Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Help! There's Nothing to Pack for Lunch

Sometimes, planning ahead doesn't happen. [See the entire last week.] But if you have a moderately well-stocked pantry, you can probably pull something out for lunch. Especially if you consider some often-overlooked foods for lunch. Most of these foods won't make anyone's top-ten list, but they're better than skipping lunch or hitting the vending machine.

Many frozen fruits and vegetables are great for packed lunches. They often don't even need to be heated up. Just toss them in a container and they'll have defrosted by lunch. For fruits, mango and berries do especially well. For vegetables, peas, corn, edamame, and green beans are my favorites. If you have time and motivation, make a compound butter or vinaigrette to go with the vegetables or whip up a smoothie.

Have a can of beans? Blend it together with some oil and whatever herbs you have handy. Even better with some garlic or green onions. Or skip the blender and marinate the beans in your favorite salad dressing. Canned beans mashed with salad dressing makes a great sandwich spread.

Have a can of refried beans? Mix it with canned tomatoes, rotel, or salsa for a great bean dip or puree. For bonus points, add cumin and a bit of chili powder.

Have dry oatmeal? Throw it in a tupperware with plant milk or water and whatever you can scrounge up (consider frozen fruit, jam, dried fruit, nut butter, flax, or nuts). Not into sweet? Make savory oats instead (I like soy sauce, ginger, green onions, and hot sauce in my oatmeal). If you have access to a microwave at work, wait until lunch to cook. Best to use a large container for this and watch closely, as oatmeal can expand and overflow the container as it cooks.

Consider often-overlooked ingredients to round out your meal. Sun-dried tomatoes, pickles, olives, crystalized ginger, nori, and miso are usually in the back of my cabinets or fridge.

This last suggestion is a favorite of mine: soup in a bag. [Note: if Sandra Lee makes you pull out your hair, now is probably a good time to go visit someone else's blog.]

Soup in a Bag
ziplock bag*
frozen vegetables (peas, corn, or vegetable mix)
couscous, broken up angel hair pasta, or fideo noodles (uncooked)**
garlic powder
ginger powder
vegetarian bouillon powder/cube

Add a handful of vegetables to the bag. Add 1 tablespoon couscous or a handful of noodles. Shake a bit of garlic and ginger powder into the bag as well and finish it off with bouillon powder or a bouillon cube.

At lunch time, heat water. Dump the contents of the bag into a mug or bowl. Pour the hot (boiling is best, but not necessary) water over the soup ingredients. Wait 5 minutes for the pasta to absorb water. Stir and enjoy.

*There's no reason not to put the ingredients straight into a microwave-safe tupperware, but I find that mornings where there's no lunch food in the house are also mornings where there aren't any clean tupperware containers.
**You want noodles that will cook in 3-5 minutes. Anything longer (like regular spaghetti), and they won't soften with just boiling water.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!


Sorry for the absence, folks. I had a wee cold, and I was too busy sneezing, hacking, and whining to post pictures of the questionably-nutritious, questionably-food stuff that I was eating.

But I did manage to make the lovely gem above for Thanksgiving. And a pumpkin pie. And gravy (no recipe).

I'm pretty sure this is a keeper for Thanksgivings to come. It's pretty, easy to make, tastes great, reheats well, and makes a wonderful leftover sandwich. A hit on many levels.

The recipe is from 500 Vegan Recipes. I've been of two minds about this cookbook. I've tried some lovely recipes from it, but I've also had a few stinkers. But the recipe for Seitan en Croute has firmly pushed me towards "recommend".

My other favorites from 500 Vegan Recipes have been the butterbean dip (start with half the required scallions and taste before adding the rest), peanut butter muffins, and cheater mac and cheese. The baking recipes make use of a lot of alternative flours, which I like. For instance, the peanut butter muffins are made partially with pulverized dry oatmeal. And there are lots of recipes for grains that I've been trying to get to know, like bulgur.

Unfortunately, a few of the ingredient measurements are off, like the amount of chia seed in the Brazil nut bleu cheese. And a few of the recipes just didn't work for me. But overall, I recommend this book, especially if you are interested in baking or exploring new-to-you ingredients.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Announcement: Tiffin winner

According to the random number generator, the winner of the tiffin is Seglare, who is MOFOing from Copenhagen! Seglare, email me your address at scratchsniff1 (at) gmail.com.

