Ideas for Taking Meals to the Field

As farmers prepare to work in the fields, I prepare to pack healthy meals for my farmer to take along while working. I grew up in a farm family and have been helping make and take meals to the fields most of my life, starting with my teen years in the ‘70s. Back then, many of the meals happened in the kitchen. Today, I work outside of the home and our farming is more widespread with long days in the field, so many meals come from lunch boxes. That’s why I have focused on helping to provide healthy choices for those away at work.

Late afternoon is a time when energy snacks are needed. I like to have fresh fruits on hand, such as bananas, oranges, apples, strawberries, blueberries, and grapes. Veggies are part of our plan too. Some favorites include:

  • Baby carrots with peanut butter
  • Cheese sticks with grapes
  • Nut mixes with dried fruits
  • Slim Jim® sticks

Salads replace chips for a delicious healthy toss-up and my guys love them. Whole grain and whole wheat breads for sandwiches are a great healthy choice, but those little Hawaiian sliders also make delicious smaller sandwiches and they are easy to eat while driving through the field. I use a frozen bottled water (sealed in a plastic bag) to help keep the lunch foods chilled. That water comes in handy as the day rolls on. I also include my home-brewed iced tea for a refreshing drink. Keeping plenty of drinks on hand is important so we keep a cooler full of water iced in one of the trucks. Finally, the guys do get spoiled with home-made cookies and pie for those extra special long days.

Lunch packing, especially when you are packing several lunches, is more successful when planned. I like to bag up snacks and treats ahead of time, sometimes freezing items that I can pull out and use when needed. Saturday or Sunday is usually my shopping and prep day, so everything is a quick grab come Monday. Once you get in the routine, it doesn’t take as much time as you think! Plus, ideas on social media can help with finding new ways to toss up the lunch hour.

I hope what I have shared inspires you with new ideas for nutritious snacks and lunches!

Authored by Illinois farmwife Sheila Marr