Washed out pictures of businessmen and women in over-starched dress shirts and blouses seated at rolling office chairs, staring blankly into outdated computers, and helplessly nibbling at a classic PB&J are probably racing through your head. Right?
Because that’s how I used to look at office lunch.
As a relatively new entry into the professional work world, I was clueless when it came to eating at work. I guess you could say I kind of went through phases. During my first phase, I would tote a little baggy to work everyday, similar to what I used to do in grade school. Lunch would generally consist of some-sort-of-lunchmeat sandwich, a bag of ruffled potato chips, and an apple. All that was missing was a juice box and a note from my mother.
Phase two was a little less planned. Most days I would bring some sort of a freezer meal, or a just-add-water type of lunch. But I would eat it right out of the microwaveable box. So unsatisfying. I quickly discarded this idea and went on to phase three.
Phase three…fast food junkie. At noon every day, I would religiously hit up any one of the fast food chains circling our office. Unfortunately, while I’m not knocking fast food, because let’s be honest, there are some reasonable choices out there these days, it really became expensive and, well, a little unfavorable to my waistline.
So. How did I overcome my corporate midday melodrama? I’ve got five tips that have helped me changeup my daily lunch hour. It’s not a perfect science, but I’ve definitely departed from my previous lunchtime lurch.
If your office or place of work has a small kitchenette space, use it! Eating your prepackaged meals or fast food (guilty!) out of the boxes and bags they came in can be kind of discouraging. Try plating your meals on washable, reusable dinnerware. It will help make them more appetizing to look at and eat, and by using reusable dishes, you’re also giving a tip-of-the-hat to the environment.
Some Assembly Required
I realize that not everyone will be able to take away this tip, but if you can, it’ll change your life. If you’re office has the luxury of a toaster, microwave or toaster oven- well then, get to toasting! Bring your lunch foods from home and then assemble them at work. Take the extra bit of time to toast your bread or melt your cheeses. Reheating last night’s pizza in a toaster oven compared to a microwave will make all the difference!
Leftovers Beat a PB&J Any Day
Bring your leftovers from last night’s dinner to work for lunch. Reheat it in your office microwave and enjoy what will surely be a more delicious meal than a standard lunchmeat-surprise sandwich and bag of ruffled potato chips. Also, your co-workers might be impressed with your culinary skills, which is always good for street cred- if you know what I mean.
Since you’re bringing leftovers, why not bring a little extra to share with your officemate? Being social at lunch can help make it seem a little less humdrum, and you might just make a new friend. Consider forming a lunch group with your officemates, where each person rotates bringing a dish from home. You’ll gain new recipes, and probably save a little bit of money.
Don’t Be Afraid to Splurge
Being chained to your desk all day long is really detrimental to your psyche, and in the long run can even be counterproductive to your workflow. If you can, force yourself to break away from your desk and treat yourself out to lunch at least once a week. Invite a friend or co-worker and meet for a quick bite, like a soup and sandwich, or try that new café that just opened down the street. Your weekly lunch date will give you something to look forward to, and help break up the rest of your workweek.
Hope you can find something helpful! What do you normally bring for lunch?