Recipe Thursday: Tot Salad

I used to think I didn't like salad. In the U.S., we mostly eat Sad Salads™. You know, a few much-too-large pieces of iceberg lettuce, a tomato slice, and a cucumber slice. If you're lucky, there might be a few carrot shavings. These salads are solely vehicles for loads and loads of dressing. Why else would you eat them?

But salad doesn't have to be like that. Salad can be flavorful. It can be crunchy, tangy, salty, sweet. Salad can be the best part of the meal.

Here is a salad worth eating.

Tot salad
several cups of baby lettuce leaves
1 cup green beans (fresh or frozen)
1 cup tater tots
1/2 cup grape tomatoes
1 tablespoon agave nectar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1 tablespoon oil
salt and pepper

Cook the tater tots according to the directions on the package. If using fresh green beans, trim them and cook them in boiling water for 4 minutes, or until bright green. Shock them in ice water to stop the cooking. Alternatively, remove frozen green beans from the freezer several hours in advance to thaw.

Combine the agave nectar, mustard, and oil. Stir vigorously to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Assemble the salad. This makes one large meal salad or two side salads.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Boxed Soups

Leftovers and home-cooked foods are great, but sometimes you need to rely on Mama Grocery Store to provide something to round out your lunch.

I think boxed soups are great to keep around for lunches. Boxed soups, for whatever reason, tend to taste better than canned ones. And they don't require a can opener, which is a bonus for work or school meals. I often rely on them to boost the vegetable count in my lunches between grocery trips.

Due to BPA in can linings, there's been a recent explosion in boxed soups. And a surprising number of the new soups are vegan. I've been keeping a score sheet for every boxed soup I try. Here are my favorites.

Pacific Natural Foods Cashew Carrot Ginger My soup rating system is 1-4 soup spoons. When I tried this soup for the first time, it made me wish that it went to 5, at least. It's creamy, flavorful, and doesn't need any doctoring. This is the soup I'd serve to anyone who thought vegans eat twigs and berries.

Dr. McDougall Roasted Red Pepper Tomato This is my other hands-down favorite. This brand is marketed as healthy convenience food. (You can read about Dr. McDougall's diet here.) They're a little harder to find than the Pacific Natural brand. Locally, I buy them at Whole Foods or Fiesta supermarkets. You can also get them in bulk from Amazon. The Roasted Red Pepper Tomato soup is the perfect balance of tomato-y acid and red pepper sweetness, and there are nice chunks of tomatoes, too.

Honorable mentions: Imagine Foods Potato Leek, Imagine Foods Corn and Lemongrass, and Pacific Natural Foods Thai Sweet Potato.

The Fig and Colavita soups also pictured above are so new, I haven't had a chance to try them.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Diabetes Blog Day: 6 Things

It's Diabetes Blog Day, one of many events during World Diabetes Month. Today's topic, blogged by diabetes bloggers across the Internet is 6 Things You Want People to Know About Diabetes

1. Being perfect isn't possible. But it's what we often expect of ourselves when we have diabetes. And despite knowing all of that, there's a lot of guilt that comes with each little failure.

2. Fear is a really poor motivator. Don't tell me about your grandmother who lost her leg/eyesight/kidney function thinking that it will convince me to take better care of myself. First of all, I take damn good care of myself as is. Second of all, while the DCCT tells us that good glucose control can reduce some complications by 42% to 76%, NOTHING reduces complications by 100%. I could do everything right and still end up with complications. So keep your fear to yourself.

3. Speaking of good control, in his book Think Like a Pancreas, diabetes expert Gary Scheiner defines very good control as having blood glucose levels in range 70% of the time. Fair control is having the numbers in range 50-70% of the time. Imagine that you made soup using the same ingredients every day, but it only tasted OK 70% of the time. And, your 70% success rated you a master chef.

