There is something subtly sexy about the brown bag lunch. Something mysterious. Something that makes you wait eagerly for lunchtime so that you can reach in and pull out…
Another uninspired, lacking inspiration sandwich.
Okay – so maybe it’s not as sexy and exciting as it seemed, I can understand why so many line up in the midst of lunch rush in the hopes of seeing something more stimulating than a sandwich land on their plates. Truth is though, with time being tight as it always is around noon, and prices of meals being what they are, often as not it is a sandwich anyway.
The good news is – packing your own lunch doesn’t have to mean an endless round of peanut butter and jam sandwiches. It can mean all kinds of delicious and wonderful things that will leave your fellow lunchers craning their necks and demanding, “What IS that?”
My solution for you is simple. It contains one of my very favourite words in the english language.
What if you could recreate that wicked yam curry you had for dinner last night at lunch time? Or those incredible burgers from Tuesday? Maybe even if you could slip in rice salad next to a perfectly cooked salmon filet? But oh yes you can! It’s as easy as cooking a little extra, planning ahead, and bringing your own cutlery.
First you will need some appropriate containers. Glass containers are the most durable and have the added benefit of being more neutral than plastic, but can be heavy if you walk, bus, or bike to work. They are completely microwavable however, which is great for achieving hot meals in the middle of your day. (and if you’re not set on piping hot meals, skip the microwave altogether and eat your lunch at room temperature.)
Stainless steel containers are nearly indestructible, but tend to outlast their plastic tops, and can make it difficult to locate items in the fridge since they are not transparent.
Lids that snap on tend not to leak, but you have to make sure you remove the rubber seal from time to time to really wash it thoroughly.
They all have some ups and downs, so I can only recommend picking whichever pros seem to outweigh the cons for you personally. Me, I have to confess, often use plastic ones with snap on lids. They are light, don’t leak all over my bag, and are reasonably long lived. In perfect world I’d use glass, but I get caught by the weight every time.
For great looking glass AND stainless options (they have much more than containers too) check out this link.
Second, just pack whatever it was you ate for dinner last night, or maybe the night before, into above mentioned containers and voila! Or, there’s no need to be fancy, meals that look like this:
can be seriously satisfying as well.
- If you’re bringing soup, put it in a large jam jar so it doesn’t spill (just take the metal lid off before you warm it up.)
- If you’re bringing salad, pack your dressing separately so the lettuce doesn’t get soggy.
- If you have fish or rare steak, don’t heat your lunch up too much (if at all) or you will have overcooked protein.
- If you’re worried about quality pack spaghetti, soup, or grain salads – they all taste better the next day anyway.
- If you work in an office where you can, bring a plate and real cutlery that you keep at work. You’ll be amazed at the difference it makes to eat off of a plate rather than out of a container.
- If you’re worried about not having time to pack a lunch in the morning get it ready the night before, so all you have to do is put it in your bag.
My challenge to you this week is simple. Pack your lunch once, just once (or once more than you usually do) and see how it feels. Maybe it’s a little bit awkward at first, but also – isn’t it a little bit liberating? Wasn’t that totally delicious? Doesn’t it feel like there is the possibility for lunch to become a truly enjoyable meal?
I’d love to hear about what you pack for yourself, or if you’re need any more inspiration just send me a note!
Happy brown bagging all…and please don’t (as I so often do) forget your cutlery!