Five Awesome Lunch Ideas for the Skilled Trades and the Blue Collar Worker

Lunch ideas for construction workers


Like so many areas of modern life, the lunch break just isn’t what it used to be. From gluten-free to cruelty-free to what increasingly seems like taste-free food, the simple act of finding something good, convenient and affordable to eat for lunch can be a production. Gone are the days when two working class buddies like Ralph Cramden and Ed Norton could just bond over a lunch box and thermos on the park bench (so that was technically a Honeymooner’s episode, but you get the idea).

Plan Ahead

This one might seem like a no-brainer, but making your lunch ahead of time in bulk can take a lot of stress out of the work week. A pasta salad can be made a day or two ahead of time, and yield enough for a few meals. Depending on your job site, try to make food that won’t go bad after a few hours if you don’t have access to a refrigerator or microwave.

Pasta Salad

Start out with a basic pasta salad recipe, and then build it up with some protein according to your taste buds:

  • 1 can of chunk light or white tuna
  • Shredded chicken or beef
  • Ham
  • Regular or turkey bacon

Cold Omelets (Really)

A cold omelet recipe can be enjoyed any time of day and will keep well in a cooler or plastic container. It can be personalized with your favorite ingredients and eaten quickly on the go. Make it the night before, and enjoy with fruit, diced veggies or mozzarella string cheese on the side. You can even make it in a jar with a lid to make it easier to eat at work.

Additional 10 Minute Lunch Recipes

Here are a few more recipes that can be prepared in under ten minutes and packed to eat on the go:

  • Mediterranean Tuna Salad
  • Black Jack Tacos (Pro tip: pack the “insides” of the taco separately and put it all together right before you eat to keep everything fresh and to prevent the tacos from getting soggy)
  • Not sold on the cold omelet? Try a potato frittata instead!
  • Asian garlic noodles (like a pasta salad, noodles can be eaten hot or cold and packed with your favorite ingredients)
  • Spicy chili with fire roasted tomatoes (tomatoes optional)
  • Ramen Noodle Salad Legend has it that ramen noodles were literally invented by the working man in mind to have something hot, hearty, and delicious to eat on the job. While there’s nothing wrong with the pour hot water and stir type, the noodles can be cooked at home ahead of time and in bulk, and mixed with vegetables, beef, chicken, and whatever else you’d like to throw in.
  • Chicken salad You can enjoy a chicken (or substitute egg or potato for shaking things up) on its own, or in a sandwich with your favorite bread or in a pita. Like the tacos, keeping the salad and bread separate until you’re ready to eat will keep everything fresh.

Eat a Few Small Meals Throughout the Day

Taking a few breaks during the day may not be an option, but if eating or storing a big lunch is difficult or impractical, try breaking it down into smaller meals and snacks to every three to four hours to keep your energy up and to stay full all day. Nuts are packed with protein and good fats to help keep you going.

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