How to Pack Lunch in 5 Minutes, Plus Healthy Recipes

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Hey, dailySpark readers! My name is Anne and I write a food and fitness blog called fANNEtasticfood.

I started my blog last year as a way to inspire others to lead healthier lives through nutrition and exercise. I post recipes, health tips, training plans, exercise moves, and more! Most recently, I’ve started a series on my blog featuring 5-minute packable lunch and snack ideas for the office. It really doesn’t have to be time consuming or complicated to eat healthy on the go!

Some teasers:

My readers are also following along with me in my adventure to head back to school! After working in offices for 5 years after college, I have finally taken the plunge to follow my dreams and go back to school to become a Registered Dietitian (RD). I am currently finishing prerequisites and will be moving from Washington D.C. to UNC Chapel Hill in August to pursue a Master's of Public Health in Nutrition! I’m so happy to finally be working toward a career that I think will be fulfilling – not just for myself, but also for others.

I’m really excited to be partnering with SparkPeople and sharing some of my favorite recipes on their SparkRecipes site! So far, I have posted the following recipes:

Hummus Guacamole

Cinnamon Raisin Almond Balls

Healthy Whole Wheat Pumpkin Raisin Muffins

Curried Carrot Soup

Pumpkin Bean Dip

Healthy Deviled Eggs

They are all healthy, easy, and very delicious! I hope you’ll come check out my blog for more recipes, health and exercise tips, and fun, and follow along in my adventures as I work toward becoming an RD!

For more great recipes, check out Anne's blog:

Editor's Note: If you're a healthy cooking blogger who wants to share your recipes on SparkRecipes, email editor (at) dailySpark (dot) com.

What is your favorite five-minute lunch?

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ELRIDDICK 1/31/2020
Thanks for sharing Report
Thanks for sharing! Report
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Kirkland multi grain round with sliced cheese, tomato, lettuce, horseradish, a cup of black bean soup and apple pieces. Or instead of cheese, humus and no horseradish.
For snack I pack plain yogurt, Mountain high low fat doesn't need added sweetening,1/4 cup of granola.
A different snack is a hard boiled egg and a flax meal muffin. (used recipe on Bob's Red Mill Flax Meal pkg.
Also take a baggie of cut up carrots and radishes.

I love the control you get from packing your lunch. You just can't be sure of convenience or fast food. Report
My new favorite lunch is a roast beef lettuce wrap add some tomato and you have a sandwich minus bread. Add your favorite fruit some baby carotts and you got lunch! Report
Every Sunday I prepare my Veggie "shop" and wash and dry my spinach leaves and romaine, cook my chicken breasts and salmon filets. Then every AM I build a salad with a little of this a little of that, different every day. I had not thought of using beans and salsa! Monday for lunch its Fiesta time! Report
I fill a big 'fridge container from a bag of prepackaged salad greens, take a package of water pack tuna and add Walton Farms French dressing from my stash in the office 'fridge. Hearty, filling and delicious. I do this most days, sometimes adding grape tomatoes, sliced cucumbers or shredded carrots if I have them handy. Leftover chicken, ham or roast beef, even grated cheese and.or hard-cooked eggs can substitute for the tuna, and I keep ranch dressing at the office, too. Takes more like three minutes than five to pack this one. Report
Whole wheat pita pocket with chicken, veggies and hummus. Report
I too pack leftovers, unless it was something that was not exactly on healthy side. Sometimes I feel it best not to have the leftovers that are high in cal's and fat. I prepare those for my husband and family. There are less of those types of meals in the refrig. every week because I am trying to wean my husband off from the high in fat foods. I will be reading more of your recipes and ideas...thank you for the recipes and advice. Report
some yummy ideas. And hubby just started college this week so diffidently will help in making him lunches to go. Plus I like some of the recipes my self. Can't wait to try them all. Report
Yummy. I like to make some extra chicken breasts and salmon so that I have leftovers to take with me during the week. Eating out is expensive and it's hard for me to stay on track when I do...I get too tempted. Report
Thanks so much for this entry. I now have some great new recipes and a new blog to read! :) Report
My favourite 5-minute lunches? Left-overs. Whatever I have, I just pack up the night before and voila, all I gotta do is grab-and-go. A huge plus when you're leaving home at 5:45 a.m.! And yes, quick salads get in there, too.
This girl is AWESOME!! I'm totally a fan :) Report
Thank You Report
I love veggies and dip, or lot's of times I eat scrambled eggs with a bit of sliced tomatoes, or a can of salmon or tuna. Report
My favorite lunch? An Arnold sandwich Thin with garlic hummus, sliced tomato, and fresh baby spinach. Add a yogurt & some almonds, and I'm good to go! (I don't pack my lunch- retired- but have this most days anyway. Report
Thank you for your tips and recipes. CONGRATULATION FOR YOU DEDICATION TO HELP US TO HAVE A HEALTHY CHOICE. Thank you! Report
Love your blog! And congrats on getting into UNC... I live in Chapel Hill and it's a great place to be! Report
I loved this post. Very similar to how I prepare my lunches. I was feeling lazy the other night when I read this post. After I logged off, I went to the kitchen and prepared my lunch and dinner for my double the next day! Thanks SP! Report
Love the tip on avocado storage! Report
Thanks for all the great ideas and recipes Report
Those salads look yummy.... I will be stocking my fridge this weekend! Report
I've gone the easy route - every Monday I stock my fridge in my office with whole wheat or oatmeal pitas, sliced chicken or turkey, baby carrots, fruit, and low-fat cheeses. I also have refillable water bottles, which I refill as needed.

