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Need help with lunch ideas (in a sandwich rut)

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

Besides being tired of sandwiches all the time.  I am trying to cut back on bread and crackers and other refined carbs.  I am at a standstill with my weightloss and think this might help.  I am not going no/low carb just a bit less than I eat now because well,  I am a bit of a carb junkie so this should be good for me.  I need to eat more veggies as do my daughters.  So I need some ideas to get myself and my daughters out of the PB&J and other sandwiches rut.  Thanks in advance for any ideas or recipes you have to share.

post #2 of 12

It is a great time of year for soups (well, where I am anyway).  I always eat leftovers from dinner for lunch, but DS wants PBJ every day and I'm trying to get him away from having so much of it since I don't think it is the greatest thing nutrition wise.  He'll eat soups with me so that is what we are doing this winter.  Not sure what we'll do about spring and summer though.  We'll see!

post #3 of 12

Soup is great as it can really fill you up and you can get a lot more servings of veggies in soup than you would just eating a bowl of them. Serve it with homemade flax seed/whole wheat rolls or bread and you have a low calorie, nutrient dense lunch


A really good soup base is the WW "zero point" recipe.  Here is a link to the Mexican version that has been tweaked with.




Here is the original recipe:




From this base you can make endless variations-add chicken or beef. Add shrimp or codfish. Add sliced sausages or meatballs.  Mix up the veggies- added pureed butternut squash, cauliflower, spinach. 

post #4 of 12

Also as another poster said leftovers!  I make leftovers with lunch in mind.


A roast chicken can become chicken wraps, chicken caeser salad, chicken and rice soup.


A grilled steak can become Thai steak salad, steak and cheese grilled sandwiches.


Pasta with meatballs can become spaghetti pie or meatball subs.






post #5 of 12

I was looking for new lunch ideas last night for dh's lunches. Some things other than sandwiches I came up with was leftovers or soups, chef salad or other different salads, fajitas, tuna salad, chicken salad, and these are sandwiches but  also pulled pork, sloppy joes and club sandwiches. 

post #6 of 12

Great ideas! I'm stealing them ALL, as all of the girls in my daughter's kindergarten class have decided as a group that they will no longer accept sandwiches for lunch. I'm not generally a person who loves to take orders, but I dislike wasting food more, so we've flipped.   =)


We do lots of hummus and veggies (I have to portion the hummus at home or I'll eat the entire thing at once, yummy!), pasta salad, etc. It's also fun to slice cored apples in half and stick them back together with almond butter. If you're super motivated, this is cute if you use two apples of different colors and cut more horizontal slices. It makes a stripey, protein-y mess that my kids love. I roll the finished product in raisins, chopped dates or that Koala brown rice cereal.


I do the Paleo...mostly...so for me at home, I just hard boil a dozen eggs at the beginning of the week and chop up a couple of bell peppers and a head of broccoli when I get back from grocery shopping to toss over salad greens with grape tomatoes and olives. That's an amazing lunch and it's super easy to throw together in three minutes. My poor husband just gets leftovers that I portion out when I'm serving dinner. He hasn't complained yet (because he knows he'll end up with Goldfish and a pbj haha). =)

post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 

Great!  Thank you for all the ideas.  I am making a list of lunch ideas to pull from when I am making the grocery list.  I'll gladly add more to my list if anyone thinks of anything else.  We have tried some soups but they end up mainly for me, my girls don't seem to like soup very much.  We have also recently done bean and cheese quesadillas. 

post #8 of 12

Inspired by a Mothering article a while back, I've really fallen in love with bento (which you can look up all over the internet).  Basically, it's lunches inspired by the style of Japanese mothers, with a big emphasis on presentation and bite-sized morsels of really enticing food, rather than huge quantities of it.


Two things:

 1- Real bento is pretty carb-intensive, with the sticky (high-gluten) rice.  (There's an accepted formula for how many parts rice v. how many parts veggie, protein and "treat" and the rice component is much larger than any of the others.)  But it doesn't have to be.  It's all about creativity.  Cut pieces of chicken from last night's dinner, different-colored fruit, a carrot, celery (whatever) into different shapes and arrange them in a Tupperware container to look like a face.  Or a Christmas tree.  Or buy cute, multi-compartment containers that fit in (or replace) a lunch box and fill each little space with a different type of food:  deli meat slices rolled up and turned on their side, to look like flowers; thin-cut carrots arranged the same way; cheese slices cut into shapes with mini cookie-cutters; strawberry slices trimmed into hearts...  If you do use rice, add some food coloring to the water.  There's no reason it can't be purple or blue!  Sushi rolls are also very easy to make (just make sure you use sushi rice, not long-grain!)  I teach preschool and I find most young kids will try anything you put in a sushi roll.  Your kids may be willing to try new things (esp. colorful veggies), if they're presented in a fun way and if you're only offering them small portions (less overwhelming). 


2- Depending how much time you're willing to devote to bento, you can go wild.  You can find suggestions online for how to make apple slices or strawberries look like mice; you can buy little molds to shape hard-boiled eggs into 3-dimensional animals; and you can turn a mini-sausage into a karate octopus with a snippet of seaweed-wrap for a headband and little mustard facial features.  Evidently, the average Japanese mother spends hours on this - every day!  But it doesn't have to be that complex.  Just presenting a variety of healthy foods, in an appealing array of colors, in easy-to-eat sizes, in satisfyingly cute little separate compartments can make an otherwise plain, modestly-sized lunch seem appealing.


Good luck!

post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thanks, I am going to google bento after this.  I have seen something that I think is similar although was called something else.  Moms use a mini muffin tin (the silicone ones) with either 6 or 12 muffin "compartments" and fill each one with a little bit of a different food.  Same idea but without the fancier presentation although that could be incorporated.  I think I'll give it a try, thanks! 

post #10 of 12

Have you seen the planet box?  It's just an interesting design of lunchbox that I find helps me think "outside the sandwich" as it were.  Of course, if you don't really need a lunchbox, it is a little expensive to contemplate...  planetbox.com

post #11 of 12

I too have been trying to cut more carbs out of my diet, and so for lunches I have been trying to eat more soups and salads.  One great tip that I learned is to use red wine vinegar on my salads instead of salad dressing.  Pretty delicious, and 0 weight watcher points.

post #12 of 12
Soups! I make large quantities of soup for dinners and portion the leftovers in lunch size containers for DH to take to work or for me to open here at home.

Salads- throw in some diced up chicken, chopped veggies, cheese squares, croutons or crumbled crackers...

Wraps- fewer carbs

Do a veggie and dip day- make hummus, black bean dip and guac then have veggie slices and maybe some crackers for dipping.

And, any dinner leftovers!
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