Need good (and healthy) ideas for packing lunches

As background: MrWhatsit was laid off for pretty much the entirety of my pregnancy, and in his capacity as house-husband, he made me hot breakfast every morning and also packed my lunch. Well, now I’m at home with young Whatsit Jr., and MrWhatsit finally has a full-time job, so I figure it’s my turn to pack the lunches.

Here’s my problem: MrWhatsit does not like fruit. Any fruit. I am aware of how bizarre this is, but that’s just the way he is. Fruit is out. This includes raisins, and most fruit-flavored items. He makes occasional exceptions for orange juice and banana bread, but that’s it. So I can’t pack fruit into his lunch. He also doesn’t like plain yogurt, so that’s out.

I’ve been pretty much packing him a sandwich and some chopped vegetables, but some variety would be nice. He says he doesn’t need anything beyond that, but I would like to throw some surprisingly original items into his lunch bag now and again. Anyone have any good ideas?

Is there a microwave at his work that he can use? If so, leftovers! Always went over big with my ex. Is he picky about the kind of sammiches he eats? If not, you can make them with different kinds of meat and veggies. One of my faves is ham, salami, provolene cheese, roasted red peppers (from a jar) and balsamic vinegar. I’ve seen books with titles like “Brown Bagging…” You might want to check our yer public liberry. Would he eat a big “chopped” salad–kinda like a Cobb salad? Bon Appetit/Gourmet magazine has a website chock full of receipes. Can’t remember the URL, but a Google search should pull it up. Packing lunches can get quite dreary…Good luck. (And don’t forget the chips–the best part of a lunch!)

http://www.allrecipes.com is a great site for finding recipes - you can tell it what ingredients you have on-hand, and it will find recipes that use them - it does shopping lists, etc too.

How about these ideas :

Cold foods:

  1. Pasta Salad. There are lots of yummy pasta salads you can make that you can add yummy veggies to.
  2. Rice salad. You can find tons of recipes for chilled rice salads. Many of these contain nuts and veggies and are quite delicious, filling and nutritious.
  3. Bean salad. There are also lots of recipes for cold bean salads that have yummy veggies in them.
  4. Hummus and raw veggies.
  5. Pita stuffed with hummus / baba ganouj / tabouleh / veggies (any combination of those would be good!)
    Foods that requie reheating:
  6. Pasta. Millions of possibilites here.
  7. Soup. See above.
  8. Beans and rice.
  9. Stuffed baked potato.
  10. Lasagna + a green salad.

I used to be a sandwich-and-a-piece-of-fruit kind of guy but I was getting tired of the sameness of it all.

I also figured out what it really cost to make a bag lunch, ~$2.00 for me daily (lunch meat is deceptively expensive). Plus I had to take the time to asssemble it every day.

I now bring frozen dinners to lunch every day.

If I can get one for less than $2.00 (not too hard), then I’m dollars ahead with more variety & flavor than I usually got when I was making my lunch daily.

I buy when they’re on sale at the supermarket (usually something is on sale weekly), I drag them into the office in bulk, mark them with my initials (important), and I’m set for a week or more.

I supplement with leftovers.

Sandwiches, but different breads, pita bread, bagels, etc. Get lots of different fresh veggies, keep variety.