4. No one knows what causes type 1 diabetes. We know that islet cells in the pancreas are destroyed by the body's immune system. But the why and how are still under investigation. Wheat, viruses, low vitamin D, cow's milk, lack of breast feeding, and aliens are all possibilities, but scientists are far from certain. Chances are, it's more complex than we think.

5. When you think I'm sick, I'm not. When you see me testing my blood glucose or taking insulin, everything is OK. That's what I do to be healthy. Just like you brush your teeth or eat food.

6. And when you don't think I'm sick, I am. Contradictory, I know. Just because I look OK at any given time, it doesn't mean I'm feeling OK. The signs of low/high blood glucose are often easy to miss from the outside.

Packing Drinks for Lunch

This is my favorite drink to pack in my lunches. It's peanut- and walnut-flavored soy milk. And it makes my lunch feel luxurious. I buy this from New Oriental Market, but most Asian markets will have a few kinds of flavored soy milks. I like this one because it's not too packed with sugar and it tastes like nuts!

Water is of course healthy, affordable, and easy to find. But there's no reason to limit yourself to just water with your lunch. Packing a more interesting drink can make your lunch feel special, which means you are more likely to actually eat it.

Other beverage options:
tea (hot or iced)
coffee (hot or iced)
plant milks
hot cocoa
fruit juice
apple cider
tonic with a squeeze of lemon or lime
coconut keffir
tomato juice
sparkling water
cafe au lait

I don't own a thermos, so I pack homemade drinks in a clean mason jar and reheat or refrigerate at work.

Hot Cocoa in a Jar
1-2 tablespoons cocoa powder
sweetener to taste
a pinch of salt
1 cup plant milk
flavoring (optional)

Pour a few tablespoons of milk in your jar. If you're using a crystalized sweetener like white sugar, microwave the jar for about 40 seconds. If you're using a liquid sweetener or sugar-free sweetener, you don't need to heat the milk. Add the cocoa powder, sweetener, and salt, and stir until everything is combined. It can take a lot of stirring to incorporate all the cocoa powder.

Add the rest of the milk and the flavoring if you're using it. Flavoring can either be an extract such as vanilla or mint extract (a few drops) or a syrup (1 to 2 tablespoons). If you're using a syrup, you'll want to reduce or eliminate other sweeteners. Cinnamon or cayenne pepper are great additions, as well. Stir everything together.

When you're ready to drink, shake with the lid on, and then microwave uncovered for 1-2 minutes.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Baby, It's Cold Outside

Microwaves. Not everyone has access to one at lunch, and some people just don't like them.*

Lots of foods taste great at room temperature. Many sandwiches, fruit, raw vegetables, crackers, salads, and nuts are all traditionally served room temperature. Other foods are often served cold, like summer soups, yogurt, smoothies, dips, and pasta and grain salads. And finally, there are foods that are usually served hot that just happen to taste pretty good at room temperature or cold, particularly pizza and pureed soups like tomato soup.

I know that I often don't feel satisfied until I've eaten something warm. If you have an electrical outlet available, you might consider getting an electric kettle. Electric kettles are pretty popular in England, but you don't see them as often in the U.S. They heat water very quickly with little energy use. With hot water, you can have tea, hot cocoa couscous, bulgur, and quick cooking noodles (like angel hair pasta). Even just a cup of tea following a cold meal is enough to make a difference for me.

Alternatively, think spicy. If you're feeling one kind of heat, you might not notice the lack of another kind.

If you're on the go or there's no electricity, you might consider getting a thermos or a food jar to keep things hot. Heat the thermos with boiling water, drain, and then add whatever hot dish you want. Chances are it will still be hot, or at least warm, at lunchtime.

Or think raw. Raw foods aren't meant to be heated in the first place. So revel in fresh fruits, vegetables, and sprouted grains and beans.

As far as keeping things cold, an ice pack should do. But really, most vegan foods should be fine at room temperature for a few hours, with the exception of rice and yogurt.

