A Souper Way to Pack Lunch

Written by Aynsley Wong, an nth year Economics student who is completing a Certificate in Sustainable Community Development. Food and coffee are very important parts of her life.

A few of my sustainable New Year’s Resolutions were:

  • to eliminate lunch packaging
  • to eat healthier
  • to pack more lunches from home

Unfortunately for me, my schedule sometimes dictates that I start the day at 8:30 am on the Burnaby campus and finish at 9:20 pm at the Harbour Centre Campus, without a chance to stop at home in between. This means bringing breakfast, lunch and dinner with me! Since I travel by bus on my cross-town days, I need to keep everything as compact and portable as possible.

I try to bring a variety of grab-and-go foods and snacks so I can nosh on the run, since otherwise hunger + fatigue + a mild case of motion sickness on the Hastings bus can result in splurging on a massive plate of food court stir-fry and carbohydrate, served up on a styrofoam platter.

Some of my favourite on-the-go snacks are: granola bars, apples, rice cakes with nut butter, hummus, carrots, baby tomatoes, grainy salads made with leftover brown rice or quinoa, sandwiches on hearty bread, avocadoes.

I recently found a great online meal suggestion for Noodles in a Jar, courtesy of the Londoner Blog. It contains faaabulously gorgeous food photography, so those of you who are into food pr0n will definitely want to check it out! The gist of the idea is: at night, fill a canning jar with cooked noodles, chopped veggies and optional cooked protein (meat, tofu), season to your heart’s content (green onion, cilantro, miso paste, tom yum paste, kimchi) and refrigerate the jar overnight. In the morning, lovingly pack the jar (I wrap mine in a towel or pillow case). When you are ready for lunch, fill the jar with hot water.

Attempt #1: Partial success. Tasty. No photographic evidence.

Shanghai noodles, bean sprouts, cilantro, grated carrot, cooked and chopped bok choy, miso, tom yum in a quart jar.

I got the jar to campus in one piece. I boiled up a kettle of water in my DSU common room. Added said water to the jar. Stirred everything up with my chopsticks. While preparing to eat, I dropped my ceramic soup spoon on the ground and it smashed into a gazillion pieces. Minus a spoon, I attempted to get the noodles out of the jar. Clearly, the quart jar that I used was waaay too big. There was collateral damage to my workspace and soup everywhere. I was glad I had wrapped the jar in a tea towel, as I ended up using the towel as a makeshift apron, place mat and cleaning rag.

Attempt #2: Success!


   Image Credit: Aynsley Wong Meldrum

Black bean noodles, chopped cooked choy sum, grated carrot, miso and tom yum in a pint jar.

I got the jar to campus in one piece. I cruised into the Mackenzie cafeteria, filled up my jar with hot water and gave things a stir. It was easy to fish the noodles out of the jar with chopsticks and a metal teaspoon. Success!

I’m planning to bring the noodles in a jar a couple of times a week. Why don’t you give it a try? The Embark Bloggers want to know what you are bringing in your lunch, so send us a comment, or tag your Instagram photo with #embark.

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