The Lunch Bunch

6 ideas for memorable make-and-take meals

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Can’t remember what you had for lunch yesterday? Maybe it’s time to revamp your midday routine. These make-ahead recipes come together quickly, stay fresh for a day or two in the fridge, and rival the offerings on any take-out menu—at a fraction of the cost and calories.


CHOOSE crisp, firm greens that’ll stand up in recipes, even after a night in the fridge. Think romaine, endive, radicchio, or iceberg.

LAYER ingredients in tall, transport-friendly containers such as 1-quart canning jars. Put dressing on the bottom, followed by heavy or juicy ingredients. Place lettuce on top, and cover jar loosely with a small piece of paper towel before closing. To serve, remove paper towel, shake the covered container to distribute dressing, then transfer salad

to a serving plate.

AVOID overly strong ingredients such as raw onions, raw garlic, or pungent cheeses. Their flavors will intensify the longer they sit, overpowering other ingredients.


COOL foods before packing them so steam and excess moisture don’t make them mushy.

PACK foods in roomy containers so they heat quickly without making a mess.

CHOOSE recipes that will taste just as good served cold, in case you have to eat your meal that way.


CHOOSE hearty breads such as whole-grain slices or crisp-crusted rolls that stand up to moist fillings.

BUILD edible barriers between bread and fillings to further prevent sogginess. Crisp lettuce, butter, or margarine can help keep bread dry.

SEED tomatoes before slicing to eliminate excess moisture.

HALVE sandwiches for easier eating. This also lets you manage your portions and eat only half on the days when you’re not very hungry or planning a splurgy dinner or dessert.