Lunches That Pack in 5 Minutes (or Less)

At Birchbox HQ, lunchtime usually means scarfing down a sandwich while trying our darndest to avoid sprinkling crumbs on our keyboard. But deskside meals don't have to be depresssing. Our friends at Food 52, a brilliant site that combines crowdsourced recipes, expert food content, and a curated shop, are here to help. This installment of their "Not Sad Desk Lunch" series offers 10 ideas for mid-day meals you can pack in less than five minutes.

This one goes out to all you busy bees who claim you don't have time to pack yourselves lunch, so you turn to delivery, or the deli across the street, or a frozen meal you'll try to revive in the office microwave, all in the name of saving time.

But wait! There are a whole bunch of lunches that you can pack at night, or even bleary-eyed in the morning, in just five minutes or less. Which is about the amount of time you spent chatting with Lisa about TPS reports this morning, or listening to "Man in the Mirror," so don't tell us you can't deal.

Here are some of our go-to packed lunches, ready in a jiffy:

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1. Avocado toast. It will never get old, and we'll never stop eating it. Bring in some bread, an avocado, and your salt stash, and you're good.

2. A shaved vegetable salad. It holds up well, even on the second day. Try sturdy vegetables like fennel, celery, and radishes, then toss them with herbs and dressing. Then add a protein, like tinned fish. Food52's Kenzi also likes this carrot salad from Orangette.

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3. Almond butter upgrade: Add chopped nuts, dried fruit, chia seeds, sweetener, or spice to that little tub of almond butter you were planning on eating atop toast for lunch. Extra points if you** make your own nut butter.

4. Hummus, pita, and sliced vegetables. Yes, a snack can be a lunch, if you pack enough of it. Especially when your hummus is homemade.

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5. Hard-boiled eggs—on anything, really. (Start with toast, salad, or grains.) Here's how we like to boil our eggs.

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6. Cheese and fruit sandwiches. Think cheddar and chutney, manchego and fig spread, or a soft, creamy cheese and strawberry jam.

7. Taco night leftovers. Make yourself a little picnic out of tortillas, shredded vegetables, cheese, and meat. Have a fiesta in your cubicle. Tequila not recommended.

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8. Baked sweet potatoes with last night's leftover pasta sauce. Bake the potato while dinner is cooking, or just bake it in the microwave once you get to the office. Poke it with a fork a few times before you nuke it, lest your office experience a lunchtime explosion.

9. Pack up a hodgepodge of grains, plus beans or lentils, and sturdy vegetables (cooked or raw), next to a jar of your favorite dressing.

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10. Congratulations! You've now made yourself lunch, in the same amount of time it took you to read an article about making lunch. Just make sure to pack yourself a cookie, too.

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Tell us: What are your favorite five-minute lunches?

Photos: Food52

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