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Top Teacher Lunch Box Choices

Updated on August 13, 2014

What Is Your Personal Preference

What do you do for lunch?

See results

I think if I have a good breakfast, I could go without food for the rest of the day. I think that until about lunchtime."


Today I packed a fantastic lunch which included all the proper nutrients for a healthy body: tuna on whole grain bread, an apple and orange for fruit, carrot sticks with lite Italian dipping sauce and a gluten-free oatmeal cookie for dessert. Too bad I forgot to bring it with me to work! Now, I am forced to hike over to the cafeteria between classes to scarf down a quick bite. Twenty minutes passes too quickly.

I read somewhere that teachers are most likely to gain weight due to their sedentary roles, high stress, and poor eating habits. For this reason, I pack a lunch. My thoughts are that I can control my food choices and calorie intake if I bring my own meals from home.

I took a poll on lunch box choices from teachers across the country as to what they preferred during break at school. For the most part, educators do choose to pack instead of purchase food when at work due to time constraints. And, unsurprisingly, the sample of foods chosen are quite nutritious.

The Challenge of The Profession

Due to schedules and work load pressure, teachers often do not have the time get away from their desk. This can cause unwanted weight gain and anxiety.
Due to schedules and work load pressure, teachers often do not have the time get away from their desk. This can cause unwanted weight gain and anxiety.

Hot Lunch!

Small electric thermos cups are handy for heating soup and leftvers from home.
Small electric thermos cups are handy for heating soup and leftvers from home. | Source

Group Lunch

In some schools, teachers may have to dine with their students and as a result they eat from the same menu. As Dolores from Texas states, "95% of the cafeteria lunch program is government issued and you get what you get. The meals can be boring and bland." Even so, she believes the time spent dining with students is valuable and socially connects both teacher and student.

As a teacher, she is fortunate enough to have an hour for lunch separate from the class. This enables her to store a small refrigerator in her room holding salads, fresh fruit, water, steam veggie packages, soup, and leftovers from home. Her child also attends the same school so they eat together most days in her classroom. This is a blessing for any teacher.

All In One Meal To Go

The convenience of pouring a ready-made salad right into a bowl gives teachers extra time to enjoy their meal.
The convenience of pouring a ready-made salad right into a bowl gives teachers extra time to enjoy their meal. | Source

Meals of Convenience

From the bread basket of the Midwest, Liz prefers to pack her lunch each day. Her busy schedule keeps her from dining in the lunch room and eating at her desk works best for her. Most days she chooses to bring a garden salad loaded with veggies and topped with a light dressing. On occasion, she will tote take-out from the night before or leftovers from home when she is pressed for time.

Liz has seen an increase in the salad in a jar option among her peers. They love the convenience of taking the jar right out of the refrigerator to place it in their lunch bag. Its simple and one can make a whole week's worth of meals at a time.

Break Time

Relax, kick off your shoes, and enjoy your favorite meal from home.
Relax, kick off your shoes, and enjoy your favorite meal from home. | Source

Gourmet Is the Way

If cooking is your delight, lunch break is a highlight of your day. Luiza, from South Florida, varies her home cooked meals so that she packs a good balance of interesting food choices. Her favorites are tortilla chicken wraps, pot pies, and baked chicken and rice. Her husband, who is an excellent chef, provides her with delectable Spanish cuisine which makes her the envy of her colleagues.

Some home-cooked foods I have found convenient as a next day lunch meal are:

  • pizza
  • lasagna
  • pasta salads
  • chili, soup, or stews

These can easily be reheated by microwave or kept hot in a thermos. You can probably think of other food items packable and suitable for a quick meal at work.

When bringing a meal from home, it is best to pack it in a container or bag that will keep your food fresh until well past noon. Today, you can find a variety of insulated lunch totes with additional pockets to hold utensils, a beverage, and even your cell phone.

