9 Dinners That Make Barn Friendly Lunches

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When making time to get to the barn consistently is a challenge, eating healthy can fall lower on the priority list. Avoid the temptation to run through the drive through with dinners that do double duty as leftovers for lunch.

9 Dinners that make Barn Friendly Lunches with

Caprese Tortellini

This dish is both a simple dinner and a fabulously delicious lunch. Tortellini and Caprese Salad is a favorite combination of mine when I’m having friends over because it is so quick to put together that I don’t spend half the time in the kitchen before we sit down to eat. Then, I can toss the leftovers together in one dish for the perfect on the go lunch. I toss it into a mason jar with a plastic fork and eat whenever I have a few minutes.


Today’s meatloaf doesn’t have to the ketchup smothered traditional version. With a number of ways to lighten this dish, it is also the perfect way to create some on the go lunches. Besides the usual leftover plate, taking one simple step will let you stash extra lunches in the freezer. Whenever I make meatloaf, I double the recipe and use a muffin pan  to make mini-meatloafs that are perfect for an on-the-go lunch!

Roasted Pork Tenderloin

Pork tenderloin is one of those meals that looks much fancier than it is. As an excellent source of lean protein, a pork tenderloin is flexible enough to season  in a hundred possible ways. Rub with olive oil, season generously with your favorite spices, and cook at 375 degrees until a meat thermometer reads 155 degrees. Let it rest, covered with foil, until it hits 165 degrees. After your dinner, slice the remaining tenderloin in half inch thick slices and pack up with a large green salad to eat cold or at room temperature for lunch the next day.

Roasted Chicken

Just like pork tenderloin, roast chicken is incredible versatile and perfect for leftovers. Even better, if you don’t want (or don’t have time) to make a whole roast chicken from scratch you can pick up a rotisserie chicken at most grocery stores. Have a healthy dinner of chicken with roasted vegetables, then use the leftover chicken to top salad or with baked sweet potato for lunch the next day.


Chili is good for more than tailgating! Especially during the colder months when you might need a little warm up before or after your ride, chili makes an excellent on the go option. There is a tremendous variety of chilis from traditional to meatless to chicken or turkey based. If you don’t have a microwave available, heat your chili on the stove top in the morning while you’re making coffee and put it in a thermos to stay warm for lunch.

Potato Salad

While the traditional potato salad is loaded with calories and requires careful refrigeration, this Spicy Sweet Potato Salad from food journalist Mark Bittman  is a completely different experience.  Sweet potatoes high fiber content provide a stable energy for your ride while the dressing and scallions tie everything together with a bright note. Like so many good dishes, this salad will make a perfect side dish for dinner and get even better for lunch the next day. Add some roasted chicken, pork tenderloin, or a mini meatloaf stashed in the freezer for a well-balanced meal!

Baked Eggplant Parmesan

Lasagna, while great for leftovers, isn’t terribly barn friendly  since it can be awkward to eat on the go. A more portable option with similar flavors is Martha Stewart’s Baked Eggplant Parmesan is easier to eat with a plastic fork and can easily be prepared in smaller “stacks” for an easier to pack lunch.


The ultimate choice for leftovers has to be stirfry – and when you make it at home instead of opting for take out it can take any form. Stirfry is an excellent way to clean out the vegetable drawer and use leftover chicken or pork. To maximize the health benefits, opt for traditional Tamari instead of the standard grocery store soy sauce.

Quinoa Salad

Add some variety to your dinner plans with quinoa – a nutty grain similar to rice that cooks quickly and translates to delicious leftovers. Build a better burrito bowl with this Black Bean and Tomato Quinoa salad from epicurious. Originally from the July 2007 issue of Gourmet Magazine and clocking in at less than 400 calories per (massive) serving, it gives healthy food a good name.

What are your go to leftover lunches?


Digital strategist Kristen Smith, author of If The Saddle Fits, offers equestrian bloggers a place to learn, grow and connect with Blogging From The Barn. She holds multiple nutrition certifications and at her day job, helps equestrian professionals and businesses to harness the power of social media at KLSmith Creative.

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