Lunch box meals - suggestions?

Without really discussing with me first, hubby decided he would stop eating in his office canteen. He ordered some bento style lunch boxes, and would expect that those boxes to be filled up everyday starting probably next week, when he received his order.

Whether this is a complement for my cooking, I complained nevertheless about the extra workload unless he is willing to eat the leftovers from the night before. The problem is also I grew up eating lunch boxes made by my mom (school was far very far from home), heated rice has a weird smell when cooled down, the same food everyday, I was left with a bitter memory.

The end of the day, I don’t mind cooking, but there is a blockage with this lunchbox horror and basically it’s like airline food.

OK, I think of raw salads, sandwiches. Stewed food works well with reheating with microwave. Do you have some tasty suggestions?

Since you’re even willing to do this, the least HE can do is tell you what to put in them. This is HIS idea after all.


When I use leftovers for lunches, I try to turn it into something a little different that it was the night before. So roast pork tenderloin might get sliced up for sandwiches, or carnitas used for tacos might become a salad or burritos the next day. Honestly, a lot of cooked meat leftovers can easily be added to salads for an easy lunch. Soups are good, but if you do soups with pasta cook the past separately because by the next day it will be over absorbed and you’re likely to have something that is more pasta that soup.

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Most times for my hubby’s lunch I’ll make an extra dinner over the weekend. He’ll then eat it all week. It works out well because I’ll make something that reheats well and that I don’t care for but he likes. When I forget to do that I plan a dinner that’ll have at least a few days of lunch leftovers. CI’s meatloaf is always a big hit.

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I agree with asking what he would like to have – if he’s okay with leftovers, then you’re in a great place!

We’ll assume there’s a microwave available for him to use at work, and that it’s okay for him to use. There were banks of microwaves at hubby’s office in France…one group was treif, so used by everyone; the other were labeled “meat” and “dairy” and used exclusively by the large number of Orthodox Jews in his office.

Years ago (pre-kids) I used to make soups, stews, and casserole (like lasagna) and freeze them in single-serving containers - then on the way out the door we would just grab whatever looked good that day. (better than eating lasagna for a week…)

I also now try to keep extra rice and/or pasta stored in the fridge – it makes a good based for whatever is left over – all of the braises and soups are often quite nice tossed over some rice or pasta, and don’t taste quite the same as if they were simply recycled. (I know you said you don’t like leftover rice, but maybe he does…)

One of my favorite desperation lunches is some leftover pasta with a few spoonsful of pesto and a handful of cherry tomatoes…I just throw the whole thing in the microwave until the tomatoes pop – instant fresh pasta sauce!


I don’t know why your husband decided to no longer eat at the kitchen canteen, but in our house, I became concerned with the amount of cured meat or pre-packaged cold cuts my husband was eating during the week for a quick way fix lunch.

Since it is not easy to get to a store whenever I want, and even harder to carry a lot of groceries home at one time, I now buy protein with the idea that whatever I purchase or make for dinner must also be something that can be eaten as leftovers for lunch. In our case, not every lunch is eaten away from home, so that makes it easier to reheat many dishes… But sometimes lunch needs to be transportable.

So I buy enough chicken or turkey breast that there will be enough left over to cube and make into a chicken salad. If I am cooking beans, I make enough to set aside for lunches like bean dips or bean salads. If I am cooking eggs, either its a bigger frittata that will have extra slices for a sandwich the next day or I will hard boil what I am not using to be used to make cold lunch. If I buy steak, it is a huge one, and cold sliced steak over greens is lunch in the coming days. If I am grilling bread slices for bruschette, I will even toast extra slices for lunch the next day. If I am making potatoes, extra ones are available to cube for a salad. Ditto grains like farro.

Whatever I cook, it’s my husband’s job to take the evening leftovers and assemble his own lunch out of them. There are always raw vegetables in the house like red pepper or fennel or carrots that can go into a salad or just raw into a lunchbox, and plenty of fresh and dried fruit, along with nuts, breadsticks and healthy crackers.

So basically my advice, focus on more or less doubling the protein being cooked in the evening. The only dinner for which there are no leftovers in our house is seafoods and fish.


It’s not clear if you have asked him about having leftovers for lunch. If so, done and done. That’s my usual go to for lunch. Soup reheats well, scrambled eggs with vegetables in a tortilla. Stuffed baked potato with par cooked broccoli and some cheese, etc.

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I just told him about this post on the forum (he isn’t a member here) and your’s and the others’ comment. :smile: Now, he said he never have asked me to be involved. :smirk:
I guess should change the post to simple lunch box meals for somebody who doesn’t cook a lot :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: (prediction, he will do it for 2 weeks, and strangely, eventually, I will take the relay…)

You’re the “decider” on that one, kiddo :slight_smile:


That’s very smart, I will probably go with this idea.

He found the canteen food awful… (strangely, in the past he didn’t feel it was unacceptable) He started to forget to take his lunch break and continued to work…

I think if he’s on his own, he will be making sandwiches…that will be an overdose of cured meat.

Yeah, he will do the same. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Decided! He will be eating a lot of canned sardines :wink:


Excellent! I was 40 when I married my husband. We were quite independent and competent. We don’t have many ‘roles.’

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My husband doesn’t cook a lot and given a choice between a cold leftover piece of grilled turkey breast and cold packaged ham slices, he’s quite happy with the leftovers of fresh food. And he’s happy to shop for other things to keep on hand to round out the lunch and have a full meal. Homemade food, even simple homemade food, always tastes better.

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Yes, that’s what I eat for lunch! My husband doesn’t like them, so we never have them for dinner.

We didn’t marry until we were 40. But my husband, who is competent at quite a few things, including domestic ones, doesn’t like to cook, whereas I find it kind of a relaxing way to finish the day. But I hate washing dishes or even cleaning up, which he doesn’t mind. He doesn’t mind shopping either, which I avoid. It’s not about ‘roles’ (my mother doesn’t like to cook and has stopped except for microwaving) – or even age. Had we met when we were 20 we still probably would have ended up in the same place – although he probably would have had to eat a lot of dinners-gone-wrong along the way (and he’s still not out of the woods).

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@catholiver @HolyTerroir

Actually, in our first 2 years together, it was him cooking, I had not much interest in food or cooking, it was him the gourmand in the couple. He cooked alright, mostly reproducing his mother’s recipes, which were great (lots of SOS phone calls those days). The problem was he didn’t have a lot of variations, he could eat the same food for days without problem. I got a bit fed up eventually and started to be interested in food and cooking, and I took over slowly… now he’s the dish washer and the food shopper.


He’s the sardine lover, I’m the mackerel lover, we have our different cans. Mackerel with mustard remind him of his compulsory military service days.

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You could try checking out this website:


I was only trying to make the point that there are still couples who buy into the whole boy/girl roles.


I saw this today and was reminded of your post.

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