The Return of the Quick Packed Lunch

Hello friends! I haven’t posted a quick packed lunch in ages so I figured today was the perfect time to bring it back. I haven’t been sharing pictures of my packed lunches lately because while working at my hospital internship, I get $5 per day to spend in the cafeteria (a perk of being an unpaid “volunteer”), so I’ve been packing only partial lunches every day. Usually, I’ll pack a main dish (often a leftover from something we made for dinner), and then buy some assortment of fruit, yogurt, or an afternoon snack from the hospital cafeteria to supplement it. The hospital entrees are pretty gross (think fried chicken, french fries, etc.) so I stick with the other stuff! I also treat myself to an unsweetened iced black tea every day at lunch time. Caffeine boost!

Anyway! I actually made a full packed lunch the other day and just bought some snacks with my $5 instead, so here it is!


First up was a simple almond butter + pumpkin butter sandwich. Toasted bread = no sogginess!

Plus a salad topped with avocado, feta, and leftover green beans. I whipped up a homemade dressing in a baggie (olive oil, balsamic, mustard, lemon juice, salt, pepper) because the hospital dressing is not tasty and full of high fructose corn syrup. 



Plus some cherries and fresh figs. Have you all ever had fresh figs? They’re so different from dried!


All together now!


At the hospital, I ended up using my $5 for iced tea, an orange, and a hummus + crackers snack thing. Perfect! I ate those as afternoon snacks.

If you want to see more of my packed lunches, there are a ton on my recipe page — just click on the link for packed lunches. :)

What did you pack for lunch today?

Stay tuned — I have a fun cookbook review post coming up tomorrow!


  1. 1

    Just tasted fresh figs for the first time recently. They are delish!!

  2. 2

    My husband has been in the hospital twice in the past year, and both times, we were there unexpectedly for all day. When I went down to the cafeteria, I was dismayed by the selection. It’s so ironic when hospital food is unhealthy!

  3. 3
    Anna Marie says:

    I agree with hospital food being gross! Sadly I work in the public schools and their main entrees are often fried, cheesy and totally unhealthy. I always pack lunches and snacks due to that disturbing fact. Thanks for sharing your healthy to go lunches!

  4. 4

    Isn’t it funny how unhealthy most hospital food is? I do the toasted bread trick a lot too!

  5. 5

    I pack my lunch everyday for work. It’s the easiest way for me to save mucho $$. I usually pack salads, fresh fruit, yogurt, sandwiches, or leftovers.

  6. 6

    Fresh figs are insanely good – last time I was in California I ate about 2 boxes in 2 days (Hi my name is Annie and I am a fruitaholic…)

  7. 8

    Isn’t it crazy that hospitals of all places have terrible, gross, unhealthy foods?! I work in a building connected to a hospital so I pack my lunch every, single day cause there’s no way I’m spending money on the hospital cafeteria food. I usually pack some yogurt and granola for a mid-morning snack, sandwich and strawberries for lunch, and watermelon for my mid-afternoon snack. Much healthier than anything I could get in the cafeteria!

  8. 10

    I was at a hospital earlier this year and it was pretty funny. They had two different menus. One “fancy” one prepared by the executive chef and the regular one. Honestly, the regular one sounded better than the “fancy” one!

  9. 11
    Lauren T says:

    It’s very sad that the food at hospitals is so poor. At least there are some decent options though. Today I packed a spinach salad with quinoa, chicken, cucumbers and carrots and a raspberry vinaigrette. I also packed an apple sauce and a cliff bar. Salads are so good for lunch!

  10. 12

    Lunch will be a sesame kale salad with a roasted sweet potato, curried eggplant + grilled corn. Yum!

  11. 13

    I work in a hospital. I’ve been here for almost 17 years and still I am constantly surprised at how unhealthy and unimaginative the hospital cafeteria is. Most days it is really difficult to find a healthy meal. I usually bring my lunch and just get the extras from the food places. At least they have fresh fruits and a nice salad bar.

  12. 14

    I’m at home today – so no worries about packing a lunch. When I had to pack them for school, I usually made a big salad, a sandwich with hummus, or a massive assortments of snack foods (larabars, cheese strings, baby carrots, bell pepper strips, dip, crackers, ect.) to munch on throughout the day.

    I find it kind of sad that hospital cafeteria food is so unhealthy! Considering that they’re full of sick people, you’d think they would put a little more effort into providing a healthy lunch for people.

  13. 15

    Leftovers today: grilled blackened chicken on a whole wheat roll with a salad on the side.

  14. 16

    I was just listening to a show on the radio the other day talking about the crappy food in hospitals. A lot of hospitals apparently actually have McDonald’s and such in them now, and one hospital they were talking about has even had a McD’s for 15 years now or something. And they were saying the hospital is going to re-think the lease when it’s up and they might not let McD’s back, but then someone made the point that even if McD’s was booted out, hospital cafeteria food isn’t that much better to begin with – fried chicken, cheesy potatoes, etc.

    Anyway, I had no idea! I guess I’ve been lucky in that I haven’t had to eat in a hospital cafeteria in a very long time, so I didn’t even realize that’s what most of them served. It’s totally surreal that a hospital of all places would sell crap.

    For my lunch, I’m eating a salad covered in leftovers (avocado, black beans, chicken, tomato, corn) an apple, and a slice of cheese.

  15. 18

    The only good hospital food I have ever eaten has been at FDR Rehabilitation Center in Warm Springs, Ga. Healthy and good.

  16. 19

    I love packing a lunch! Its so much fun to open up a bag of all your favorite food items half way through the day! My lunch today included some California rolls, Greek yogurt with almonds, and a Kellogg’s FiberPlus Chocolate Chip bar. Yum!

  17. 20

    I had left over mung bean linguine noodles with roasted veggies and pesto. And a 1/2 banana. Delish! I am addicted to mung bean linguine (different than thai mung bean noodles) plus they have 20 grams of protein!

  18. 22
    charlie girl says:

    OMG! Thank you for giving me some inspiration….I pack my dinner daily as I work nights, I needed a little help today!

  19. 23

    I’m not a fan of raw figs but I do like homemade fig preserves. When I was a kid we had a fig tree that literally took over one side of our house. Those things can get huge and just drip with figs.

  20. 24

    Where do you find pumpkin butter? That sounds amazing!

  21. 26

    Fresh figs was introduced to me by my cousin when she was cooking for our family gathering. The taste is truly a lot different from the preserved ones, and I liked it. I love packing my lunch too, but when busy my least option is preparing burgers or sandwiches instead.

    What you prepared here looks so healthy. Got to find fresh figs and try this out.

  22. 27
    Katie D says:

    It’s so fun to see you working on my unit! It’s like a celebrity spotting! Our cafeteria isn’t the best, but it’s surprisingly better than others in the area (really sad, I know.) You should see what is available for the night shift though – what a nightmare!

    Would love to join you and others at Georgetown Lululemon sometime when my crazy nursing hours let me. :)

    • 28

      :) It’s always fun to run into a friendly face – fun seeing you today at lunch! That really is sad that our caf is one of the better ones… what IS available on the night shift?!

      And yes, please join us for Tuesday run club sometime!

  23. 29

    I love packing small little snacks for the day ahead. I have an almond butter and jelly on great harvest whole wheat, carrots and hummus and yogurt w/ blueberries and granola on top for lunch/afternoon snack.

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