Summary of Top Teacher Lunch Box Choices

Main Meal
Side Dish
Chicken Salad Sandwich
Veggie & dip
Tortilla Wrap
Flavored Water
Soda/Carbonated beverage
Frozen dinner
Leftover Casserole
V8 juice-type product

Places to Meditate

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The greenery and natural space of outdoor dining is refreshing and can lessen stress. The cafeteria can be a welcome change of location from the classroom. When eating at your desk, take time to focus on your meal.  It will not only help you digest food better but increase your energy level.
The greenery and natural space of outdoor dining is refreshing and can lessen stress.
The greenery and natural space of outdoor dining is refreshing and can lessen stress. | Source
The cafeteria can be a welcome change of location from the classroom.
The cafeteria can be a welcome change of location from the classroom.
When eating at your desk, take time to focus on your meal.  It will not only help you digest food better but increase your energy level.
When eating at your desk, take time to focus on your meal. It will not only help you digest food better but increase your energy level.

Feed Your Body and Mind

No matter what your lunch box choice is, regular lunch breaks will keep your mind alert, boost your energy level and strengtehn your focus. Studies show that only one of four people in the US take a lunch break and one out of three eat at a desk. The reasons for this is people believe it will save them time in the long run and keep them from working overtime.

As a teacher, your performance is directly impacted by the amount of nutrition your body and mind receive. Energy levels are higher and one is able to concentrate when they get away from work for just 15 to 20 minutes. Eating lunch, whether away from your desk or not, stimulates the brain activity and provides oxygen which in turn reduces stress levels. Studies show that elevated stress levels increase cortisol leading to the over accumulation of fat in the brain. Not so good.

If possible, getting away from your classroom and dining at the cafe or teacher lunch room will be a most welcome benefit for your overall well being. Some instructors consider eating in the cafe a last resort. However, the average noise level in the cafe serves to promote creativity as your brain processes thought. This is good. So, make lunch break an important part of your day!

© 2014 Dianna Mendez


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    • Lady_E profile image

      Elena 2 years ago from London, UK

      Awesome tips to bear in mind for the new Term. They are very healthy too. Thanks and hope you enjoy the summer holidays.

    • poetryman6969 profile image

      poetryman6969 3 years ago

      I always wonder when we forget to bring that nutritious meal we packed if we did that on purpose. Subconsciously. We actually didn't want those carrot sticks as much as we thought!

    • daisydayz profile image

      Chantele Cross-Jones 3 years ago from Cardiff

      I have this issue with my work job too, we don't have access to a fridge, microwave, kettle or anything actually, so it means everything we bring in either has to be eaten cold or somehow kept warm! And it just gets a little uninspiring sometimes having sandwiches or salad all the time. Which means I usually end up in the café if I want something tasty or hot, which financially adds up quickly!

      Ive been away from hubpages for almost a year due to work and life, but hoping to be back in 2015, but just wanted to swing by and say hope you had a merry Christmas and have a happy new year!!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      Hannah, if I could get away from to the school for lunch - it would be tempting not to return. I can see how it would help to lift spirits.

      SheGetsCreative, I am going to be toting a lot of salads this year for sure! Thanks for coming by and for your comment. Keep safe and well.

    • SheGetsCreative profile image

      Angela F 3 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Love the salad jar idea!

    • profile image

      Hannah Writes 3 years ago

      When I worked as a FT teacher, I used to go out every Thursday with my pals to get away from the school. It lifted our spirits and I enjoyed not having to brown bag it!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      WriterJanis, I love salads in a jar. It's a great way to save time in the morning and so good for your body. Enjoy your week!

      Eddy, thank you for the feedback. Hope you are having a wonderful week.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

      A very useful and well presented hub Dianna. Voted up and enjoyed.


    • WriterJanis profile image

      Janis 3 years ago from California

      The salad in the jar looks so good. What a great idea.

    • Brite-Ideas profile image

      Barbara Tremblay Cipak 3 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      In terms of my youngest who just started high school, I pack his lunch with health in mind, but he's such a health conscious person anyway he wouldn't let me do otherwise I'm sure. Was rather surprised at that pie chart above, wow. Also, the salad in a sealer is a great idea!

