bento lunchOh office lunch. Why aren't you more delicious? I try to bring my lunch to work every day. That's because buying lunch in Midtown Manhattan can run you around 10 dollars. I did the math on what that would cost me per month and then I had my memory erased because the number was so horrific. (No, not really, but it's way too much.)

So what to pack for lunch that's not boring? I'll often just pack leftovers from dinner, but on days when there are no leftovers, I draw a blank. And a blank mind first thing in the morning is not going to get you fed a lunchtime. That's why I came up with this handy list of packed lunch ideas.

Okay, I'm assuming you know how to make a sandwich and would like a little variety every now and then. I'm a fan of hard boiled eggs, too.

Can of fish with crackers and fruit. I've been buying these cute little individual-serving sized tins of smoked mackerel. But if that sounds too like a lunch puttin' on airs, you could just get those cans of tuna with the pull-top. I pack my favorite whole-grain crackers to go with, and then I'll have an apple or orange.

Pizza roll-ups. This is a fun take on the wrap. Spread a tortilla with pasta or pizza sauce and then add a thin layer of spinach leaves and thin-sliced mozzarella. Roll up and cut into smaller pieces. 

Peanut butter and banana. I saw Julia eat this on an episode of Smash a couple weeks ago. Maybe you have space at your desk to keep a little jar of peanut butter? Bring a banana and spread that peanut butter on it. Must have with milk (or rice milk or whatever you drink).

Hummus or Greek yogurt and veggies. I feel like I've eaten too much hummus in my lifetime. But every once in a while, I'll still have this. Bring a cup of hummus and some veggies (baby carrots, sugar snap peas, cherry tomatoes) to dip. And if you're sick of hummus try the same thing with some thick, rich Greek yogurt.

Quinoa salad. This is what I had for lunch today. I happened to have some quinoa already cooked, plus some salad. I threw them together and added some salad dressing. It was great.

Bean dip. I think cold beans in a salad tend to be a little bland and starchy. Instead, puree some canned white beans with a little garlic and olive oil over the weekend. Bring pita, crackers, or toast and veggies to dip.

What are your best packed lunch ideas?

 

Image via Michelle Morgan/Flickr