5 Rules to Make Bringing Lunch From Home Easier

5 Rules to Make Bringing Lunch From Home Easier

I am a master of bringing my lunch from home. My habit was born out of post-college poverty and nurtured by a series of jobs in offices without many restaurants nearby. Now it’s deeply entrenched, which is good because the food options at my school are really gross. (Think about a 15-year-old boy’s list of favorite restaurants and you get the idea.)

So yes. Bringing lunch is good, for both your health and your wallet*. But we live in the actual world where the start of Daylight Savings Time means we snoozed for an extra 30 minutes and now there is no time to even make a PB&J before leaving the house, so what now, Lunch Master?

Here are the 5 rules I live by when it comes to bringing lunch from home:

1. Always double (or triple) what you cook. Good dinner leftovers are also known as the Best Lunch Ever because they require no additional work and taste so much better than a plain old sandwich. If you don’t want to eat the same thing in a row for several days, freeze the leftovers in individual containers for lunches next week or next month.

This rule also applies to lunch components like grains, beans, meat, roasted vegetables, dressings and hard-boiled eggs. Always make more than you need and store the rest for future meals.

2. Portion it up immediately. Some mornings you will not have the extra five minutes it takes to transfer that square of cold lasagne from the big container in the fridge to the small container you want to take to work. On those mornings you will be so grateful with Past You for cutting up the lasagne into individual portions and packing it in small containers last night after dinner. Sometimes Past You really sucks, but not this time.

3. Get to know your freezer. Some nights you’re too busy or exhausted or better-not-give-me-a-knife-right-now cranky to cook dinner, but that doesn’t mean you’ve screwed up the next day’s lunch too โ€” not if you’ve occasionally stashed a portioned meal or two in your freezer. You don’t have to get all crazy and apocalyptic about. There’s no need for 50 pounds of stew. Just fill a jar or two with soup whenever you make a big batch, or an extra helping of lentils and rice, and pop them in the freezer. You will be so happy on that frantic morning when you’re running late and you unearth it from under the frozen blueberries. Angels will sing, I swear.

4. Keep it fun. If you don’t like your lunch, you won’t eat it, or you’ll eat it while sadly watching your co-workers enjoy their panini from the place next door. Lunch isn’t supposed to be pathetic. Instead, try new recipes that you’ve bookmarked, make things you know you love, treat yourself with a special piece of chocolate or those super-expensive berries you usually can’t justify buying. A happy lunchtime is worth it.

5. Don’t forget it. I love this list of The Kitchn readers’ best tips for remembering to take your lunch. The most helpful? Put your keys in the fridge or in your lunch bag!

So that’s my list. What are your best tips for bringing your lunch to school or work?

* For the super finance nerds out there, you can even use this calculator to figure out how much money you’ll save by bringing your lunch.

   

{ 5 Comments }

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    1
    Joanna — March 12, 2013 at 5:59 am

    Ugh I need to do this. I’m a chronic under-buyer, so I need to get in the habit of buying enough for lunch.

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    2
    Kiran @ KiranTarun.com — March 17, 2013 at 10:35 pm

    Great tips, Anjali. Thanks for sharing — especially the one about remembering to bring lunch and where to keep the key ๐Ÿ˜€

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    3
    Chelsea — May 7, 2013 at 3:48 pm

    excellent tips and wonderful, wonderful blog. Your veggie-heavy recipes are totally up my alley, excited to start trying them ๐Ÿ™‚

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    4
    Amy P — June 3, 2013 at 3:59 am

    The keys tip is brilliant – thanks for passing it on!

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    shelly@ohshellsbells — October 20, 2013 at 6:55 pm

    hahaha the key tip is cracking me up. i just may gave to try it.

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