When packing a lunch to bring to work or school that contains Mexican flavors and ingredients, there are many delicious and nutritious options to choose from. Some key considerations when deciding what to pack include portability, nutrition, variety, and of course, taste. Here are some quick answers to common questions about packing a Mexican-inspired lunch:
What are some portable Mexican lunch ideas?
Some great portable options for Mexican lunch ideas include:
- Burritos or wraps – Fill a tortilla with rice, beans, meat, cheese, etc. and wrap in foil.
- Quesadillas – Grill a tortilla with cheese and other fillings, then carefully wrap in foil.
- Tacos – Fill soft corn or flour tortillas with protein, veggies, salsa, etc.
- Tostadas – Layer crispy corn tortillas with beans, lettuce, cheese, etc.
- Mexican salad – Build a salad with mixed greens, beans, corn, avocado, cotija cheese, etc.
- Chips and guacamole – Pack store-bought or homemade chips and guac in separate containers.
- Fajitas – Grill meat and peppers, pack in a container with tortillas.
The key for portable Mexican dishes is wrapping foods like burritos and quesadillas well in foil to avoid leaks and bringing toppings like salsas, guacamole, and sour cream in separate leak-proof containers.
What are some nutritious options for Mexican lunch foods?
There are many healthy and nutrient-dense options for Mexican lunches including:
- Chicken, steak, shrimp or tuna – Lean proteins provide energy.
- Black beans or pinto beans – Excellent source of fiber and protein.
- Brown rice – Whole grain that offers complex carbs.
- Vegetables – Onions, tomatoes, peppers, lettuce add vitamins.
- Avocado – Healthy fat and fiber.
- Greek yogurt or cotija cheese – Calcium, protein and probiotics.
- Corn tortillas – Provide fiber and minerals like iron.
- Salsa – Can be low calorie and contains nutrients from veggies.
Avoid highly processed ingredients like refined flour tortillas, sour cream, cheese sauces, and greasy meats like chorizo when trying to keep a Mexican lunch healthy.
What are good Mexican lunch items for variety?
To keep Mexican lunches exciting and diverse, rotate between different fillings, toppings, and vessels including:
- Proteins – Chicken, steak, carnitas, shrimp, tuna, eggs, beans
- Bases – Tortillas, rice, lettuce, cabbage, zucchini boats
- Cheeses – Cheddar, cotija, queso fresco, Monterey jack
- Veggies – Tomatoes, onions, peppers, cilantro, lettuce, spinach
- Salsas and sauces – Tomatillo, ranchero, verde, mole, crema
- Toppings – Guacamole, pico de gallo, queso, lime wedges
Vary the fillings and toppings and switch up how you eat them in tacos, burritos, salads, and other vessels to keep your lunch routine exciting.
What should I pack to keep a Mexican lunch from getting soggy?
To prevent Mexican lunch items from getting soggy:
- Pack wet ingredients separately – Keep lettuce, tomatoes, guacamole, salsa, and dressing in separate leakproof containers.
- Use firm produce – Choose crunchy vegetables like shredded cabbage and radishes.
- Wrap tightly – For burritos and quesadillas, wrap tightly in foil to prevent leakage.
- Wait to assemble – Assemble tacos and tostadas right before eating to keep crispy.
- Use hearty vessels – Taco salad in crispy tortilla bowls stays crunchy.
- Pack chips separately.
What are satisfying Mexican proteins to pack?
Some of the most satisfying and delicious Mexican protein options to pack include:
- Grilled steak or chicken – Dice or slice into strips.
- Carnitas – Chopped, braised pulled pork.
- Chorizo – The perfect taco meat, add to eggs too.
- Shrimp – Grill or saute shrimp for fajitas or tacos.
- Seared tuna – Brush with spices and sear tuna steak.
- Refried or black beans – Mash beans with onion and epazote.
- Tofu – Marinated, grilled extra firm tofu.
For best results, marinate proteins in Mexican spices, cook thoroughly, let cool, and pack in an airtight container. Pair with salsa for added flavor.
What are good Mexican vegetables to include?
Some excellent Mexican vegetable options for lunches include:
- Tomatoes – Dice and add to salsas or pico de gallo.
- Onions – Thinly slice red, white or yellow onions.
- Peppers – Thinly slice jalapenos, bell peppers or chili peppers.
- Avocado – Mash or slice for guacamole.
- Lettuce – Shred or chop romaine, green leaf or iceberg.
- Cabbage – Shred green or purple cabbage into slaws.
- Radish – Thinly slice radishes for a peppery crunch.
- Corn – Grill corn on the cob or add kernels.
Pack crisp veggies in separate leakproof containers and add to wraps, bowls, tacos, and other vessels right before eating.
