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What is a great nutritious filling lunch that I can cook/pack ahead of time for my husband?

I usually try to make a batch of lunch on sunday that can last until wednesday and need more ideas for variation. I don't want to make a sandwich as I'd have to put together the morning of and he is up around 5 am, way before me. I made falafals a few times which were very healthy and easy - I made them in batches ahead of time and put them in containers for him to take. I need new ideas now though.

Any thoughts? He doesn't have access to a microwave so it would have to taste good room temperature too.

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  1. Lasagna; teriyaki chicken, pork, or beef and musubi; enchiladas; tamales; roast chicken and a good bread; a hearty pasta salad; bierocks; empanadas; a green salad with cheeses, egg, sausage and the dressing packed separately ...

    3 Replies
    1. re: Sam Fujisaka

      actually he just told me they got a microwave so he can warm food up.

      Anyone have any good pasta salad recipes in mind?

      1. re: cups123

        Yes, indeedy...epicurious' Orzo with Everything OR Ina Garten's Orzo with Roasted Vegetables, both are fabulous.

        1. re: Val

          Add some roasted shrimp in with the roasted vegies, yum!

    2. Pasta salad is a good idea but maybe save it for the summer. Since he has access to a microwave, warm things like soup (lentil, minestrone, creamy tomato with whole wheat elbows), chicken stew (like pot pie without the crust), a baked sweet potato with salt and Tex-Mex spices and a couple of lime wedges to squeeze over after reheating, stuffed cabbages (use ground chicken or turkey if you don't want beef, and sub another grain for the rice), salmon loaf with tomato sauce, soft polenta topped with mixed mushroom stew and some Parmesan curls to put on after reheating.

      1. Once tomatoes are in season, a nice tomato stuffed with chicken salad, tuna salad, or a grain-based salad, in a cheapy container like Gladware., with some crisp crackers on the side.

        Slices of cheese and.or salami or other dry meat coldcut, along with carrot and celery sticks, crackers.

        Sliced cheese and an apple with crackers.

        Hard-cooked egg, carrot&celery sticks and yes, crackers.

        1. Bean and/or cheese quesadillas, corn salsa, tomato salsa, slices of avocado, brown rice pilaf - with the exception of the avocado slices and addition of greek yogurt (my sub for sour cream). It can all be made days in advance and served hot or cold. Also great are lentils, rice, and cucumber/yogurt salad. Bean salad served with a green salad (dressing in a small container, hearty bread and cheese. Beans of any description are filling and nutritious and can be prepared in a vast variety of flavors/culture. Or a plowman's lunch of cheese, bread, hardboiled eggs, chutney and pickles. Garbanzo salads are great as are chickpea flour pancakes as a protein rice 'bread'. Just add fruits and it's a complete meal.
          I avoid meats and dairy when packing lunches since I don't know how they will be stored.

          Suggest you google "bento" boxes and look for Americanized lunches - there are some great ideas for variety and sizes to serve.

          1. Goulash with egg noodles
            Spicy beef stew
            Chow mein

            Last week I alternated between tupperwares of callos with habaƱero peppers and soup of beef shank through Thursday without getting bored once.

            1. Why don's you try using leftovers from the dinner the night before?

              Have your thought of getting a roasted chix from Costco and slicing it up for lunch.

              COOL GEAR makes a plastic container that has a freezer lid to keep things cold before you eat it.

              You could pack a container with all kinds of stuff and have tortillas on the side and hubby can assemble a burrito and cook it in the micro.

              Overall, I hate to ask the dumb question, but what does he like?

              1. Frozen tuna salad on rye. He takes it from the freezer at 5-6 A.M.. By lunch time it is thawed and still icy cold which is IMHO the best way to enjoy tuna salad. Make a big batch on Sunday.

                1. If he likes sandwiches, you could make a braided bread--fill dough w/ various cold cuts, cheese, braid and bake. Just cut the right size pieces for lunch. Or, maybe he could do it. I think leftovers, as normalheightsfoodie said, are a great way to go.

                  1. I bring my lunch every day, and in the winter I make a batch of soup on Sunday night and put it in single serve containers that I heat in the microwave at work. Lately I have done butternut squash, split pea, tomato, chicken and rice, and a butternut squash/tomato combo.
                    I leave the house at 6 am, so all I have to do is grab a container of soup and a yogurt out of the fridge and put it in my lunchbox which I prepared the night before with several pieces of fruit and my spoon.

                    1. Chili! Try the turkey and white bean chili from Epicurious.

                      I agree on the pasta salad, you can make it hearty with grilled or shredded chicken - like cold pasta with pesto and chicken.

                      I'm a big fan of turkey sausage, it's healthy, tasty and keeps well. You can make an easy pasta sauce with some italian turkey sausage, we do that often and it tastes even better the next day, or maybe cook up some turkey sausage and peppers and send him with a container of that and a whole-wheat hot dog bun.

                      Now I feel a little inadequate . . . I haven't cooked up a big pot of something on a Sunday for a while . . .

                      1. My husband like a sandwich made out of big loaf of french bread or dutch crust bread...I make a big dagwood and we slice it into 5 "sandwiches" . He also takes salad and dressing.

                        1. Mr GG is tucking into butterbeans with sweet chilli sauce for his lunch today (Ottolenghi recipes, with added leftover broccoli).


                          I am having a pinto bean, black bean and chorizo soup. I heartily recommend those insulated food flasks that you can get. You can put them in the microwave and the outside stays cool so you don't burn your hands.


                          1. i kind of cook the same way, i make a big batch of stuff which i'll then throughout the week. i tend to stick more toward stews, as they keep and travel well and are easy to reheat, especially in those semi-disposable ziploc/gladware containers. if your husband is like me he'll probably lose them on occasion, so it helps that they're not too expensive.

                            i'm currently working my way through the different stew recipes in the new Rick Bayless "Everyday Mexican" cookbook. they're very simple and healthy and so far have been DELICIOUS! the pork in tomatillo sauce with white beans is especially good. you should check it out!

                            1. i like to make a big batch of pasta primavera for lunches. I use whatever veggies I have around, do a quick saute with evoo, garlic, oregano, basil, add some whole wheat pasta and cheese.

                              1. Ratatouille. That's what I am having this week. I also bring a small piece of bread or crackers and cheese plus a peach or fruit salad.