100 Lunch Foods That Don't Require Heating
1. tomato soup
2. pbj
3. pretzels
4. frozen fruit (it will defrost by lunchtime)
5. nuts
6. popcorn
7. fruit leather
8. leftover pizza
9. sesame noodles
10. steamed vegetables (w/vinaigrette or plain)
11. crackers
12. cole slaw
13. granola bar
14. yogurt
15. plant milk
16. bean dip (homemade or commercial)
17. fruit salad
18. fava bean puree w/a drizzle of olive oil
19. pesto pasta
20. pickles
21. lemonade
22. avocado
23. trail mix
24. ants on a log
25. TLT
26. potato salad
27. tortilla and refried bean spirals w/salsa
28. nicoise salad
29. avocado and tomato sandwich
30. hummus and pita w/tomatoes
31. bagel with cream cheese or hummus
32. olives
33. any of the salads in my first list
34. iced tea
35. cinnamon toast
36. apple spread with peanut butter (core an apple, slice into wedges, apply peanut butter, reassemble apple)
37. veggies and dip (w/crackers!)
38. cereal (with or without milk)
39. tapioca pudding
40. chickpea salad sandwich
41. vegan sausage on a bun w/mustard
42. salsa and chips
43. crock cheese w/crackers and vegetables
44. tomato salad
45. roasted chickpeas
46. lettuce wraps
47. garlic bread
48. applesauce
49. seaweed salad
50. soy crisps
51. tapenade spread on French bread
52. juice
53. rice pudding
54. fruit cup
56. Waldorf salad
58. cucumber sandwiches
59. apple chips
60. gazpacho
62. vegan lunchmeat sandwich w/all the fixings
63. dried fruit
65. fruit-and-nut bar
66. packaged Indian meals
67. creamed spinach
68. edamame (throw in frozen, they'll defrost by lunch)
70. tofu satay w/peanut sauce
71. granola
73. marinated mushrooms
74. panzanella
76. three bean salad
77. equal parts tahini and agave nectar spread on a tortilla, rolled up, and sliced into spirals
78. broccoli slaw
79. brown rice w/peanut sauce (or curry sauce)
80. tofu (baked, fried, or aburaage) w/dipping sauce
81. cold baked sweet potato
82. marinated cucumbers
83. sushi rice with toppings
84. shredded carrots tossed with peanuts and raisins
85. banana chips
86. carrot sticks w/peanut butter
87. A roll sliced in half, spread with pesto, and filled with tomato slices
88. muffins (there's a great, filling peanut butter-oatmeal muffin in 500 Vegan Recipes)
89. seitan sub sandwich
90. applesauce
91. broccoli w/marinara for dipping
92. peanut butter and cracker sandwiches
93. dried figs stuffed with almonds
94. melon
95. guacamole (covered tightly with plastic) and chips
96. a soft pretzel w/mustard
97. ratatouille
98. cold roasted vegetables
99. baby spinach and mushrooms w/agave-mustard dressing
100. tabbouleh

*I think microwaves are perfectly safe to use if you microwave in appropriate materials (preferably glass. Old yogurt and margarine containers are not appropriate.). And they use less energy than most other heating methods. For the lazy, don't store any food you plan to reheat in a container you wouldn't put in the microwave. When you're hungry, you're more likely to throw caution to the wind. For the more prepared, cost-conscious, and waste-conscious, keep a bowl and plate at work so you can transfer food to a microwave-safe material.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Lonestar Vegetarian Chili Cookoff

Sunday, November 7, is the 22nd Lonestar Vegetarian Cook-off. I'll be competing for the second time. Last year, I won second place with this chili recipe. I still really love that recipe, but we've given the chili a bit of a makeover so it's fresh and new this year. It's still bulgur-based. It's still beanless. And it's still spicy. But we used a completely new spice blend.

The cook-off is really a great event. Last year there were lots of 100% vegan chilis to try, veg-related booths, live music, door prizes, and great food and beer. I except this year to be even better.

I'll be cooking up 5 gallons of chili (without electricity!) and serving it by the tablespoonful tomorrow. I hope some of y'all will come out to try it. More details are on the event's website.

I'll post the recipe, a contest recap, and the price of making 5 gallons of vegan chili tomorrow!

Friday, November 5, 2010

MoFo Lunches: Week 1

Welcome to my early morning kitchen. The sun hasn't come up. I haven't had my coffee yet. I haven't eaten. I might still be in my pajamas. And I'm certainly grumpy.

