What to get for lunch at Target
July 18, 2013 2:54 PM   Subscribe

The easiest place for me to get healthy food for lunch near my college campus is a Target with a grocery section. Keeping in mind that there is nowhere on campus for me to store any food, and that I already have enough to carry around in my backpack and so won't be taking multi-serving things out of the store with me (unless they are so light as to be not noticeable), what are some healthy single serving lunches I can make out of things I buy in Target's grocery section? I am not asking about things I can make at home and bring with me*; I'm talking about things I can get at Target and eat at the table in the front of the store, or take to a microwave I have access to on campus.

*I am no good at bringing my lunch, and frankly, I kind of hate it. This is not a question about packing and bringing lunch.
posted by ocherdraco to Food & Drink (26 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Do you have a specific definition of 'healthy' that you're going for, low-cal or low-carb or high-protein or organic or et cetera?

Is this one of those super-duper-Targets with something close to a real grocery store, with produce and canned food and whatnot, or one of the regular Target grocery sections that has a selection heavy on snacks and prepackaged stuff and single-serving beverages and whatnot?
posted by box at 3:05 PM on July 18, 2013

I can't remember if target has produce or not, but since you can't cook or have cold storage or any kind of prep, I'd just go pick up some apples, pears, bananas, baby carrots or whatever and call it a day.
posted by greta simone at 3:06 PM on July 18, 2013

Most Target stores carry frozen entrees from Amy's Kitchen and Kashi. Both are good but neither is particularly inexpensive.

I suppose a yogurt and some crackers might not be an unhealthy meal. Does your store have any produce at all?
posted by workerant at 3:06 PM on July 18, 2013 [3 favorites]

This might not work for you if you're pretty active through the day, but my husband subsists pretty well on one to two pieces of fruit and a more-substantial granola bar like a peanut butter Clif bar. Those should both be single-serve at most grocery store Targets.
posted by muddgirl at 3:06 PM on July 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

If your Target carries it, Sabra brand hummus is pretty excellent and tastes good on so many things. Beware the fruits at Target, though; all are coated and treated with sulfites for preservation. I personally no longer get fruits or veggies there because of that, but YMMV if you aren't sensitive to sulfites like I am.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 3:07 PM on July 18, 2013 [4 favorites]

I bought little packets of almond butter there the other day. Get something from the quasi-bakery area to spread it on. Or a packet of lunch meat and one of those small french bread-looking rolls. Mini carrots, banana, whatever fruit they're selling individually that day. Small orange juice, smoothie bottles, yogurt. I do wish they had more individual salads and things like Trader Joe's.
posted by sageleaf at 3:08 PM on July 18, 2013

- As workerant said above Amy's and Kashi have awesome frozen dinners. Kashis are actually suprisingly delicious.
- Yogurt
- Single-serving hummus and pita chips (I know Walmart has it so Target might)
- Apple, banana, or any piece of fruit that looks ripe and ready to eat
posted by radioamy at 3:10 PM on July 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: There is indeed produce at this Target.
posted by ocherdraco at 3:13 PM on July 18, 2013

Their Archer Farms branded snack boxes are pretty decent. My Target has them in the produce/deli section near the potato and macaroni salad stuff. I like the ones with hummus, carrots, snap peas and pita chips but they also have cheese, crackers, almonds and berry ones. My Target also carries grilled chicken ceasar salads and chef salads. Have you fully investigated your local Target? Each one carries different stock.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 3:22 PM on July 18, 2013 [3 favorites]

Some of the Archer Farms frozen meals are ok, and as someone said above, they also carry Amy's and Kashi. You could also buy a small bag of frozen mixed veggies to serve with your frozen meal.

Small "sleeves" of nuts, plus fruit and yogurt.

Some Targets have those little packets of tuna mixed with other stuff (typically pasta)

Uncle Ben's microwaveable rice packets have way too much salt, but the wild rice/brown rice medley served with some frozen veggies would be a decent lunch once in a while.
posted by lunasol at 3:33 PM on July 18, 2013

Apples and cheese, any kind you like. Cut up the apple and the cheese into slices and eat them together. Add some whole grain crackers if you want.
posted by mermayd at 3:33 PM on July 18, 2013

Greek yogurt with stuff in it where stuff is things you like. It's high in protein, the nonfat stuff is low in calories and fat and you can make it taste how you like. I usually like adding nuts and/or granola or something to give it crunch. The single serving things are decent sizes and if you had a mug or a bowl you could add a bunch of other stuff including bananas or fruit.