    • Suzanne Day profile image

      Suzanne Day 3 years ago from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

      I have a sedentary desk job and find that I have to eat less in order to stay awake and eat less carbs to remain alert. Preferred lunches include salads, tuna, olives and apples. I used to have leftovers, but they also put me to sleep so have moved onto the smaller meals and the snacking with fruit too. It's good to see so much awareness about health and nutrition by people with sedentary jobs! Now to exercise.....voted useful!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      Favored, I prefer packing a lunch from home too. It's hard to buy a good meal that meets your nutritional needs and it takes time from your break period if you have to buy lunch. Take care.

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 3 years ago from USA

      I was surprised at some of the choices for lunches. I like packing mine, but buying it out didn't hurt either.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      I love your visits and appreciate your feedback, DDE. A good lunch is a must for all teachers.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Eating healthy is the way to go and I like your suggestions.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      Peach purple, home is the best place for lunch but not usually an option for most of is. Enjoy your day.

      Epbooks, it saves lots of money when you pack a lunch. I do prefer my own food from home. You take care.

      Deb, I take a probiotic first thing each morning. It does regulate my blood sugar levels and cuts my cravings out for sugars. Keep up the healthy eating!

      Michelle, I enjoyed eating with my students when I had to but would have preferred my own lunch from home. Thanks for coming by and enjoy your day.

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 3 years ago from Singapore

      I like these quick and easy suggestions, Dianna! I ahead to eat with the kids often when I was teaching! Packed lunches is the way to go!

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Everyone has to have a balanced diet, so the extra few minutes is a good idea for food and recuperating during a busy day. I eat a lot of probiotic yogurt and gluten free cereals, which can be eaten at any time of day. My energy level is higher than it has ever been and I feel fabulous. Due to the probiotics, I never crave sweets any more, so I have dropped weight. It works for me, but might not for everyone.

    • epbooks profile image

      Elizabeth Parker 3 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      If I can help it and if I remember, I like to pack a lunch- at least I know it is somewhat healthy and in addition, less expensive than eating out.

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 3 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      if a teacher is staying far from school, no way to eat lunch at home. Either pack lunch or canteen food

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      Truthfornow, I get headaches when I forget to eat and drink water. It's something I need to remind myself of too, especially when writing. Good day to you and keep safe.

    • truthfornow profile image

      truthfornow 3 years ago from New Orleans, LA

      Some many days I get so busy and forget about lunch and drinking water, which results in the crash and burn. You have some great advice on the topic. Eat healthy foods gives you the boost you need to make it through the day. Good lunch ideas for not just teaches, but everyone.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      Suzette, we all work better when we are energized. Lunch helps. Glad I'm not the only one who forgets their lunch at home.

      Vandy, I remember those preschool lunches. Filling, but oh so basic. Thanks for the add to this post.

      Victoria, it's a real perk to be able to eat at home. I'm dreaming of it now! Enjoy your day.

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 3 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Great options! I usually pack something if I need a lunch--something easy that doesn't necessarily have to be refrigerated. Fortunately, a lot of the time, with my part-time teaching schedule at different places, I can just eat at home.

      That salad in a jar is a cool idea!

    • vandynegl profile image

      vandynegl 3 years ago from Ohio Valley

      Good hub! I am a substitute teacher and have already been planning how and what I will be taking for my lunches! It is such an important thing that I eat every few hours or so. Our lunches are fortunately without the children, for about a half hour. I DO remember when I taught preschool and we had to eat the same foods as them.....yuck!

      These are mostly healthy choices you have listed, and I DO see many teachers I work with eating very similar choices too. I have a stainless steel box to carry salads in now! I like the salad in a jar idea too!

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 3 years ago from Taos, NM

      LOL! I do the same thing, pack this great healthy lunch and then forget to take it with me to school. Your suggestions are great and ones I haven't even thought about before. I think you are astute to remind teachers that it is best to eat a lunch, whether packed from home or eaten in the school cafeteria. It is essential that we feel our best and have the proper energy to get through the afternoon. At times, a cup of coffee will do in the morning, but then I have to have a snack at 10 am. But, eating healthy and eating lunch is something teachers need to do for their students and to give a top performance of their lesson plan. Voted up and shared!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      Genna, I'm with you on not skipping lunch. I too overeat later if I do. Glad you came by today. Hope you get some rest.

