACK! The stove was splattered all the hell and then his oatmeal exploded in the microwave. :|

    Scott’s lunches look awesome. I’d be excited about all of those foods! My mom rarely packed my lunch, I bought lunch in elementary school, then stopped eating lunch in middle school. All the cafeteria crap probably contributed to my tummy probs today. Ugh. Gross.

    That pineapple is STILL in my fridge. Oof. I don’t think it’s going to be a pleasant reuniting.

    1. black butter and a splattered up stove…oh, lovely. Which is why i dont allow scott in the kitchen!

      And pack him a lunch-at-home for blog photography..classic. And not really even the farthest fetched idea. As bloggers, we’ve all done far crazier…lol

  27. Me and the kids eat like this all the time BUT if I tried to send ANY of this to work with Todd he would have it in the garbage before he hit the street. How do you do it?

    1. why would anyone throw out good food, i.e. fruits, vegs, homemade granola bars, or even chips? That would be wasteful and silly! If my hubs threw out food that would be his foolish choice to go hungry! :)

  28. I used to pack lunch as well, mainly whatever leftover from last night dinner – usually contain veggies and meat and some healthy fat and little fruits. Hubby brought the same thing as well, plus some gluten like bread. Totally agree that packing lunch saves tons of money and also it makes me feel good b/c I know what I put in my own food.

  29. I always have snacks on me. At any time, you can usually find some nuts, a Go Raw bar, and/or some fruit in my purse. My friends always make fun of me, but then say how they wish they were as healthy as me! All you have to do is pack your food! :-)
    I actually just finished packing my lunch for tomorrow: grapes (red & green) + whole wheat sandwich w/ avocado, cuke, tomato, bell pepper, tahini, hummus, bbq! –> i love these condiments too much to choose between them ;-)
    Looking forward to lunch!

  30. I purposely don’t pack lunch bc I enjoy looking forward to buying lunch. It’s just something to look forward to in the middle of a long work day.

  31. I am a total lunch packer. I pack mine and my husband’s. And will be packing my son’s when he heads to kindergarten and can’t get free lunch anymore. I generally plan way ahead. I hate buying lunch and I know what I pack is going to be MUCH healthier.

    Lunches are leftovers or salads. Fruit.

    I always get excited if I pack an avocado to put on the salad. My spouse works a block away, so we’ll split it.

  32. Today for lunch at work I packed myself leftover curried lentils with brown rice, a grapefruit, strawberries, goat cheese, and a Kind Bar to eat later as snack. I pack my older kids’ lunches in a Bento style box for day camp and when my youngest goes to daycare 3 half days a week I pack hers too so they aren’t tempted to slip her any meat!

    I think that’s so sweet that you pack your husband’s lunch!

  33. I love those Terra chips with the kabocha!! so good.

    I always offer to make Jason’s lunch, but he goes out a lot… (he has meetings and takes clients / employees to lunch…) but I always make him breakfast (a smoothie and juice, normally!) before we leave, and send him off with mid morning snacks (protein bars, CHICKPEA balls!) ;)

    I always bring a lunch, have extra food at work, and always have food with me!! :D

  34. What a good wife! I pack MY lunch, but Ari works from home a lot so he likes to get out for some air and get himself lunch. I often make us both dinner, though!

  35. I’m so close to work (a 10 minute walk) that I never pack a lunch. I eat before I go, and if I’m hungry before I get home, too bad. I can wait till I get home for dinner. I don’t want to suffer through hours of food being stuck in my teeth, anyway!

  36. I pack my lunch for work, but not for school or anything. I usually pack an apple for snack and carrot sticks with a granola bar or leftovers for lunch. Today I packed carrot sticks w/ peanut butter & pasta I made last night.
    As a kid I was impossible to pack lunch for! I always got bored of foods & my lunch requests would change everyday. I was like a pregnant woman! One morning a sandwich would sound amazing then later on at lunch it sounded like the most disgusting food in the world. Eventually my mom just had me pack my own lunch! She would usually always include some kind of sweet though…who doesn’t get excited about that??

  37. Sounds like our moms had very similar lunch-packing styles. That’s almost exactly what my Mom would pack for me.

    My fave portable lunch lately is an Avocado Egg Salad: 2 sliced, boiled eggs with a sprinkle of spices and olive oil. Then when it’s time to eat, I bust out a small avocado and slice some chunks into the egg mixture. Really high protein and good, esp for people who like eggs (I know not everyone does ;-) )

  38. I ALWAYS pack my lunch for several reasons. 1. It’s way cheaper. I’m a student, here! 2. I’m very conscious of what I put into my body. I rarely eat out with the exception of weekends with the boyfriend (which we’re trying to cut back on…see #1). As a newish vegan and calorie/nutrition conscious eater, packing my lunch makes me feel good and give me peace of mind.

