Brown-bag lunches

For many, many, many, many years (like 16, I think?), I ate a peanut-butter sandwich every day for lunch. This is easy to make in the morning (a very, very important consideration for a non-morning person like myself), nutritious, tasty. and inexpensive. Maybe once a month or so I’d buy lunch, just for a change of pace, but week in, month out, year in, decade out, I was able to just keep eating the same freaking type of sandwich every day.

I have, however, finally burned out on peanut butter.

A couple of times recently I’ve mixed up a batch of egg salad, which has the “ease of sandwich-assembly” thing covered, and right now I’m working through some honey-baked ham left over from a party at my sister’s (ham, sharp cheddar, a bit of “sharp and sweet” mustard, on rye – damn, that’s a good sandwich). When that’s gone, though … whither shall I go from here? I need sandwich (or other brown-bag lunch) recommendations.

Note: my bizarre run with peanut butter was, as noted, based on the fact that it was easy, nutritious, tasty, and inexpensive. I really can jettison no more than one of these criteria.

Recommend away, foodies, cheapskates, and others of the brown-bagging persuasion!

Do you have access to a refrigerator or microwave, or should we limit our suggestions to foods that keep well at room temperature? Also, do you eat anything along with your sandwich? Fruit? Juice? Chips? Dessert?

Chicken salad and piminto cheese are fast and easy sandwiches, and very inexpensive. Salami is good too.

Yes on fridge and microwave. Also a toaster.

I traditionally wash down my lunch with a Diet Dr Pepper and follow it up with my daily ration of dark chocolate, and those two are showing no sign of getting old.

I have a long standing lunch date with hummus. You can put it in a pita alone or with lettuce or sprouts, tomato, cucumber…Cheap, healthy, and easy to take with you. Sometimes I forego the pita and just eat it with pretzel chips.

I tend to go through cycles like that myself with lunch. One year I ate almost exclusively ramen in its various permutations. There are some pretty interesting variations out there, if you know where to shop. After I burned out on that, I switched to a hunk of crusty bread, olive oil, a chunk of sausage, a hunk of cheese, and maybe a pickle or two: the basic Ploughman’s Lunch, with a bit of a twist. I’d shop Trader Joe’s for off-the-wall cheeses, and search the delis for different meats. Was a fun year.

OF course, I don’t think I’ll ever get hungry enough to eat the MREs in my filing cabinet, but you never know. The cafeteria has been known to surprise me!
ETA: The real problem with the Ploughman’s Lunch was that my debaters would keep wandering over to snag a piece of salami or cheese. Pretty soon there were a half-dozen students sniping my lunch. I finally started making them contribute to the daily spread by bringing good fruits, or a Caprese salad, or something like that. Was nice while it lasted.

Hmm. Hummus and carrots…

I make Hot Italian Beef once in a while. It’s easy to pre-prepare and making the sandwich itself is pretty easy too. Though you will need a Microwave at work.

2-lbs pre-sliced sandwich roast beef from the deli.
4-Bell Peppers. A Red, green, yellow and orange.
1-Can Cambells French Onion soup.
1-Can Beef broth.
Handfull of sliced pickled jalapenos, depending on how hot you like it.

Slice peppers into strips. And briefly sauté to soften them up in a large skillet.
Dump soup and broth over peppers and let it start to simmer. Alternatively, you can use two cans of French onion.
Take the whole hunk of beef and slice it into about ¼ inch strips. Pull it apart and separate it.
Put the beef in the skillet with the peppers and soups.
Add jalapenos, and the some juice from the jalapeno jar to you desired amount of zip.
Let it simmer a bit.

This mixture will make a good 10 sandwiches.

Now, so you don’t end up with a soggy mess, you do need to take the beef mixture separate from the bread in a Tupperware to work. Then assemble at work (through it on a hoagie roll).

This goes real good with a slice of Swiss cheese.

Guess what I’m having for lunch? :smiley:

Nice deli meats/cheeses: easy, nutritious, tasty but not necessarily inexpensive. Takes 2 minutes to grab bread, grab slices of meat / cheese from package, spritz on mustard or whatever, and slide into a plastic bag.