      Vellur, I love taking leftovers, especially when it's easy to pack and doesn't need reheating. Good to see you today. Have a wonderful week.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 3 years ago from Dubai

      Great food choices to pack for lunch. It is always better to carry home cooked food because it is healthy and keeps us going. The salad in a jar is a great idea. Very useful, voted up.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      A salad meal in a jar…what a wonderful idea! I never thought of this. Lunch has become like that breakfast too many people ignore. If I skip a mean, especially lunch, I am twice as hungry at dinner time and eat too much before retiring for the evening. Not healthy at all. So I make sure that I eat what I can of anything healthy at lunchtime – even if it’s just cottage cheese and an apple. It makes quite a difference. Very helpful hub that was a delight to read.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      I much prefer food from home for the portion control. I tend to overeat when I visit the cafeteria. Good to hear your daughters are eating healthy. Hope your Sunday is a good one.

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 3 years ago from Orlando, FL

      I like the Salad in a Jar idea. I usually eat lunch at home. Home cooking is healthier and you know what you are eating. My daughters, who are teachers also bring lunches from home. Great advice!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      Sherry, I've experienced the no break lunch when I worked in the corporate world. You are right on that thought. Enjoy your day.

      Nadine, lots of variety but funny how I usually take the same thing everyday. Thanks for your add to the post. Be well and safe.

    • Nadine May profile image

      Nadine May 3 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      Is was interesting to read the different kind of lunches people take with them from home. Like the salad in a glass jar.

    • Sherry Hewins profile image

      Sherry Hewins 3 years ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      Great advice, I think people in office jobs have many of the same challenges with eating healthy that teachers have.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      Faith, I agree that this topic would help all careers. Lunch is an important part of a day that helps one to rejuvenate. Your comment adds value to the content and I thank you for it. Blessings, sweet lady.

      Pamela, I wish all people understood the positive long term effects lunch time has on health. Thank you for adding to the content. Be well and save.

      ChitrangadaSharon, I remember how much my administrative positions caused me to gain weight. There was little time to get away and when I did it was to pick up a fast food lunch - not a good choice! Your comment is valuable to the post. Enjoy your weekend, dear friend.

      Peg, I know how much a short 15 minute break does for me on any day. It is really does help you energize and focus. Thank you for commenting with such positive feedback. Enjoy your day and have a great weekend.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 3 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Your choices for lunch from home sound really nutritious and better than anything you can get from a vending machine or the school cafeteria. I heard some years ago that taking a real lunch break during which you do not attempt to do work gives employees a boost in performance during the afternoon.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 3 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Desk jobs do lead to weight gain, no doubt. I liked the picture showing the percentage.

      Carrying home cooked, healthy food to workplace is very important. You can manage your weight and save your money as well.

      Very thoughtful hub with excellent suggestions! Voted up!

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 3 years ago from United States

      I think this is a great hub for those that have to eat lunch out. Packing your lunch with healthy food sure has positive long term effects for your health. Very useful hub.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

      Wonderful ideas for packing lunches here for any career really. I work in the legal field and have to sit at the computer most of the day, and so that is not good. I really love the lunch in a jar idea, brilliant! I love salads too.

      Excellent topic for a hub.

      Voted up and more, pinned and tweeted

      Blessings always

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      Cyndi, school started here today. Hope your year goes well. Great to have your feedback. It means much to me.

      Olog, I've done it only a couple of times but it sure makes you miss it when break comes around. Use a big mason jar for a really good salad. Thanks for your support of the post. Take care and stay safe.

    • ologsinquito profile image

      ologsinquito 3 years ago from USA

      It is so frustrating to forget a lunch you've spent time packing. I like the salad in a jar concept.

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Calhoun 3 years ago from Western NC

      Love the jar lunch idea. Must incorporate this into my routine...desperately. Haha.

      I've been working at school all summer, but not teaching. But holy moly, all the meetings start up next week. Then the first day of classes after that and grad school classes. I'll be packing a LOT of lunches. :P

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      Jackie, they are good any day anywhere. They keep for up to 5 days and that's perfect for most of us. Enjoy!