That way, I'm set for lunch and an afternoon snack, and I don't need to think about it. Report
Your approach is easy and fun. For the last year, I've been making a big pot of soup about once a week and taking a portion each day. I add a fruit and a handful of almonds, and I'm good to go. On a good day, that's less than 5 minutes. Report
It takes me about 30 seconds to pack my lunch. A yogurt, can of Progresso, a apple and a orange. I throw all that together while waiting for my whole wheat double fiber english muffin to toast. Report
Wow, all y'all are MAKING lunch. For the last 20 yrs, I make extra for dinner, pack the leftovers in lunch sized containers, and grab one of those, and some fruit for lunch. If it takes me 5 min, its cause I think I better cut some bread to add to my husband's. But I'll try some of these recipes for dinner! Report
My favorite five-minute lunch is to mix up some veggies I have pre-cut with some hummus, wrapping it up in a light flatbread and having some Food Should Taste Good chips on the side. So tasty and so filling! Report
Every weekend I make a huge salad and keep it in the fridge. Then, when I'm packing my lunch I only have to grab a few handfuls of the salad, throw it in a small Gladware. I scoop a couple tablespoons of shredded lowfat cheese onto the salad and a couple tablespoons of lite Italian salad dressing - on goes the cover! Then I scrounge for leftovers. I often make a stew or soup on the weekend that I can store in 1 c. Tupperware containers and freeze. If I run out of leftovers in the fridge, I can defrost a container of stew before lunchtime at work. This week, I am having my turkey chickpea chili with my salad. I also love those sandwich thins, on which I'll add a teaspoon of yellow mustard, a couple pieces of leftover boneless chicken breast, some greens, and maybe a slice of cheese. I will also measure out 1 oz. of raw almonds, walnuts, and cashews into a baggie, and wash a tart Granny Smith apple for my snacks. I also like Snyder's of Hanover Old Tyme pretzels: I'll put three in a snack baggie (that's one serving; 1 oz.). That pretty much sums up my daily lunch. I don't buy from our work cafeteria, and I don't leave work to buy my lunch. I love having fresh food from the fridge every day! Report
Love your blog, Anne! I can use all the motivation I can get to pack lunch (and breakfast and a snack) for work, and you've supplied that today. So glad we'll be seeing more of you here! Report
Thanks for the recipes and the tip on the avacado slicing. Yummy looking salad! Report
Glad I read it even if it was only for the tip about slicing avocados in their skins! I have half an avocado every day, and it's always the last thing I pack because of the mess.

Wouldn't dare eat as many calories as in that lunchbox though ... Report
I loved it.. it sounds so simple and easy.. i wood definately do it.


