Packing a Manly Lunch

foods for a man lunch box

For a long time, my husband’s job was only a couple blocks from our apartment, so he would come home on his lunch break to fend for himself. But now, he’s got a new job that’s out of town and he can no longer swing home for food. On his first day, I packed him a lunch that I would have packed for me … but then he came home and reported that it wasn’t enough to tide over his manly appetite. So I put in a plea for ideas to fill man tummies from my wise sister in law and online, consulted Pinterest, wrote a few lists of my own and now have a pretty good grasp of what it takes to subside a big appetite during the workday.

Ideally you’d have enough leftovers from the previous day’s dinners to pack up as a lunch, but sometimes you just can’t do that. Here’s a list of foods that we like in our household that work great in lunches — for your man or for you!:

Main dish

meat, cheese and veggie
tuna salad
chicken salad
egg salad

-homemade pizzas (even the English muffin or bagel kind!)

-hot dogs or sausage

-pickledinks (or ham, cream cheese and pickles rolled up in a tortilla)


-big salads with black beans

-pasta salad

Sides and fillers

-Cuties or Halos

-other fruit – banana, grapes, apple

-crackers with peanut butter

-celery with peanut butter (and raisins if he likes ’em for ants on a log)

-carrots or broccoli with ranch

-hard-boiled eggs

-baked beans

-Hawaiian rolls

-chips with dip or salsa

-pudding cups


-fruit cups

-granola bars


-cashews or other nuts

-cheese sticks or cubes

-pretzel sticks

-cookies or bars

man lunch box close up

As a last resort, have some frozen burritos, hot pockets, canned soups, Ramen cups, prepackaged macaroni cups or tuna salad mixes on hand he can grab during times you’re running low on the good stuff.

Make it fun and get a new lunchbox, new storage containers with dividers, some small resealable cups for salsa, dressing, etc. It makes it more fun for you to pack and him to eat! (Not that the wife must always pack her husband’s lunch. Cal often packs his own, but sometimes I like to do it for him for fun.)

Oh, and always include a love note!


15 thoughts on “Packing a Manly Lunch

  1. I remember you tweeting about this a while back. Great job…most of those things are items I know D puts to use in his own lunch. I’ve only packed his lunch a couple of times…but since we don’t live together yet, there’s not as much opportunity to do that. However, I will keep this in mind when the time comes! 😉

    • Thanks! Definitely keep in mind for later:) I think the key is to just load it up with more than you think he can physically eat to make sure he won’t go hungry and aim for something from every food group so that he gets a balanced meal too.

  2. Jello pudding, applesauce AND cookies? Cheese on the sandwich AND a cheese stick AND crackers? That’s an awful lot of processed foodstuff and expensive individual packaging. I love my husband and want him healthy for a long time. He won’t be eating any of this garbage you’re shilling, thanks. I guess you feed your children this kind of stuff too.

    • Hello Alyssa,

      Thank you for taking the time to comment on my post! I sure do wish I had more time to home cook organic foods from scratch for everything my husband consumes, but since time and money are barriers to many working women these days, it’s quite a bit easier said than done. All we can do is our own personal best, so for us, I guess “garbage” is the best. I am grateful that I am able to put any amount of food on our table and in our lunchboxes as many people around the world, and our own country, struggle so much more to even meet their minimum basic needs.

      I sure do hope that you have a blessed day.


      • I love this response, Amanda!! I do my best to make sure my honey has enough to fill his belly and try to be as healthy as possible doing so but you are so right…TIME and MONEY are always factors!! And regardless of the fact that some days we eat “garbage”, thank the good Lord we have food to eat!

        Blessings to you! 🙂

      • You are too sweet, I SO appreciate your kind reply. All we can do is our best, and stay thankful for that. Thank you for your nice comment, it actually means the world to hear an encouraging reply after the prior one. Bless you.

      • Wow.. I bet Alyssa is a fun time at family gatherings.

        Anyway, thank you Amanda for taking the time out of your day to write this! I have a really hard time coming up with new ideas, and composing a concise list of items for the store. This list is great! It will definitely help me on my next shopping trip!

        Also, I just want to say that was a great response to Alyssa’s comment and her negativity. I have to commend you for being so civil and articulate. As wives, moms, basically humans-can’t we just be nice to one another. We are all doing the best we can, with what we have.

        Alyssa, I am sure it must be hard (and exhausting!) being perfect all the time. In fact, I’m surprised you had the time to read this post, decide that you didn’t agree with anything in it, yet continued to read it, and then post a negative and (let’s just say it-shitty) comment about it. We all thank you for taking time out of your busy day to pass on your words of wisdom-you can go back to judging the world now. I really honestly do not understand why people feel the need to scroll online, just be so a condescending and hateful as* to someone they don’t even know! But kudos to you Alyssa! Your comment pissed me off enough that it motivated me to write my first ever comment on a blog-and look I’m being hateful (just like you!). What a viscous cycle huh??

  3. Thank you so much for the ideas. With a husband with a big appetite I run out of ideas. I always make sure he has two to three different kinds of fruit, but I do run out of ideas. I will always come back to this site for stumpers for his lunch. I also love your response.

  4. Amanda.. thank you for the Ideas! I pack my adult son ‘s lunch. He picks it up every Morning! He has a huge appetite with no microwave available. $ is an issue.. healthy Too! Think your lunches are GREAT! Bet Stephenie doesn’t even pack lunches!!

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