Leftovers from dinner: easy (well, in the morning; there is presumably effort in cooking the night before), nutritious (presumably), tasty (hopefully), and the expense is a factor of the ingredients.

Canned soup: easy (you grab the can from the pantry), nutritious (except for the sodium), tasty (choose whatever flavor your like), inexpensive especially if bought on sale

Frozen meals: Easy, nutritious if you choose the right thing, tasty (er, debatable but there are some decent ones), and cheaper than a restaurant meal - I watch for them to go on sale, sometimes 50% off, and stock up the freezer.

“Easy” is the one non-negotiable thing with me, as you can guess!

IMHO, pimento cheese makes an excellent sandwich, especially toasted.

Do you make your own dinner? Because you could always make yourself a little extra and package it up to take to work the next day (or the day after if you don’t want to eat the same thing again so soon - though it doesn’t sound like you’d have much of a problem with that). Just get the container(s) out of the fridge and take 'em with you.

Heh. Can’t do that – dinner leftovers are earmarked for future dinners. :wink:

(Honest, people, I’m not a total philistine – it’s just easier for me to regard food as “fuel” rather than “potential source of ecstatic satisfaction,” and to run my life accordingly. I think of it as one of the advantages of living alone.)

BLTs. I pack toast in a baggie, mayo in a mini-tupperware, the bacon, lettuce and tomato each in their own baggie, then make them at my desk. Yummy.

Also spaghetti o’s (but get the kind that has the pop top if you don’t have a can opener - I made this mistake once and was hungry all afternoon) are good - bring along a tupperware to nuke it in then when you’re done, pop the lid on it, take it home and rinse it at home.

I love breakfast cereal, but I don’t usually eat breakfast. So sometimes I’ll bring a large bowl of cereal for lunch, maybe with a banana to cut up in it.

Your supermarket’s deli probably has lots of fresh, single-serving stuff available. I went that route for awhile at a previous job.

Welp, you could always go the Lean Cuisine route then (or Healthy Choice or whatever brand is on sale that week - they’re only worth buying if they are on sale). They are a lot tastier than they used to be, you’ll get your vegetables, and the sodium content is actually fine in quite a few of them.

Yeah, the Weight Watchers frozen meals are all quite good. I especially like their lasagne florentine. Hot Pockets are always quick and tasty. One Hot Pocket costs about a buck.

I keep cans of tuna and (high fiber) crackers in my desk and a small jar of mayo in the fridge. For lunches, I usually mix the mayo with the tuna and eat it with crackers. I also bring a cooked vegetable, usually broccoli or kale and finish my meal with an apple. It’s an easy and satisfying lunch.

Before I forget, Banquet makes frozen dinners that I get for $1 a piece - they’re like ALWAYS on sale at Dominick’s and Walmart and such - and by the time I eat them they don’t take long at all to cook as they’ve been “thawing” on my desk since I got there in the morning. Plus it’s everything in one package - all you have to do is bring along a soda and a plastic fork and you’re set.

I ate peanut butter sandwiches all through elementary, jr high and high school until I too burned out. Turkey on wheat is my current go-to sandwich. I think I’m burned out on regular bread now as well. Yesterday, I picked up a store-baked loaf of wheat bread to mix it up a little and was pleased.

Anyway, when I can get the ingredients or find it in a restaurant I love chicken caesar wraps. I use cut up chicken I’ve grilled or I guess the pre-cooked stuff would work. Add in some romaine hearts, caesar dressing and shredded parmesan and you’re done. I just use a regular 12 inch tortilla instead of a wrap ‘cause the wraps are sometimes hard to find at the grocery store. Chick Fil A makes an OK caesar wrap, but I’ve had better.

box of cous cous (I like the garlic and olive oil)
can of chicken
usually needs a bit of oil so you can just put some olive oil in the container you mean to cook it in.

takes around a cup of water, boil or almost boil water in container, add cous cous, then put the chicken on top and let it sit for 5 minutes. makes plenty and its easy as hell.

on a similar note, one can of refried beans, one can of chicken, some salsa and corn chips. just heat and eat.