Other good options include string cheese + a roll + a fruit of some sort. Tuna sleeve + a roll + a fruit. Single cup-o-soups + a good raw veggie (I like bell peppers but there are also carrots and cukes and other stuff that is good). Basically you want something that will help you feel 1. full (so some bulk there) 2. healthy (so watch proteins and not loading up on junk) 3. like you want to have lunch (so something that is delicious that you might not normally get, I often go for fancy seltzers or small pieces of dark chocolate)

You also may find a place with a salad bar (I go for sliced beets and chicken strips often with only a bit of spinach) or pre-made wraps which are also decently good. The big thing is to find something that is more tantalizing and better for you than a plain old powerbar. Best of luck.
posted by jessamyn at 3:46 PM on July 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

A low-salt or "natural" type of microwave popcorn + apples or carrot sticks or both. Plus milk to drink or cheese with the apples.
posted by dahliachewswell at 3:56 PM on July 18, 2013

Our Target's here sell Noosa yogurt. Get a container of that, a piece of fruit, a granola bar (I'm hoping those sell in single servings, and a small bag of nuts or some string cheese.
posted by Area Man at 3:57 PM on July 18, 2013

Tins of flavoured tuna, crackers optional. Beef jerky. Packets o' nuts. Cheese sticks. Pepperoni. Yogurt. Ensure or other meal-repalcement drinks. Snack-type lunches are great!
posted by Pomo at 4:08 PM on July 18, 2013

Lunch meat roll up + Spinach Mix + Dressing + Piece of Fruit + Trail Mix + Water
posted by Nanukthedog at 4:20 PM on July 18, 2013

They have a substantial soup section, and a small Asian section with microwaveable rice bowls and udon-type soups. You'll need to carry a bowl or buy the nukeable container for the regular soup. They also have a pretty good selection of oatmeal cups and that sort of thing if you wanted to do breakfast-for-lunch.

They have a really good Archer Farms chicken-something sausage (feta-spinach maybe?), which I will eat wrapped hot-dog style in a tortilla. But I think they come in 5-packs which is more sausage than I imagine you want to eat in one sitting.
posted by Lyn Never at 4:21 PM on July 18, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks, everyone! This list gives me a great set of ideas to start from. And they all pretty much hit the mark for what I'm thinking of as "healthy" (though pretty much anything is healthier than the fast food and pizza places that are my other options).

Thanks, too, for the information that not all Target grocery sections are stocked identically. I should have realized that; it makes sense.

And finally, thanks for sticking to the parameters of my question (of course, if there had been some knowledge I was missing like "All Target food is made of soylent green. Avoid! Avoid!" that would have been helpful, too). This has been a really nice thread.
posted by ocherdraco at 4:34 PM on July 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

My Target has single-serving salads in the deli section. There's one with greens, blueberries, strawberries, walnuts & goat cheese which is very delicious.
posted by belladonna at 4:51 PM on July 18, 2013

My Target has really pretty good baguettes and mini-baguettes. I'd eat one of those with a yogurt or some cheese or something.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:38 PM on July 18, 2013

If they have a deli or a regenerated case with deli meats. Get sliced turkey, ham, whatever protein you want, (make sure the sodium is low) and then buy a bagged salad. Grab low gylcemic index fruit like berries for a carb, or a granola bar.
posted by Jewel98 at 6:22 PM on July 18, 2013

Sorry to be off target (ha ha) but if you are also, as I suspect you might be, near a Starbucks, I believe they have relatively healthy packaged sandwiches and the like. I also find I am happy with carrot sticks and hummus from Target, if that's not too snacky.
posted by mlle valentine at 8:41 PM on July 18, 2013

Our Target carries single-serve microwaveable Campbell's soup cups-- if you've got a microwave, that plus baguette or crackers would be nice on colder days.

Also, mozzarella sticks plus salt/pepper plus cut-up tomato are a delicious and protein-rich lunch, although you might have to keep a stock of salt/pepper packets collected from elsewhere (fast food joints, for instance).
posted by Bardolph at 2:27 AM on July 19, 2013

Our Super-Target has individual sandwiches and small servings of salads and soups. So that's one option.

Another option is the Einsteins Bagels. Get some deli meat or cheese, and a bagel, and make a bagel sandwich! Use the condiments at the Target snack bar, they have everything and then some.

Jif peanut butter makes a package of individual servings. Throw that on a Power Bagel and add an apple and you have a protein, yummy lunch! (The cups are light, so it doesn't violate your "multi-pack" rule)

When you have time, walk up and down the aisles and make mental note of all the yummy things they have.

This is very smart, you're saving storage space at home, you're getting your food nice and fresh and you get to go to Target every day! So much Win!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:05 AM on July 19, 2013

Nthing carrots and hummus

Brown rice with steamed veg; if you can snag some soy sauce packets, even better; steamed veg also works well with ramen

Greek yogurt plus single-serve cereal.

Oatmeal, add fruit if desired

Tuna salad lunch kit (or DIY this with a sleeve of crackers, a pack of pre-drained tuna and some mayo packets)

Amy's Burritos (these things are SO good)

As for multiserving things you could take with you, the thing that comes to mind are tortillas - you can create a wrap from the rice and steamed veg, hummus and veggies, or the tuna, or any number of things, and the remaining tortillas in the package would be super light to carry around the rest of the day.

If you can bring anything around with you, maybe make up a spice kit and leave it in your bag - either use ziplocks or maybe a pill case and fill with things like salt, pepper, garlic powder, red pepper flakes or cayenne, curry powder or garam masala, etc. That way you can easily schmancy up a bag of plain steamed vegetables, a package of plain hummus, etc. A pocket knife, if allowed in your area/campus, may also be helpful if buying raw vegetables.

You may also want to check out the edibles section on Cool Tools.
posted by melissasaurus at 7:34 AM on July 19, 2013

I also recommend Amy's, especially the burritos. They are easy to heat in the microwave and they are really good.
posted by Dolley at 8:28 AM on July 19, 2013

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