my college lunchbox.

by Hillary on September 27, 2011

I got a request on Twitter to post about my top healthy school lunches. Lunch is probably the least mentioned meal on the blog – not because I don’t eat lunch – but because it doesn’t strike my fancy as do breakfast and baked goods ;)

As a busy college student, it would be easy to let my nutritious diet lifestyle go by the wayside. With random class schedules, that vary from semester to semester, a ‘square’ mid-day meal isn’t always doable.

Without an insulated lunchbox or cooler, I usually pack a variety of non-perishable items that I think will hold my hunger for the time that I’m on campus. Some days our bodies are hungrier than others – naturally – so I allow my intuitive cues to influence what I pack.

As a lacto-ovo vegetarian, my school snacks include, but aren’t limited to:

homemade granola bars

gluten-free bars, such as: Bumble Bars, Larabars & Pure Bars

sliced raw veggies – apple + carrot is a favorite combo

dried fruit

nut butter/banana/chia seed/honey sandwiches

TIP: keep sliced sandwich bread in the freezer for longer storage; you can make your sandwich on frozen bread and it will be thawed by lunchtime

I will also pack dairy (apple with cheese, Greek yogurt with granola) and hard boiled eggs if I plan to eat them within a couple of hours.

FOOD SAFETY TIP: cold food should be held <41F while hot food should be held >135F

beverages: iced green tea & water

If find myself at home during the lunch hour, I’ll often throw together a salad beast (my new favorite kale black bean salad is lunchbox friendly), a brown rice tortilla/veggie burger wrap, or Green Monster smoothie.

Per my food philosophy, I try to make every meal I eat as colorful as possible.

Being a healthy student does not have to be difficult. If you have questions about my eating habits as a college foodie on the run, please do not hesitate to ask :)

  

What’s in your lunchbox?

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Lauren September 28, 2011 at 2:48 am

Your eats always look so clean and delicious!

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Lauren @ What Lauren Likes September 28, 2011 at 3:55 am

Wow! Your lunchbox actually gave me some ideas for mine! Thanks :)

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Maura K September 28, 2011 at 4:54 am

I’ve been looking for inspiration on what to bring to work for lunch. I’ll definitely use these tips!! Thanks, Hillary!!

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Kristin September 28, 2011 at 6:35 am

LOVE these ideas! Definitely going to start packing some of these for when I’m stuck on campus for hours. Thanks!

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Tessa @ Amazing Asset September 28, 2011 at 6:51 am

These are great snacks!! I always carry around dried fruit, dry cereal and almonds with me, along with a few granola bars. I get nervous about being stuck somewhere without food!

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Allison September 28, 2011 at 9:06 am

I prefer to pack my lunch than worry about finding something to eat out on the run and spending money… Usually I’ll pack: veggies, fruit, some type of protein [yogurt, string cheese, turkey, ham, tuna], chips/ crackers, and something sweet to end on :) Oh, and a power bar for mid-afternoon fuel!

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Danielle September 28, 2011 at 9:20 am

Thanks for answering my tweet, Hillary! This was exactly what I was looking for :)

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Haley @ Health Freak College Girl September 28, 2011 at 12:07 pm

thanks for this post! i will definitely be implementing some of these into my daily routine :)

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Rachel September 28, 2011 at 5:34 pm

ziplock bags and mini tupperwares are my best friends! i love packing lunch/dinner, cuz i usually have to for work. i agree that veggies are great because they keep. sometimes i’ll heat up a frozen wrap and bring that along because i don’t exactly have to worry about it going bad. this is totally weird, but i hardly ever bring apples because i will ONLY eat an apple if it’s cored and in slices, i won’t bite into them (i just hate getting it between my teeth… really weird). i love love love apples, but i just won’t bring them and have to deal with finding a knife to cut them. i think packing snacks is so wise, and you’re so dead on in saying being a college student and eating nutritiously are not mutually exclusive!

thanks for commenting on my site, i’m so glad to have been able to find yours in return!

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Hillary September 28, 2011 at 6:17 pm

I never eat whole apples either… never ;)

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Heather @ Get Healthy with Heather September 29, 2011 at 7:05 am

Great lunch items! Luckily for me, I have access to a fridge at my work so I can bring leftovers for lunch + veggies, yogurts, hard boiled eggs and other snacky items. Sometimes granola bars when I make them, but usually nuts/dried fruit as an easy grab n go snack.

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Chantel September 29, 2011 at 7:54 am

This is so great!
My problem is how do I get it to school? My school bag is full of books and my laptop. It would get smushed in a ziplock bag and I can’t really fit tupperware in there. Any suggestions?

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Hillary September 29, 2011 at 7:58 am

Hmmm… I struggle with the same problem. Yesterday my Greek yogurt leaked in my book bag. Most days I do put my food in a separate bag to avoid such problems. Universities should have lockers :)

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Jen@FoodFamilyFitness September 29, 2011 at 10:23 am

You just gave me some awesome ideas for my kids’ lunchboxes!!! I always make their sandwiches on frozen bread and they are surprised every day how it’s not frozen anymore. I tell them I’m magic ;)

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Becky @ Skinnyfat Girls September 29, 2011 at 10:57 am

This is so important because I think lunch is a giant problem for people trying to adopt a healthy lifestyle. Being at home for breakfast and dinner makes it easy to prepare a healthy meal, but many people don’t take the time to pack a nutritious lunch and end up getting fast food out of convenience or as a last resort. It’s crucial to take the time to prepare a healthy lunch – great tips! :)

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Malia @ Life is Good Girl September 29, 2011 at 11:35 am

Does anyone else think chia seeds taste bitter? Or is it just me? I’ve tried mixing them into yogurt, smoothies and sprinkled on PB sandwiches. I’ve just started taking a “shot” of them then rinsing ‘em down with a gulp of water. Anybody have any suggestions?

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Hillary September 29, 2011 at 3:19 pm

They don’t taste bitter to me.

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Paige @ Running Around Normal October 1, 2011 at 3:21 pm

Mine looks pretty similar, but not as pretty!
And if you asked me in college, it would have been waaayyyy different ;)

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