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Oh I love that salad in the jar! I am just so lazy about salads cause I do love to put good for me stuff in it and it is a bit of trouble but these could be made up and ready for anytime...even around the house! Thank you Dianna! ^ and shared.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      Annart, your experience sounds so wonderful and I only wish all teachers could have the same environment. I am glad you stopped by and appreciate your comment.

      Nell, the choices today are so much better indeed. When I do eat at the cafeteria I always get the chicken salad sandwich. It is so good. I enjoyed your comment and humor.

      Kaili, I can't tell you how much salads in a jar make your life easier as a school teacher, or any type of career. You simply fill the jars with your favorite ingredients, make sure you put the dressing on the bottom, and it's ready to enjoy when you need it. It was good to see you here today.

    • Kaili Bisson profile image

      Kaili Bisson 3 years ago from Canada

      Voting with the the salad in a jar idea!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

      Hi, I have got to try the salad in a jar, what a great idea! I always took my own lunch, because the school food was terrible, but its said its really good now, we never had vending machines back in my day, but then it was the dinosaur age! lol!

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 3 years ago from SW England

      What a great idea for a hub!

      I could have done with some of this a few years ago. However, I ate with my students in the school dining room and fortunately we had cooks on site and they were good ones.

      Lunch was a relaxed break - we only had one duty each per week, overseeing students. I had little marking so didn't have to overlap with classwork.

      Added to that, our school was an old mediaeval manor house in beautiful gardens in an idyllic Somerset village. What more could we want? Lunch on the lawn, outside on the verandah, or inside with the students; we could choose and most of us varied the approach depending on the weather.

      This is great for those who haven't got time to worry about tomorrow's lunch. Well done!


    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      Froggy, that is wisdom shared. Good to see you here today!!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      Bravewarrior, you made great choices! Love your healthy snacks and how you kept them on hand for quick energy boosts. You added value to the post with your comment.

    • The Frog Prince profile image

      The Frog Prince 3 years ago from Arlington, TX

      Eat healthy and maybe live longer.

      The Frog

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 3 years ago from Central Florida

      I always (most times anyway) packed my lunch when I worked out of the home. I'd also keep healthy munchies at my desk, like mixed nuts and dried fruit, oatmeal, melba toast, raisins, and mini V-8 juice cans. Lunch was usually leftovers from the night before or a huge salad.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      Journey, the V8 drinks have some really good flavors these days. I was unaware of this until talking with people. I used to drink them years ago. Good to have your thoughts today.

      Bill, I think home cooked meals are the best. I don't know if I could have done it as well as you did. Thanks for your kind support.

      Ms Dora, there is a lot going on with the school lunch programs today. Even if bland, it's still better than going without. I hope they do up the choices though. Be blessed today.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

      I love the salad-in-a-jar idea. It is a pity that government lunches are substandard; a good lunch can be a teaching tool with benefits for life. Great article with good ideas for teachers.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      As a veteran I would have found this useful. As a first year teacher it would have been invaluable. I used to cook a big meal on Sunday and then reheat it all week for lunches. :) Good to see more articles from you, Dianna. You have a wealth of information to share with the younger crowd.

    • Journey * profile image

      Nyesha Pagnou MPH 3 years ago from USA

      These are great tips. I like the little electric thermos. I also like v8 fusion strawberry banana drink & the Naked brand green drink. Suggesting a v8 type beverage was just one of the many good ideas in this hub. I enjoyed reading it. Thanks.


      Journey *

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      Rebecca, I am sold on the jarred sakad idea. It is handy to pack and still fresh by Friday. Put an out of order on the machine for me!

      Greatstuff, I am lost without my first cup of tea or coffee... Even though it's decaf. : )

    • greatstuff profile image

      Mazlan 3 years ago from Malaysia

      Yes, I agree with Rebecca. Your salad in a jar is brilliant. I must admit this is the first time I had seen it!! By the way, coffee/caffeine is great for the 'thinking brain'. Hence, it is good for teachers as well as for students.

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 3 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      Thanks for the tips. It's hard sometimes to eat right on the job. Very helpful. Love the salad in a jar. I try to stay away from vending machines. Greek yogurt helps. It's so filling!


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