Suggestions for Packing a Healthy Lunch When You Have to Eat & Run

This part of our weekly How To series

So as my regular readers know, this month I have been earning a little extra cash as a driver helper for UPS.  One of the unexpected challenges of this job is figuring out what to bring for lunch.  During this busy holiday season you usually eat whenever you can along the route.  And of course, I don’t want to buy lunch since I got this job to make money, not spend money.

the UPS jumpseat

Where I sit (and occassionally eat) on the truck

Generally you have to put together a lunch with things that are:

  1. Easy to eat with dirty hands  
  2. A good balance of protein, fat, and carbohydrates so that you can sustain energy all day long
  3. Easy to eat while sitting, standing or moving without making a mess

Here are some of the best things I have found…

  • Sandwiches or wraps that are cut so that you don’t have to eat it all at once.  I pack them in a sandwich bag so that I don’t have to hold the sandwich directly.  I find that peanut butter and jelly or ham and cheese work well as a good balance of protein, fat, and carbs.  You may consider bringing two sandwiches instead of more snacks.
  • Nuts and/or trail mix in a container that allows you to shake them out.  Small boxes of raisins are easy to eat on the move.
  • Fruit with a peel – bananas are easiest to eat on the move.
  • Apple slices, baby carrots, or other fruits and vegetables cut into smaller snacking sizes
  • Granola bars or protein bars
  • Applesauce in a squeeze pouch – these are an awesome invention, designed for toddlers but useful for anyone that wants a quick healthy snack with no mess
  • Yogurt is a great healthy snack.  If you have time to eat it with a spoon you can avoid the really sugary types, but if you really need portability, try Yoplait’s Go Gurt
  • String cheese!  – since it comes in a plastic wrapper that peels back this is an awesome snack
  • Small cans of V8 Juice – if you can stomach it (I can’t) these are an awesome way to get a vegetable serving

Have you been faced with this challenge?  What foods do you recommend?



2 responses to “Suggestions for Packing a Healthy Lunch When You Have to Eat & Run

  1. Just to expand on your own thoughts:

    There are tiny wheels of cheese if you get tired of the string cheese. Look for Babybel cheeses. They’re essentially just little wheels of cheese wrapped in wax, with a little tab to make them easy to open.

    I really like hard boiled eggs in my lunches. I’m not sure how one would manage that with super dirty hands, though, unless you wrapped them in plastic. (I have seen pre-boiled eggs at the grocery store wrapped in plastic, but the markup on those is ridiculous.)

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