Sonea Mudgal Report
My FAVorite lunch is Sabra Hummus which I can buy in 2 oz containers at Costco. I wash and barely peel English Cucumber (which is usually about 2 feet long, so I slash it in half and wash then eat it at work), sliced fresh crunchy sassy red pepper, campari tomatos and Uncle Crackers Pumpkin seed flat bread....very refreshing and feels good to eat! I then end lunch with a Pink Lady or HoneyCrisp apple and 2 dark Dove Chocolates that I let melt in my mouth....When you have the same thing everyday, it is easier to shop for, and then easier to pack. Report
I always try to pack a lunch (though I haven't got it down to 5 minutes yet), but am glad to get some ideas for branching out as I usually take the same thing most days. Report
wow, her lunches and recipes look so yummy!! Report
I pack a lunch every day and am already adding items to my grocery list. YUMMY.
Thanks so much for the great ideas. Report
I'm so glad everyone is enjoying my post! Thank you for all the great comments :) Report
The recipes sound good!

When I was still working, I always made my lunch the night before. Report
I already do pretty much the same thing, 'cept I like to wrap it all up in a whole wheat pita. I'm not much of a salsa person on my salads, but pica de gallo and black beans over spinach is just divine. Report
Thanks for the awsome recipes! I can't wait to try some of them. Report
That was simple enough. I'm not so sure about the black beans on top, but I'm sure the salsa will make it delicious anyway. Thanks for your wonderful 5 minute lunch idea. I will have to give it a try. Report
I tend to pack my lunch the night before because I'm not my brightest/sharpest in the morning. If I have to think about packing a lunch in the A.M., it won't get done. Love the ideas though, and they will translate well to pre-packing. Thanks! Report
PB&J on honey wheat bread, a bottle of 1%milk & a dannon light & fit yogurt. Easy peasy. Report
Already saved a couple of recipes. They look fantastic. Thanks for sharing.

Good luck on going back to school. Will be following your progress on your site.
I pack a lunch everyday I work. Since I can't leave the office for lunch, I don't really have much of an option- pack a lunch or I don't eat for 8-10+ hours. And since I typically start work at 6am! I'm definitely not going to spend a lot of time doing it. I almost never have to spend time making my lunch though, it's easy. Well, one thing that helps me is I have a small cooler (looks like a mini-backpack) as my lunch box instead of a normal sized one! I cannot fit enough in the normal size lunch box (I don't want to wake up any earlier than the 4:30am I already do so I don't eat breakfast until I've gotten to work either.)

Some things that help me- having containers! I mean, if you don't have containers to put all sorts of stuff in, making a lunch will be hard.
Pb&J takes only a few minutes to make, and the thing is- when I decide to bring one for lunch, that is the longest I ever take making my lunch in the morning!
I get those small containers of fruit at the store and throw a couple in my lunch box. You can also get single serving microwavable brown rice, frozen veggies at the store.
For salads, I don't like complicated salads, but what I do is everything is ready for me in the morning. When I buy spinach at the store, the firs time I open the bag for a salad the entire bag is divided up into my glad lunch containers and put back in the fridge. So for work in the morning I just grab a container of salad. In make sure I have my salad toppings, like I love sunflower seeds, also measured out into baggies already. Just grab a container of spinach, grab baggies of topping and I usually just toss the whole container of dressing in my lunch instead of putting it in an individual serving size container (this is why having a big enough lunch is important for me!
Similarly when I make something like pasta, all the leftovers go in containers.
Putting some nuts in a zip-loc baggie doesn't take long.
Heck, even something like oatmeal is fairly easy! Just make sure you have a container safe for liquid and microwave safe, I put the oatmeal and milk in it and take it to work and microwave it when I'm ready to eat. Measuring and pouring takes only a minute!
At this point I don't really put a lot of thought into it, it doesn't occur to me that packing a lunch would take too long. For one I have to, but I'm also used to it enough that getting it done fast is normal to me.
And then you have the just grab and go fruits like apples, bananas, oranges/clementines/et cetera. I started a fruit basket on my counter that helps- it's right there in front of my to just grab and toss in the bag (though I occasionally look weird carrying my banana(s) separate so they don't get bruised or anything). Report
I very much enjoyed and appreciated your recipes...will be stopping by your blog on a regular basis. The "Mexican-ish" salad looks like a healthy version of Chipotle's Veggie Burrito of my favorite's, but high in sodium. I frequently make my own. Best wishes for your continuing education/career goals! Report
Can't wait to try the guacamole! I always pack my luch the night before. I'm always in a rush in the morning and doing it the night before saves me time. Otherwise I'll pack convience foods *cringe* Report
The hummus guacamole recipe sounds awesome! Thanks! Report