My little sister Trish recently began her career as a working woman. Now that she is confined to an office for eight hours a day she has realized the importance of packing a filling and healthy lunch. To help her out I've put together a bunch of lunchtime tips. These helpful hints can be applied to both those who are in the work force and those who are in school.
- Maintaining variety is vital to brown bagging. Having the same lunch every day can be incredibly depressing. With creativity, a delicious lunch can totally brighten your day.
- Make your food more alluring than the nearby fast food chains. Sandwiches with quality ingredients like proscuitto, mozzarella, and fresh herbs will have you looking forward to lunch in the morning.
- Don't buy single serving packs of chips. Instead pack a small amount in a zip lok baggy. This discourages over eating and saves money.
- Make lunches in separate compartments to avoid soggy lettuce or soggy bread in sandwiches. For example if you bring a salad, put greens in a large tupperware. Stick each of the ingredients (chopped tomatoes, garbanzo beans, sliced mushrooms, etc) in small plastic baggies. Wrap any cheeses in foil. Place the dressing in a small tupperware container. Add the baggies to the tupperware of greens when packing the lunch. Do the same with sandwiches.
- Keep fast food packets of mustard, ketchup, mayo, salt, and pepper in your desk drawer for days when meals lack luster.
- Jazz up sandwiches with interesting condiments. Olive tapenades, sun dried tomato pestos, or horseradish mayonnaise will add excitement to turkey and cheese.
- Pack lunch in a cute fun container. It will make an emotional difference and is a nicer presentation than a brown bag.
- If your office has a microwave or toaster oven, bring leftovers for reheating.
- Invest in a thermos because they can retain both heat and cold. Before filling the thermos, pre-fill with either boiling water or ice to ensure maximum warmth or coolness.
- Don't forget to wash your lunch containers!
- If you are making a lunch for a family member or loved one, include a simple note or clipping inside. Sometimes, all it takes is an, "Enjoy your lunch!" to turn someone's day around.
- Remember we all need to eat lots of fruits and veggies, so pack them in your lunch.
- If you are friends with some folks in the office, organize a lunch pool where everyone makes lunch one day of the week. You'll only have to make lunch one day and it's easier to make five of the same lunch rather than five different lunches.
- If you stick to your meals, reward yourself every once in awhile. Go out to eat with a friend or treat yourself with a cookie from a local bakery. Likewise, allow kids to get lunch from the school cafeteria every once in awhile.
For the rest of my tips, including how to stop sandwich sogginess, read more
What do you do to make your lunchtime more exciting? Please share your tips and ideas below!