Lunch, Lunch Baby: Five rules to make your lunch easy, enjoyable and practical

Lunch is the middle child of the daily meal family: not as fun as breakfast, nor as hearty as dinner. Many of us will cram not-quite-cold, not-quite-warm, not-quite-exciting food into our mouths while we are on our way from one point to another in our day.

Not until I became a lunch advocate did I realize how much I was missing—a moment of pause in my day and the opportunity for some finger-licking good foods. And with a few simple tricks, I was on my way to easier mornings, happier afternoons and a more robust bank account.

In this column, I will praise lunch for all that it is worth and provide some (hopefully!) useful advice about how to pack a healthy, delicious, fortifying lunch that will power you through all of the ups and downs of your day. you will find what my sister calls “lunch-spiration:” recipes, ideas, and a little sass.

Everything you’ll need to wrap in a tortilla and chow down.

Welcome to:
LUNCH, LUNCH, BABY.

Rule one: Yes, you should eat lunch.

To fuel your body and your mind, let me suggest that you rid yourself of the question “should I” if the second half of the question is “eat lunch”. Yes, you should. Even if you don’t have a healthy option, even if you have to buy something, lunch is a worthwhile investment. That’s why it’s a set aside part of every child’s school day.

Rule two: The best lunches come from dinner.

I try to pack a serving before I plate dinner, so that it’s all squared away, and we don’t accidentally eat everything! Then in the morning, I add a fruit and a vegetable and we’re good to go.

Rule three: The rule of multiple parts.

A happy lunch has contrast of texture, flavor and color. Simple additions like baby carrots or apple slices make a sandwich much more palatable!

Rule four: Dips are your friends.

Take those carrots or apple slices and swirl them in something sweet or spicy. Maybe some peanut butter enhanced with cinnamon or sriracha, maybe some yogurt sweetened with maple syrup.

Rule five: Eat at the right temperature.

If your lentils should be warm, find a microwave. (There’s one in the Campus Center for anyone to use!) If your salad with strawberry poppyseed dressing should be served cold, pack some frozen fruit in your lunch bag!

Tools of the trade

  • A lunch box that you actually like
  • Reusable silverware and sandwich bags — they pay for themselves!
  • A selection of grab and go fruits and vegetables in stock — baby carrots, apples, oranges, grapes, celery.
  • 15-20 minutes set aside daily for lunch, exclusively, no excuses!

Abbie Shain ’13 works in Alumni Relations.