Back to school special

Hey September!  Welcome to the show…

Even though I’m not a student, I know what this month means for all you summer vacationers (the end of sleeping in ‘til noon and wearing swim suits all day long).  Goodbye beach reads, hello homework.

Kyle is just wrapping up his summer internship, so in a couple of weeks it will be back to the MBA grind party.  Which means…it’s lunchbox time again!

BYOB (bring your own box) is how we roll in this hippie household. 


  • price (so much cheaper than buying meals on campus or at a cafeteria)
  • health (do I really need to emphasize how much better for you a home-made quinoa and bean dish is than a “beef” burrito from Taco Bell?)
  • preference (when you pack your own food, you don’t have to make menu substitutions)

If you are new to bringing your own food to school/work/travel, here are a few helpful posts to get you prepared and pack meals to go

And check out this post if you need advice on keeping your work space/locker/dorm room stashed with healthy staples

For meals, I just use leftovers from dinners or whatever I have on hand.  It’s not rocket science.  Grains + veggies = lunch.  Oats + fruit/nuts = breakfast. 

For snacks, I try to give myself several options so I don’t turn to an unhealthy alternative in a moment of weakness desperation.  This may mean I lug around excessive food, but it’s better than turning to something I wouldn’t eat at home, just because I’m out and about with no healthy food reserves.  Everything is portable, you just have to get creative sometimes [I admit, soup isn’t exactly the easiest, but I do it].

Mentally, I have a checklist for to-go snacks that looks something like this:

  • Salty? (nuts, pretzels, etc.)
  • Sweet? (dried fruit, Larabars, etc.)
  • Crunchy? (fresh fruit, veggies)
  • Comfort food? (pitas and hummus)

There’s also hot, cold, savory, spicy, etc. (you can imagine the possibilities…), but as long as I’ve anticipated ways to meet each kind of craving, I’m more than likely going to stay satisfied with my BYO options. 

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To help others get in the back-to-school mode, please share your favorite on-the-go meal/snack in the comments section below.  The more you offer up, the better a resource it will be!

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Comments (19)

  1. Sami

    those coco loco bars are insanely delicious. i have not found anything that i love more than those in place of a brownie. <3


  2. Krysta

    I love your posts on your packed work food. I was a huge BYOB girl when I worked and lived in NYC. These days I work from home so I always have healthy food on hand. But my question is about Kyle… does he pack his own lunch too? What kind of stuff does he pack? I’m trying to get my fiance to pack more lunches to bring to the hospital rather than buying out. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

  3. Paige

    When I have access to a microwave, I like to bring in taco toppings (taco ground turkey, refried beans, salsa, mexican rice, etc.) in a small container to heat up and top a big bowl of romaine lettuce with. It’s much easier to just throw everything in one container to heat up than to bring in containers of toppings, the lettuce, and dressing to work. Lazy!

  4. Ingrid S.

    Perfect timing for this post! Lately, I’ve been into pb and j on a whole wheat tortilla then slice a banana when it’s chow time! Also, making a container of peas, hummus, corn, tomatos and a dr. pragers veggie burger with nooch is a quick go to!

  5. Leila

    LOVE this post! I used to always bring my lunch to work but I figured since I lived so close to my job that I would drive home everyday for lunch – its been kinda nice to get out of the office but I may have to bring back the BYOB. I keep a healthy stocked kitchen at home but I think having so many choices on hand kinda gets to me and I end up eating larger portions than I normally would. So for me.. bringing my lunch is more about portion control. Does anyone else have that problem?

  6. John

    Thanks for sharing. Good information.

  7. Kaitlyn@TheTieDyeFiles

    Always bring my lunch! Some of my favorite snacks are cut up fruit (cantaloupe, peaches, pineapple, strawberries, apples, anything!), roasted chickpeas, chia pudding, non dairy yogurt and granola. I always bring leftovers for lunch!

  8. Natalcho @ Tomatoes Rock

    My favourite snack – fresh fruit always and forever:) it refreshes me and satisfies the sweet tooth so it’s perfect for the 3pm sugar cravings

  9. julie

    lately when i have the time to sit at my desk in the morning sans meetings i’ve been OBSESSED with egg whites peanut butter (preferably tjs crunchy salty) and gala apples. i’m SO glad it’s apple season! well almost!

  10. Danielle

    Yes, I have that problem too! I’m much better about portions when I bring my lunch to work.

  11. Anna @ Food Fitness and Frolicking

    Thanks for all the great ideas!

    Lately I’ve been munching on peanut butter on bananas, almonds and chocolate chips (poor man’s trail mix?)!

  12. Elise

    I always carry dried fruit (figs,dates,apricots and prunes) then nuts of some kind, often roasted and salted peanuts, not healthy but still yummy. An apple and some kind of biscuit, recently it’s been Nairn’s chocolate chip oatcakes, they are so good, but I’m not sure if you get them in the US?

  13. Kelsey

    I concur that variety is key! I used to pack the same thing for lunch every day and it got really old really fast. Now I try to change it up! I love baking/freezing muffins, so that they thaw by the time I’m ready to bust ’em out. Nothing beats homemade treats 🙂

  14. blossjoss

    My favorite snack to bring along is a jar of peanut butter. No nonsense. Keeping it real. Nut butter, fruit, and yogurt for the snacking win. Carrot sticks w/ hummus are good too.

    I want to try roasting some chickpeas with yummy spices. They sound like a yummy full-of-energy snack.

    Luckily I have a microwave at work, so this week lunches have included veggie fajitas, warmed up microwave cakes, and sides of sauteed garden veggies. Mmm.

  15. Anna

    I like to go with the whole-grain concoction…serving of quinoa or barley, topped with veggies (either leftovers or heated frozen), and a protein (beans or tofu) then a sauce (Braggs, salsa, or hummus/nutritional yeast). Mix it up and call it a meal! Usually that’s not quite enough for a full meal so I’ll add a granola bar or piece of fruit too!

  16. Lara

    I’m pretty sure my favorite posts of yours are the ones where you talk about how/why you choose the food you bring to work. I love seeing how you pair foods together to make a meal.
    I had no idea Sabra made snack-sized tubs! I NEED them!

  17. Pingback: Take Me To Tupperville | Kiss My Broccoli

  18. Susan

    I’m just learning about FODMAPs and trying to find my through feeling better with my symptoms. I see in your pictures you have apples, hummus, Lara Bars (made mostly from dates), etc. I thought all of these were high FODMAPs and were no-nos on the diet. Am I missing something? Thanks for your help!

  19. Elise (Post author)

    You’re correct Susan. This is a realllly old post.

Comments are closed.