In my last post, I talked about breakfast, and now it’s lunch. I’m feeling a little bit of self-inflicted pressure to write about dinner next.
One of the most challenging things for me in eating well is eating away from home. I’ve written about this before, when I went a week without restaurants, and in the process found that it’s not as impossible as it seems to eat well on the go.
Let me be clear: packing lunch is a pretty new thing to me. Not since high school have I taken my lunch with me, well, anywhere. And why would I when there are Paneras and Chipotles and Noodles and Cos. everywhere? Well, for one thing, those ten-dollar lunches add up. Fast. So do the calories and grams of sugar in restaurant food. But those things are easy to ignore or deny. What really motivated me to steer clear of the lunch rush was going gluten free. I was feeling so good that I didn’t want to risk running into something that would make me feel tired or sick, especially in the middle of a work day.
Even with such great motivation, lunch is a tricky thing because it takes planning ahead. All meals do to an extent, but if I don’t have something ready for lunch the night before, I’m in trouble. There are some days when I am home during lunch and could cook, but I’m usually trying to budget my time so that I can grade papers because a teacher’s work is never done. But I have gotten into a pretty consistent groove of thinking and cooking ahead, meaning that I can simply open my fridge or my lunchbox and be eating in a matter of minutes.
In the interest of full disclosure, I must say that having my own kitchen has also made a huge difference in how much I cook and how prepared I am to pack lunch. It can be difficult to navigate sharing a kitchen and fridge with multiple roommates who may or may not keep things clean and organized. Say what you will about thriving in chaos, but for me organization matters. A lot. I’ve been planning a “tour of the kitchen” post for some time – stay tuned!
In the meantime, here are a few of my favorite lunch dishes that are easy to make and travel well (or sit in the fridge well) in Ziploc/Rubbermaid/Tupperware containers. Some are vegan, all are gluten free.
I also pack snacks to go along with lunch and to get me through the rest of the afternoon – usually raw veggies or a banana/apple/grapes and almonds or a combination of those. When I’m eating like this, I don’t have the 2:00 sugar crash, I’m satisfied, and I have so much more energy! And let’s be honest: it feels pretty good to go home at night and not have spent a dime the whole day. 😉