But it's time to pack my lunch, and you're all invited to watch under the glare of my camera flash. The photos aren't pretty. Making lunch is hard enough pre-coffee and breakfast. There's no way I'm up for staging pretty photos.

Along with photos and descriptions of the food, I'm going to include carb counts and insulin doses. November is Veganmofo month, but it's also American Diabetes Month. And I don't make a single food decision without consulting the 'betes.

Monday. Leftover lo mein (whole wheat lo mein noodles, green beans, carrots, red onions, cabbage, tofu). I never can get the vegetables fully incorporated into the noodles, so the leftovers are 75% vegetables. But there are a few noodles on the bottom there. Pineapple. A few dark chocolate covered dried blueberries.

40g carbohydrate, 4 units humalog

Tuesday. Imagine Foods tomato soup. Salad of lettuce, golden raisins, and almonds with pomegranate vinaigrette on the side. A frozen chickpea cutlet from a bulk cooking session. The cutlet defrosted by lunch and I tore it up and added it to the salad.

45g carbohydrate, 4 1/2 units humalog

Wednesday. Leftover noodle soup (vegetable broth, whole wheat noodles, soy curls, carrots, celery, onions, and celery leaves). Whole wheat crackers. Soymilk (made from black soybeans, but it doesn't taste any different.) Two dried strawberries.

40g carbohydrate, 4 units humalog

Thursday. I forgot to make my lunch until 2 minutes before I had to leave, and it shows. So Delicious strawberry-banana coconut yogurt. A toasted slice of Rudi's part-whole grain cinnamon-raisin bread (I was so excited to find vegan cinnamon-raisin bread). Pineapple.

60g carbohydrate, 6 units humalog

Friday. Whole-grain vanilla cereal (I can't remember the brand). Ancient grains milk (This is new. I can't remember all the grains, but it includes quinoa.) Cole slaw.

50g carbohydrate, 5 units humalog

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Artichoke Salad Sandwich

Thursdays in November will be lunchbox recipe days!

First up is an artichoke salad sandwich. I got the idea for this recipe from muffin-tuffin on the PPK. Her description of the sandwich was "artichoke hearts, basil, garlic, mayo, roasted red peppers on bread with spinach."

I did things a little differently to fit what's in my kitchen. I never seem to have roasted red peppers, and roasting them myself doesn't seem to mesh with my goal of easy lunch recipes.

Artichoke Salad for a Sandwich
(makes 1 sandwich)

4 artichoke hearts (frozen or canned, but not marinated)
1 clove garlic, minced
2 green onions, chopped
handful of basil, chopped
1 tablespoon vegenaise
salt and pepper to taste

If you're using frozen artichoke hearts, thaw or cook them briefly. If you're using canned or jarred artichoke hearts, rinse them in water. Squeeze the artichoke hearts over a strainer to get out as much water as possible. Roughly chop the artichoke hearts, mix with the other ingredients. Taste and adjust the seasonings.

I ate my sandwich on pumpernickel (low GI!) with some lettuce, but I think tomato slices or thinly sliced onion would be nice as well.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Lunch Container Roundup (and Giveaway!)

This is my lunch bag.

I pack the food in glass tupperware containers. For me, it's important that my lunch containers 1) can go in the dishwasher, 2) have standard cup sizing for easier carb counting, 3) are made of glass if they will ever go in the work microwave, and 4) minimize waste. The lunchbag was free. Before I had that, I just packed the containers into a canvas bag.

But there are lots and lots of other options out there if you want something made specifically for holding your lunch. (All of these can go in your dishwasher.)

Laptop lunchboxes are a homage to the bento boxes that are popular in Japan. You've probably seen them at the great Vegan Lunchbox blog. They're phthalate-, BPA-, and lead-free and microwave safe. Pros: they're cute, great for portion control, and encourage variety in your lunch. Cons: they're not as flexible as some options, and they're probably not the best option for packing lots of wet items like soups or marinated salads.

Tiffins hail from India. They're stainless steel, which means none of the worries of plastic food storage and they're practically indestructible. Pros: These are great for larger food portions for things like salad. They're also more "grown-up". Cons: again, not a great option for liquids, and they're not microwave safe.

