What We Pack for Lunch

Let our staff’s ideas for healthy, make-ahead lunches inspire your food choices on March 10, National Pack Your Lunch Day.
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It’s not an accident that National Pack Your Lunch Day, March 10, falls almost smack in the middle of National Nutrition Month. Eating a mid-day meal that you planned out yourself and made with healthy ingredients at home is usually the more nutritious choice than grabbing restaurant or fast-casual food in a hurry. Which is great news for us, as we BERGEN editors are generally the pack-your-own-lunch types. Here’s the healthy goodness we’re making ahead and eating these days during our lunch breaks (and snack breaks), and especially on Tuesday, March 10:

  • “I’m the leftover queen. On Sundays, I’ll cook up a batch of whatever I’m craving, and then I’ll have it for lunches. For example, this week, I grilled chicken breasts, which I’ll use in a spinach salad with cranberries, cucumbers, tomatoes and feta cheese and sprinkled with a little extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Or I’ll have the chicken in a sandwich with avocado. Snacks include dried apricots and a 100-calorie bag of almonds. Yum.”
    —Rita Guarna, Editor in Chief
  • “My favorite packed lunch is leftovers too! I intentionally make more dinner than my family will eat so in the morning, all I have to do is grab a prepacked Tupperware, throw it in my work bag and go. My favorite leftover for lunch is salmon stir fry, which is super quick to make and only requires one pan. First, I make teriyaki sauce by combining water, soy sauce, honey, ginger and garlic powder—this has a much less salty flavor than bottled sauce. Then I heat olive oil in a wok pan and add salmon, snap peas and shredded brussels sprouts, cabbage and carrots. Throw a bag of instant brown basmati rice into the microwave for 90 seconds. Start to finish, you’ve got two complete meals in 30 minutes.
    —Daria Meoli, Senior Editor
  • “I always have a mixed greens salad loaded with grilled or shredded rotisserie chicken, craisins and raspberry vinaigrette as well as Greek yogurt mixed with granola or powdered peanut butter. I vary up the fruit that I bring: A banana and apple are musts, and right now I’m also tossing a grapefruit and dried figs into my bag. Get your hands on Arizona grapefruit if you can find it!”
    —Darius Amos, Senior Associate Editor
  • “I like to switch up my workday lunches every two months or so so I don’t get stuck in a food rut. Right now I’m loving a spinach and shredded brussels sprouts salad tossed with feta cheese, roasted butternut squash, pomegranate seeds, sliced almonds and fat-free balsamic dressing from Trader Joe’s. I sometimes also add a protein like tofu on top to help keep me fuller longer. Snacks vary by day, but I always include a small bag of mixed berries, a yogurt or chocolate pudding and something crunchy for the late afternoon slump, like trail mix or sugar-free cereal.”
    —Haley Longman, Lifestyle Editor
  • “I like to keep my packed lunches lighter, so my go-to nosh is often a chickpea salad with lots of seasonings and fresh parsley, or a quinoa salad tossed with some store-bought lemon vinaigrette and chopped veggies. I’m a big snacker though, so I’ve always got three or four things to munch on throughout the day to keep me satiated. I’m a little obsessed with Chobani Flips yogurt, and I’ll bring one of those (my favorite flavor is "coffee brownie bliss”), as well as a single-sized bag of Skinny Pop and some all-natural fruit leather bars. If I’m looking for a little extra crunch during the day, I’ll snack on a serving of Quakers rice crisps—the buttermilk ranch ones are my weakness."
    —Gianna Barone, Editorial Assistant
Categories: Bergen Health & Life, Homepage Features