    I cook all my food at the beginning of the week, so lunch is usually delicious leftovers! Way better than my old pb&j routine. I used to get excited when mom switched it up and gave me tuna instead of salami! Though now that doesn’t tickle my fancy, moms do make the best sandwiches.

  39. I always pack my lunch for work and take snacks along for my young son and I on errands. I too am too cheap and too picky to try and find something while out! BTW the oatmeal pies reminded me of my grandma. She loves them and thinks they are healthy because they contain oats. When my oldest son was little he stayed at her house. One day at the store he told me he wanted me to buy “those hamburgers with icing” like my grandma had. It took me awhile but I figured out it was Little Debbie oatmeal cream pies that he was talking about!

  40. I love packing lunches nowadays because I know I’m guaranteed to love whats in it! :)
    My mom used to pack my lunches when I was in elementary and middle school. In first grade my mom didn’t pack my lunch and little did she know…I bought an ice cream every single day instead of the cafeteria lunch :) After that year she started packing my lunches.

  41. Oh wow, those treats look like they could do some serious damage! I love it. I think my husband would even try them. I am looking forward to digging in the archives of this blog, for sure.

  42. I’m a big lunch packer! Hummus, veggies, string cheese, greek yogurt, almonds, fruit, bars, hard boiled eggs… whatever I’ve got!

    Scott’s a lucky guy! :)

  43. I pack a lunch when I’m in school. It’s typically a salad with lettuce(s), chicken, veggies, and hummus/salsa. Plus fruit..always fruit!!

  44. I always pack a lunch :) Today I forgot it at home and Hubby took mine instead. I found out he likes packed lunches too. Great way to eat healthy and save money too !

  45. I’m a packer, too. Also because I’m cheap and picky :P Sometimes it’s leftovers, sometimes it’s a sandwich, sometimes it’s a salad. Nothing earth-shattering, but yummy enough! Your granola bars look awesome. Way better than store-bought, anyway ;)

  46. I don’t work full time right now but when I used to, I packed HUGE awesome lunches like yours. Awesome photos! I’m checking out the no chocolate cookie dough bites and chocolate peanut butter bars right now!

  47. i always pack my lunch! In my lunch bag you will find, a large green smoothie, a huge salad with tofu or chickpeas, carrot sticks & a banana with sunflower seed butter, homemade trail mix and fresh brewed iced tea! :)

  48. This is sorta on topic – sorta not. I wanted to let you know I’m a new reader and I often just chime into your blog to read — just — today’s entry. About 30 minutes later I find that I have been enjoying the “looping” (so to speak) of your links to different recipes and posts. Don’t get me wrong…I LOVE IT :) It makes me think that you should do a “Loves Veggies and Yoga” blog scavenger hunt or treasure hunt with clues and prizes…

  49. I definitely pack my lunch when I need to (or snacks). I am often at home at lunch time, so I tend to eat at home most of the time…but there is nothing that makes me impulse buy more than being hungry! So if I go out somewhere or to work, if I’m hungry I can easily be coaxed into stopping at the health food store and spending way too much on snacks I don’t need or could have made at home!

    My mom kept lunches simple—I don’t think she ever once bought little debbie or twinkies. I felt deprived back then, but now I value the expense and the lack of quality she avoided! I think I got most excited when she gave in and started buying juice boxes (vs. thermos), and she also used to write love notes on a napkin. On Fridays I had a quarter so I could buy ice cream–that was exciting too!
    Joe packs his own lunch, and he says the same thing as Scott about business lunches (and dinners)—he hates it!

  50. I do love when I can pack my lunch. I find I eat much healthier if I do. Great lunch & snack ideas!

  51. i pack my lunch everyday since i’m allergic to gluten and also avoid dairy. i usually pack a protein (hard boiled eggs, fish or other meat) stir fried or just from the tin & a ton of veggies sometimes raw, other times steamed or braised. i never pack fruit with my lunch, it tends to make me hungrier? and always a handful of either raw almonds, cashews, walnuts or macadamia nuts for munching. i don’t pack nate’s lunch, i leave that up to him. he loves to cook and create as well so he’s always mixing it up and often it contains gluten so i let him do his thing! my mom would put these little notes in my lunch, i don’t really remember the food stuff since it wasn’t very exciting but i do remember the encouragement notes!

  52. I always pack my lunches when I am going to be away from home-which is everyday this summer!

    I like to mix it up, but I love doing salads, raw veggies with chicken breast, leftovers, sweet taters with almond butter, and whatever treats I have made lately!