Fit and Fresh Salad Shaker is exactly what it sounds like. You put the salad in the bottom, and there's a container for the dressing on top. At lunch, just dispense the dressing and shake! Pros: great for salads! Cons: not very good for anything else.

Food jars (or thermoses) are perfect for anything liquid or anything that needs to stay hot or cold. Pros: best option for soups or for anyone without access to a microwave. Cons: a bit of a unitasker, this won't be of much use for packing sandwiches or salads.

And now, a contest! The prize is a three-tier tiffin from Herbivore Clothing (paid for by me). The contest is open to international contestants. Enter by telling me your favorite food to pack for lunch in the comments below. If you don't have a blog where I can contact you, include an email address in your comment. I will choose a winner using a random number generator next Wednesday, November 10.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Fear of (Lunch) Commitment

It's day two of VeganMoFo, and we're talking about our commitment issues.

It's hard for some people to commit to packing lunch. Some people aren't cooks. Some people aren't planners. And some of us are just lazy. Not to mention that in many places, there's delicious food around every corner just beckoning us to buy it. "Come on," these foods beg. "You can sleep in an extra 15 minutes and you won't have to do any dishes. Besides, we're french fries. You love french fries."

There are good reasons to pack your lunch. You probably already know them. Done right, it's cheaper and healthier. There's less waste, and you know exactly what you're eating.

So how can you learn to love lunch again?

1. Vary what you eat. When I was a high school freshman, I ate cheese pizza for lunch every school day. Then I refused to eat pizza for two years. Lesson learned. It's boring to eat the same thing day in and day out.
2. Make it special. Though a peanut butter and jelly sandwich may be tasty, it can be boring. An almond butter and mayhaw jelly sandwich is exciting. Exciting helps you resist going out for french fries or getting oreos from the vending machine. Special can also mean using your favorite lunchbox or napkin or the silverware your grandmother gave you.
3. Plan. At least a little bit. Keeping lunch staples around (and saving them for lunchtime only) keeps morning prep to a minimum. Even better, pack your lunch the night before.
4. Have a back-up plan. Humans forget things sometimes. It's bound to happen. Have a plan for days when there's nothing in the house to pack or you leave your lunch at home.
5. Pack substantial lunches. Try to pack a few things from different categories. Some possible categories are: protein, carbohydrate, vegetable, fruit, nuts, goodies, hot, cold, room temperature, crunchy, creamy, salty, sweet, spicy, green, red, yellow. For me, having variety is what makes food feel like a meal rather than a snack. Sometimes this means a soup of beans and greens and piece of fruit (categories: hot, cold, salty, sweet, protein, vegetable, fruits, blue, green). Sometimes it's a smorgasbord of leftovers. Besides being more substantial, variety in your meals means you're more likely to hit all the nutritional bases.
6. Be social. If your coworkers keep dragging you off to lunch, find other ways to spend time with them. Start a lunch swap. Organize a bring-your-lunch-to-work day. Meet up after work.
7. Or don't. Your coworkers are jerks? Getting out of the office doesn't have to involve food. Put on a pair of headphones, head out for a walk, find a place to eat outdoors, or read a book.
8. Keep yourself accountable. Make a lunch date with a coworker or friend. Keep track of how much money you're saving or the number of healthy non-fast food meals you're eating. Offer to cook for officemates occasionally as vegan outreach.
9. Reward yourself. Have a piece of chocolate or a great cup of tea after lunch. Or let yourself eat out occasionally.
10. Know your limitations. And work with them. If your idea of cooking is opening a jar of spaghetti sauce or microwaving an Amy's meal, don't plan to cook huge amounts of leftovers or bulk meals. It probably won't happen. And if you are a perfectionist, don't let that get in the way of packing your lunch. Meeting some of your goals is better than giving up and meeting none of them. Balance your expectations with your abilities.

