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It’s easy to build a lunch that you’ll look forward to.

Why pack a lunch? Let’s start with the math: Over 60 percent of Canadians spend more than $10 a day buying lunch. It doesn’t add up. While a homemade lunch is more affordable, it also allows you to control the nutrition and portion size. Plus, everything is packed in reusable containers, meaning less waste is created. Convinced yet? Read on for smart tricks to packing your daily lunch.

Go with Grains
Think beyond leafy greens as the base for a salad. Experiment with grains like quinoa, bulgur, barley and rice. They’re great as leftovers because they retain their texture when reheated and transport well. Check out our Guide to Cooking Grains for the best results.

Recipes to Try:

Add Fish to the Menu
Our Seafood Steamer makes lunch prep a cinch — and there’s no mess to clean up. Choose your seafood and flavoured butter or seasoning and cook it in the oven-safe bag at home the night before, or store in the office fridge and pop it into the microwave at lunchtime for perfectly cooked seafood every time (and no fishy smells). Top off a salad, nestle it in a bun for a sandwich or serve it with veggies on the side.

Recipes to Try:

Boost Your Salad
A meal-sized salad is satisfying enough to keep 3 pm hunger at bay and is a great way to use seasonal vegetables and last night’s leftovers. Mix and match grains, vegetables, dressings and add-ins (herbs, berries, toasted nuts or seeds) for something new every time.

Recipes to Try:

Mason Jar Salads
A Mason jar salad is a portable lunch that can keep up with your busy day. Layer ingredients into the jar the night before then simply shake it up before eating. Tip: layer dressing on the bottom and lighter ingredients on top to avoid sogginess.

Recipes to Try:

Keep it Cold
If it’s a really busy day, avoid the wait for the office microwave with a lunch that can be enjoyed cold. Dinner leftovers — like pizza, frittata or cold rolls — are good options as well.

Recipes to Try:

Prep 101
Stay one step ahead with these smart tips for packing your lunch.

 Make extra for leftovers
Cooked chicken becomes a tasty salad topper or sandwich filler, leftover rice or roasted vegetables make a great salad base, and a pot of hard-boiled eggs means easy sandwiches and snacks all week long. Alternatively, double whatever recipe you’re making for dinner and pack a portion for the next day.

Invest in a proper lunch bag and reusable containers

Think portability! Organized lunch storage means salad leaves won’t be weighed down by crudités and crackers won’t get crushed in a plastic baggie. Tiny containers or those with compartments to pack dips and toppings keep lunch ingredients separated and make it easier for you to assemble everything before eating.

Stock your pantry (and your fridge and freezer)

Our Pantry Essentials guide has ideas for spices, sauces and other staples to keep on hand so it’s easy to pull together a delicious lunch in a hurry

Stash essentials at your desk
Avoid carting things to and from home by taking advantage of your office storage space. If you have the room, keep items like cutlery, salt and pepper, olive oil, vinegar and sauces at work so you always have the essentials to dress a salad or snack.

When in doubt, make a sandwich

Need some lunch inspiration, stat? Get inspired with sandwich ideas that are a snap to prepare, easy to transport and go way beyond the standard PB & J.