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making office snacks

For diet and money reasons I've been taking my lunch to work. But for time reasons the only lunch i can seem to manage is soup, because i can make it over the weekend. I can't even manage a sandwich in the morning--i intend to and after many intentions i've learned it just doesn't happen. Often the soups are just shy of making me full. even the hearty ones--there's only so much of it you can eat in one go. I then always have a piece of whole fruit.

Problem comes around 3-4 when I am STARVING. which leads to raiding the free chocolate bowl which still doesn't do the trick because I'm actually hungry. More fruit doesn't cut it. I need something cliff-bar like, something with substance and a bit of protien. I've seen posts refering to hummus and peanut butter--there's some possibilities in there but i also like the idea of making something over the weekend for this purpose. something easily self-contained. I don't trust myself with an open peanut butter jar in the drawer.

the only AM effort involved has to be remembering to put it in the bag, though i will happily do something that's lots of effort on the weekends, perhaps even weeknights if its good. It has to be reasonably healthy.

Thanks for any ideas!!

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  1. Prep is everything when you want to take healthy and substantial food to work. Take advantage of the weekend and spend a couple of hours making sure you have easy to grag food for the rest of the week.

    I, too, love soups. I'll make a pot of lentil or chicken soup and bring a container to work. But, like you said, sometimes, it's just not enough. If you have access to a refrigerator, you're lucky because you can readily have stuff on hand. If not, but a good, insulated lunch sack and some blue ice and keep your food supply readily at your workstation.

    Burritos are good for breakfast, lunch or an afternoon snack. I make breakfast burritos with eggs, potatoes, sausage and cheese. I use the "soft taco" size so they are a reasonable portion (six scrambled eggs will make eight burritos), use whole wheat tortillas, wrap them in foil and pop them in the freezer. As I'm running out the door, I can grab one, throw it in my bag and when I get to work 1-2 mins in the microwave and I have a hot and satisfying breakfast that holds me until lunch.

    You can vary the fillings to make them a satisfying lunch, or a light snack for that 3:00 need. Use chicken, rice, refried beans, cheese, tomatoes, vegetables or any combination. Takes about an hour on a Sunday, lable them and toss them in the freezer and your ready to go for the week.

    Don't discount peanut butter because you don't want the jar in your drawer. Keep the jar at home and portion out daily rations into small containers. Peanut butter with crackers, celery or carrots will give you a dose of protein, help you with the hunger pangs and still keep you on a heathly eating regime.

    Same with hummus. Portion it out at home and have it handy in the refridgerator. Put pita chips or vegetables in zip locks so you can grab and go. Same with cheese... slice and prepackage for the week ahead.

    I also like to have mixed nuts, whole grain crackers, dried fruits, petzels, rice cakes, etc. I keep them in my overhead in my cube, but if you think that's too tempting, keep the "source" at home and just take your daily portions.

    It does take a little bit of planning on the weekends, but you can prepare yourself so you are armed with healthy, high protein, hunger fighting snacks that will get you through the week.

    good luck!

    2 Replies
    1. re: janetms383

      Thought of a couple more....
      I like to make meat & cheese roll-ups. I'll take a slice of swiss and a slice of ham, or a slice of provolone and a slice of genoa salami, or a slice of cheddar and a slice of smoked turkey..... roll them up, 2 to a snack sized zip lock and they are ready to grab and go.

      Also, tuna or chicken salad. Prepare and put in small containers. Have some lettuce leaves cleaned, wrapped in a damp paper towel and packaged in a sandwich sized zip lock. Then you have a quick lettuce wrap to go!

      1. re: janetms383

        running with janet's suggestion for breakfast burritos, you can also whip up a batch of your favorite omelet or egg scramble (using eggs or liquid egg substitute and your favorite veggies/filling), pour into muffin tins, bake, cool, wrap individually, and refrigerate or freeze. a quick zap in the microwave gets you a filling, nutritious snack.

        i know others have already suggested oatmeal, but it bears repeating. you can also stir in a little protein powder (after heating) or nut butter for more balanced nutrition.

        i'm also a fan of string cheese with a piece of fruit.

        if you like cottage cheese, you can keep some in the office fridge (either a larger container or the single-serve containers). top it with a handful of cereal, granola, dried fruit or nuts, and you're set.

        oh, and jerky, though high in sodium, is a convenient & shelf-stable protein source.

      2. Here's a link to a current discussion on granola. Some of the recipes have wheat germ for extra protein and there's at least one with peanut butter.

        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/602616

        1. I keep a box of oatmeal in my drawer at work (and a deep bowl) - mix with milk from the vending machine and a banana, and it does the trick. Sometimes, I pack cereal, fruit, and yogurt (separately). On the savory side, in addition to hummus, cheese, nuts, crudites, I like hard-boiled eggs, and any leftovers in smaller portions.

          1 Reply
          1. re: jeni1002

            I have a stash of oatmeal, too, and I recently added those single-serving packs of All-Bran. Mixed with yogurt and fruit (kept in the office fridge), it makes a healthy, tasty and quick parfait.

          2. A co-worker and I love to buy Walgreen's lightly salted almonds when they are on sale for $2.50 per can...if you love almonds, you might keep some in your drawer; they last a pretty long time! I've tried keeping plain almonds--and realize I just hate them totally unsalted, so the lightly salted ones are for me! They make a very good snack at 4 p.m. BUT you have to keep your portion to snack size, that being 20 almonds (supposedly) I personally can't eat that many--6 to 10 does it for me! The possible down side to the granola bars is sugar...they all have either sugar or honey and therein lie the calories.

            1. When I was doing the South Beach Diet, I had to bring snacks, and the diet encourages snacks.
              A bag of peanuts in the shell is good.
              Cut up celery and carrots and put them in a bag in the refrigerator the night before. Take a container of hummus with you.
              For another snack, the packaged mozzarella logs ("string cheese") are good -- I like Organic Valley. Protein will keep you full without the sugar highs and lows that make one head for the bowl of chocolate, which only leaves you hungry.

              1 Reply
              1. re: NYchowcook

                Another thing I do with carrots and celery is make them into bite sized pieces (I actually buy the peeled baby carrots at the store because I'm lazy sometimes), and put them in a jar, dump dressing over the top (no reason you can't use a non fat dressing). Keep that in the fridge. The veggies keep for weeks in the dressing and get marinated. I spoon them out in the afternoon for a nice light snack.