What are good Mexican sauces and salsas to pack?
Great Mexican hot sauces and salsas to pack include:
- Pico de gallo – Diced tomato, onion, jalapeno, lime, cilantro.
- Salsa verde – Tomatillo, onion, garlic, jalapeno.
- Salsa roja – Tomato, chili pepper, onion, garlic.
- Guacamole – Mash avocado with lime, onion, cilantro.
- Sour cream – Cooling tangy cream sauce.
- Mole – Savory and slightly sweet sauce with chili peppers.
Pack sauces in leakproof containers and add as finishing touches to Mexican dishes right before eating to keep the flavors vibrant.
What are some Mexican lunch sides?
Some savory side dishes that pair perfectly with Mexican lunches include:
- Rice – Cilantro lime, Spanish rice, or brown rice.
- Beans – Black, pinto, or refried beans.
- Corn – Grilled corn on the cob or kernels.
- Salad – Chopped veggies with lime vinaigrette.
- Chips and dip – Corn chips with guacamole or salsa.
- Slaw – Cabbage slaw with cilantro dressing.
Sides provide a bed for main ingredients and extra flavor and nutrients. Heat side dishes thoroughly and pack in airtight containers.
What are good Mexican lunch desserts?
Satisfying sweet options for Mexican lunches include:
- Churros – Cinnamon sugar fried dough.
- Flan – Smooth, rich custard.
- Tres leches cake – Sponge cake soaked in three milks.
- Arroz con leche – Sweet rice pudding.
- Champurrado – Chocolate corn atole.
- Mexican chocolate – Spiced dark chocolate squares.
- Fruit – Mango, pineapple, watermelon, jicama.
Portable Mexican desserts like churros and fruit packed with an ice pack make sweet additions to lunch. Enjoy rich tres leches cake or flan at home.
What are good drinks to pack for Mexican lunch?
Quenching drink options for Mexican lunches include:
- Agua fresca – Fruity infused waters like horchata or melon.
- Limeade or lemonade – Bright, tangy citrus drinks.
- Hibiscus tea or jamaica – Floral herbal iced tea.
- Mexican cola – Made with cane sugar, great with meals.
- Horchata – Sweet rice milk accented with cinnamon.
- Fresh juices – Pineapple, orange, carrot, or green juice.
Pack drinks in bottles, jugs, or thermoses with ice to keep chilled. Citrus juices, agua fresca, and hibiscus tea make refreshing pairings with Mexican food.
How should I pack a Mexican lunch to keep ingredients fresh?
To keep Mexican lunch ingredients fresh:
- Prep produce at home – Chop veggies and make salsas and sides in advance.
- Use ice packs – Place ice packs with protein, guacamole, dairy to keep cold.
- Store in reusable containers – Glass or stainless steel retain freshness.
- Heat up leftovers – Microwave grains, proteins, beans to safe temperature.
- Assemble before eating – Keep crispy and wet ingredients separate.
- Eat perishable items early in the week – Guacamole and fresh juices on Mon/Tues.
Proper storage and quick reheating keeps Mexican lunch ingredients safe and fresh all week long.
What are good containers for packing a Mexican lunch?
The best containers for packing Mexican lunches include:
- Insulated lunch bag – Keeps food chilled for hours.
- Reusable sandwich and snack containers – For proteins, grains, veggies.
- Small dip containers – For guacamole, salsa, dressing.
- Burrito foil or wraps – Keeps burritos contained.
- Thermos – For piping hot rice, beans, soups.
- Reusable beverage bottle – Cold drinks stay chilled.
- Utensils – Fork, spoon, and napkins.
Invest in a set of portable containers in different sizes that seal tightly. Wash and reuse to reduce waste.
What food safety practices should I follow when packing Mexican lunch?
To safely pack a Mexican lunch:
- Cook proteins thoroughly – Reheat fully before packing.
- Use an insulated bag and ice packs – Perishable items need to stay chilled below 40°F.
- Reheat leftovers to 165°F – Use a microwave to quickly reheat grains, proteins, and side dishes.
- Pack sauces separately – Prevent contamination of other ingredients.
- Clean reusable containers thoroughly – Use hot water and soap after each use.
- Wash produce – Rinse fresh veggies and fruits before packing.
Following basic food safety guidelines prevents bacterial growth and protects you from foodborne illness when enjoying Mexican lunch.
With so many tasty ingredients and flavor combinations, Mexican lunches offer a delicious and hearty break in your day. Include favorites like tacos, burritos, fajitas, and packed with nutritious proteins, grains, veggies, and sauces. Follow food safety guidelines, use ice packs and insulated bags, and pack wet ingredients separately from dry. With thoughtful meal prep and storage, you can enjoy fresh, satisfying Mexican flavors for lunch each day.