This can be a really tricky topic, because a lot of people feel like they’re being looked down upon if they bring their lunch with them. I try to bring my lunch as often as I can, people get used to it and so do you. Sometimes it’s not possible, and it is nice to go out to eat with your colleagues, especially when you’ve just started a new job, but not only does takeaway food have the amazing ability to quickly add inches to my waistline, but it’s a really expensive habit.
Most of my coworkers also got on the bandwagon about bringing your own lunch and were generally really easy going about it. I think I’ve been very lucky. In some cases we shared bringing lunch for each other on alternate days of the week, when it suited, and that was great because you get to try something you don’t normally cook for yourself and learn new ways to cook things.
It’s especially easy to do when the weather is good, and I like to walk to somewhere where I can firstly stretch my legs a bit and then relax and be outside and eat. I really just wanted to give some ideas about what I did to make it a routine, as it has really helped me to save some of my hard-earned cash :)
An old flatmate of mine used to buy a large head of lettuce (as you might have read before, iceberg hasn’t much nutritional value, so better to choose another option), wash it and pick off its leaves on a Sunday. Then she would wrap the clean leaves in a damp teatowel and put the teatowel into a plastic bag. That way she had lettuce to-go all week. I like to pre-wash some cherry tomatoes and a cucumber, and then divide up the cucumber in to quarters and you can just lift these items into a tupperware bowl on the weekday morning and finish slicing at work. I sometimes cook some extra beans or chickpeas on Sunday also to throw in. Some ideas are:
- Walnuts and Goats Cheese and Pear
- Sundried tomatoes and mozzarella sprinkled with basil and olive oil
- Apple, walnut and raisin with some mayo
- Feta Cheese and Olives
This is normally a Monday lunch, because i can oven roast the extra veg along with my sunday dinner. Then I would make some couscous that morning. There is no need to stand boiling couscous, I just take my muesli bowl and third fill it with couscous and cover it with boiling water plus one centimeter and put a small plate on top to let it steam for a few minutes. When it’s done (not hard anymore), I scrape it out into a bigger bowl with a fork (fluffs it out) and mix it with some herbs – I like to use a dried turkish or greek herb mix and some good olive oil, salt and paprika. Or a curry mix tastes good too. That’s it! You can add raisins or fresh herbs to it. Put it in a little ziplock bag or tupperware box with some of the oven-roasted vegetables and some sour cream for a lovely light lunch.
I will talk about easy soups in a different post.
I like to use the roasted vegetables in a pitta bread with some Tzaziki or some home-made Hummous as a sandwich sometimes too.
5. Potato Salad and a big Meatball
I think this is a very german thing, but it’s a great way to use up some leftover potato gratin and/or a homemade burger!
6. Bento Lunch
This will require it’s own post to explain fully, but it could be a while before I get around to that, so to explain briefly, this consists of some pre-cooked, pre-portioned frozen rice, thawed plus some leftovers from roast meats, some homemade pickles, and or vegetables (a favourite being sesame spinach).
Other than that, sometimes if I have dinner leftovers, I can bring that too. I would always bring some fresh fruit to cut up for a 11am fruit break (a lesson learned during my time as an intern) and some trail mix for snacks or a surprise working late session. It sounds like I eat very healthily but I love sweets too. I try to eat them after my lunch with a cup of tea or coffee though. In the past when I was dairy-free (doctor’s orders) I made muesli bars and banana bread for tea/ coffee break.
These are my staples for work lunches, if you have an idea you’d like to share, please feel free to comment below!