Monday, November 1, 2010

100 Ideas for Vegan Lunches

When Dewey and I started sharing kitchen duties, all my leftovers and meticulous meal plans disappeared. Dewey isn't a fan of repeated meals or planning meals ahead. We've forged some kind of cooking alliance that works for us, and dinner shows up on the table with little fuss most of the time. But when I finally found a job in Austin, I missed my constant leftovers for lunch. Being me, my first thought was a list. And so I bring you, 100 Ideas for Vegan Lunches.

The list is specific to my tastes, dietary needs, and cooking habits. So think of this as a starting place. Replace the meals that I like to cook in bulk with your own favorites. Some obvious foods don't appear, such as juice, because they're not diabetic friendly. The foods are more-or-less healthy, but that doesn't mean there isn't a place for dessert or chips at lunch. It just means I don't need a reminder to eat those sorts of things.

Without further ado, here are 100 things you could pack for lunch, with links available where possible

1. crock cheez, crackers, vegetables
2. hummus (commercial), crackers/pita, vegetables
4. pbj
5. refried bean tortilla spirals w/salsa
7. boxed soup
8. yogurt w/flax
10. jerky
11. dal
12. cole slaw
13. TLT
14. avocado, tomato sandwich
16. Caesar salad
18. muffins
21. sesame noodles
22. nuts
23. fresh fruit
24. no sugar added dried fruit
25. plant milk
26. hot chocolate
27. tamales (frozen)
28. sausages (commercial)
30. bean dip (homemade), crackers, vegetables
31. seven layer dip w/tortilla chips
33. falafel (frozen) w/pita, lettuce, tomatoes, tahini
34. ww English muffin w/EB and marmite (or jam)
35. pumpkin bread
36. salad: lettuce w/soba, tofu, red bell pepper, and peanut sauce
37. soy crisps
38. leftovers
39. avocado
40. oatmeal w/nuts, soy milk, and brown sugar
41. unsweetened applesauce w/walnuts or pecans and flax
42. waffles (homemade or commercial) w/maple syrup or peanut butter
43. Boca chik sandwich w/vegenaise on whole wheat
44. tomato salad
45. almond pate (from Wheatsville), vegetables, crackers
46.vegetable (or hummum) wrap
47. dry cereal
48. baked potato with toppings (salsa, broccoli, and so on)
49. ww couscous w/nuts and dried fruit
50. sliced mushrooms w/Goddess dressing
51. ww garlic bread
52. sun-dried tomatoes
53. miso soup
54. noodles w/esme's sauce and vegetables
55. smoothie
56. salad: romaine, apple, avocado, tempeh bacon, red onion, goddess dressing
57. olives
58. chocolate covered fruit
59. seitan sandwich w/all the fixins
60. artichoke salad sandwich with spinach
61. baked beans
62. pickle
63. bouillon
64. iced tea/coffee
65. celery (or jalapeno!) filled with peanut butter
66. popcorn (with nooch)
67. grain salad (grain+herbs+beans+sauce)
68. chickpea salad sandwich
69. tortilla chips and salsa
70. black bean soup
71. soup in a bag
72. grilled cheese and tomato soup
74. edamame
75. frozen vegetables
76. roasted vegetables
77. bowls (grain/pasta + veg/beans/tofu + sauce)
78. cereal w/milk and fruit
79. raw vegetables w/ranch dip
80. lasagne
81. pasta salad
82. quick curry w/brown rice or pasta
83. fried rice
84. cornbread
85. frozen fruit
86.crackers and peanut butter
87. baked apple
88. peanut butter and apple or banana sandwich
89. tot salad: lettuce, tater tots (cooked), green onions, tomatoes, green beans, agave-mustard salad dressing
90. rice and beans (with hot sauce!)
91. baked sweet potato w/brown sugar-green onion compound EB
92. tofu scramble in a tortilla
93. steamed vegetables
94. side salad: arugula w/tahini-rice vinegar dressing
95. crystallized ginger
96. fruit crisp
97. tofu (baked, fried, or aburaage) with a dipping sauce
98. marinated mushrooms
99. kale and soba noodles dressed with soy sauce and sesame oil
100. BBQ chickpeas

The full version of the list is organized by work required (little work, bulk cooking, some work) and nutrient, focusing on the ones vegans or diabetics might need to pay attention to. You can find it here.