College Lunches On-The-Go

By Lauren Scott, Arizona Farm Bureau Intern

As a college student currently going to Arizona State University, I know that life can get busy. Between running from one class to the other, working (sometimes multiple jobs), doing homework and projects, and trying to keep up personal relationships, things like sleeping and eating can get pushed to the side.

I have found on numerous occasions that I’ve gone an entire day without eating. I didn’t notice that I was hungry because I was so busy. Obviously, that’s not very healthy, so I had to find a way to make sure I still eat on my busiest days.

This might sound like a no-brainer, but I started taking my lunch with me in an insulated lunch box/bag. As a kid, I always took my lunch to school. Never once in my entire school career did I eat the food that the cafeteria was serving. When I was little I loved taking my lunch to school, but as I got older, I became embarrassed carrying my lunch box. I thought lunch boxes were ugly, and I didn’t want to be seen with one.

In high school, I started to just throw my food in my backpack and hope it didn’t get squished.

Now that I’m in college, I’m over worrying about what my peers think. A girl’s got to eat! Plus, there are so many stylish lunch boxes out there to choose from. The one I have right now is from Target and looks a little bit like a purse. It’s kind of like being “Fashion forward” with our lunch.

When you take your lunch with you, whether that is to work or school, you save yourself the time of having to grab something on the way, and you definitely save yourself some money. With the endless food options we are given at grocery stores and farmers markets, you never have to eat the same thing twice in one week!

Here are my favorite lunches to take with me to school and work, one for each day of the week:

  1. A salad made of mixed greens, carrots, sunflower seeds, dried cranberries, walnuts, and broccoli paired with olive oil and vinegar. A string cheese. A serving of popped rice chips. I put my selected dressing in a separate Tupperware.
  2. A peanut butter and jelly sandwich on whole wheat bread. Slices of cucumber and baby carrots with low-fat ranch to dip them in. A serving of grapes.
  3. Your choice of lunch meat (I like thinly-sliced turkey) rolled up with spicy mustard inside. A pre-sliced apple and peanut butter to dip it in. A bag of mixed nuts like almonds, walnuts, cashews, peanuts, and Brazil nuts.
  4. A fruit salad made with your favorite fruits (I like to get creative with pineapple, mango, strawberries, blueberries, apples, bananas, raspberries, blackberries, grapes, kiwis, Mandarin oranges, and pears) sprinkled with granola and topped with honey, or mixed with Greek yogurt. Sliced bell peppers of every color and low-fat ranch to dip them in. Hummus and pita chips.
  5. A wrap made with a whole wheat tortilla, light mayonnaise, mustard, chicken or turkey, spinach leaves, a thinly sliced tomato (Mix and match other ingredients to your taste). A low-sugar granola bar. A serving of fruit (I usually pack strawberries, blueberries, or even a banana).
  6. If you can make use of a microwave at school or work: Grilled chicken and pre-steamed veggies. Your favorite flavor of Greek yogurt. A serving of whole wheat crackers and your choice of sliced cheese to top them with.
  7. A spinach salad with apples, strawberries, dried cranberries, and grilled chicken topped with a vinaigrette dressing. A serving of plain pretzels. Baby carrots and snap peas with low-fat ranch to dip them in.

And there you have it! Seven lunch ideas for you to make this week! It all easily fits into a lunch bag or lunchbox, and will keep you full for quite a while! On top of these meals I do bring a small snack with me like extra fruits and veggies, or a bag of mixed nuts just in case I need a little pick-me-up later in the day.

For more information on how to stay healthy while in college, visit Fill Your Plate and check out these blogs:

10 Recipes Every College Student Should Know how to Make

8 Healthy Snacks to Keep in your Dorm Room

5 Easy Tips for Keeping Away the Freshman 15


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