My embarrassing lunchtime confession

by Ginger on October 5, 2010

in Day in the Life, I'm a Disaster

I have an embarrassing confession to make.

I’m really, really, really bad about bringing my lunch to work.

Like, I buy lunch almost every day.

Even when I know I shouldn’t.

It’s a problem.

I know I should bring my lunch. I know I’ll save money, won’t eat so much junk, will probably lose weight (I was thinner in some ways during my maternity leave than I am now. This makes me sad, but I blame lunch). But I find it ridiculously hard to leave the house on time in the morning WITHOUT making lunch, so that’s my first problem. My second problem? Embarrassingly, it’s that I have a hard time making myself use the refrigerator at work (N.C. if you’re reading this, I *don’t* want to hear it! I know it’s ridiculous), so lunches that require refrigeration? Generally don’t last as long term solutions.

So, going back to my post yesterday and the idea of asking for help & utilizing the skills of those around you…

Help! I need lunch ideas. That are 1)make-able the night before 2)don’t require refrigeration (for the most part) and/or 3) aren’t ridiculously bad for you (a little bad for you is ok).OR, if you have some great go-to buyable lunches, I’d be down with hearing about those too. I’m not above pre-packaged!

Right now, when I do bring lunch, it’s usually leftovers from things like enchiladas (a rare refrigerated item), salads from Trader Joe’s, or pre-packaged soups. On the rare day when I wake up early enough, I’ll make a sandwich (most sandwiches get too soggy if made the night before). But mostly, I end up walking across the street to the deli, or driving over to Burger King, or any number of other poor choices. I need to make a change, though so…any ideas?

Sizzle October 5, 2010 at 4:55 pm

I have to ask- whatis wrong with the fridge at work? Is it gross? Us the freezer not useable? Trader Joes has a bunch of options that are frozen that would be ideal in a pinch. Or sometimes they have pouches of rice or lentils or soups or Indian food you can just microwave. I am a leftovers girl myself. We have a Fridge Nazi so ours is not so gross anymore thankfully.

Ginger October 5, 2010 at 5:00 pm

Honestly, nothing’s really wrong with the fridge. I’ve had a few lunches stolen, but my honest to god problem is that I can’t seem to make myself get off my ass to go into the kitchen TWICE–to drop off my food in the morning and to get it at lunch (look, I said it was embarrassing. I *KNOW* how lame this is, and yet…). I’m hoping that baby steps of actually bringing my lunch to my desk will lead to more lunches in the fridge later.

Kris October 5, 2010 at 4:58 pm

I hear you. I’ve been making a serious effort to bring my lunch to school since I started back this fall. It’s tough because for a couple of days, I need lunch and dinner. What’s worked best for me so far is using a Mrs Bento. It’s cute and sort of fun. And pretty good at keeping things warm or cold. Usually it’s just left overs from dinner and some fruit/veg.

And then I let myself buy lunch one day a week as a treat. I live such an exciting life… 😉

Ginger October 5, 2010 at 6:14 pm

That is the coolest thing! I may have to see about one of those…

Lisa October 5, 2010 at 5:04 pm

My husband is a big soup person. Not only is it fairly easy for work lunches, he lost about 40 pounds. He was on Weight Watchers and paying attention to his other meals too, but the biggest change was probably eating soup for lunch several days a week. I’m not that dedicated, but I did find keeping a can of soup and a bowl in my desk was really good for those busy days where your blood sugar bottoms out at 2pm and you realize you haven’t eaten lunch yet.

Ginger October 5, 2010 at 6:15 pm

Soups are a good go to, but I find that I need a little something else with them for lunch, or I’m STARVING again by 3 (I tend to eat lunch around noon). But maybe I’m just not having the right kinds of soup?

Katherine October 5, 2010 at 5:28 pm

The Healthy Choice pasta steamer things you just keep at your desk are decent. I’d stick with the pasta ones, and occassionally try others, because some are not so good in my opinion.

Why is it better to walk to Burger King than the kitchen twice?

Ginger October 5, 2010 at 6:17 pm

I’ve been wondering about those things…I may have to try one.

Oh, and I *drive* to Burger King to get away from my office & coworkers, whereas the kitchen, well, I have to be right smack in the middle of it all (again, I know how lame this is. I really do. It’s not one of my more pleasant confessions.)

Katherine October 5, 2010 at 6:33 pm

If you don’t want to bring your lunch so you can get out then I can relate to that.

Wouldn’t the microwave be near the fridge in the kitchen anyway?

Tracy Lynn October 5, 2010 at 6:15 pm

I really like that pad thai that you can find at Trader Joe’s. It’s shelf stable and only requires a microwave. Also, I find that a cooler pouch with some of those frozen brick things can keep stuff cold all day, so you could do frozen meals or supper leftovers.

Ginger October 5, 2010 at 6:18 pm

Ooh, I love that pad thai. (one of my staples).

And I don’t know why I didn’t think of the cooler pouch. I mean, I do that for the kid’s food all the time–hello, it’s not just for him!

See, this is why I need readers to remind me of the obvious!

clara October 6, 2010 at 7:51 am

When I used to work in an office I would avoid the kitchen as well. Co-workers. Always the ones I didn’t like. Always talking about things that either bored or infuriated me. Plus, the fridge was gross and the microwave smelled like fish.

I have been trying to type this comment for a day now and the kids keep interfering so I will say: crackers. cheese. hummus. carrots. apples. cooler pack. snack all day, take a walk at lunchtime.

Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks October 6, 2010 at 7:51 am

Bringing lunches to work is a lot easier than you think. I usually eat a mid-morning snack (think, piece of fruit) to help my early hunger. Lunches that don’t need to head straight to the refrigerator … PB&J (love them like I did when I was 5), soup with oyster crackers, even salad doesn’t really need to be refrigerated (and you if you use an oil & vinegar dressing, that doesn’t need refrigeration, either). If your office is anything like mine, it’s temperature controlled … meaning, it’ll never get so hot that something you bring in will go bad. You could even do stuff like cold (or room temperature) pasta salad.

Oh and one other way to get on the healthy train … swear off fast food (this doesn’t include fast food sandwiches, like Subway … more the BKs and Mickey D’s of the world). Seriously. I did it over 12 years ago and have not one single regret about it. There are far too many healthier options (even when eating out) to fall back on the incredible lack of health of fast food!

clara October 6, 2010 at 7:52 am

I should also mention re: my last job that I was the receptionist so everyone insisted on making the fridge and the microwave MY responsibility, so that had a lot to do with my animosity towards them. Oh the stories I could tell.

Alias Mother October 6, 2010 at 2:23 pm

I depend heavily on leftovers for lunch, but I also like to keep a stash of things at my desk for days when we don’t have any. I usually have cans of tuna, a box of crackers, some apples or dried fruit…you get the idea. If thievery isn’t too bad at your office, you could try bringing in a weeks worth of lunch stuff on Monday to keep in the fridge (a big thing of yogurt, lunch meat, whatever). That way you only need to think about it once. I have one coworker who brings in a box of cereal and a quart of milk and then eats it all week. Whatever works!

Perpetua October 7, 2010 at 5:02 pm

I’m also bad about buying lunch, mainly because I need *something* to do with the kiddo, so why not go to Panera? I agree, too, that soup is just not enough food; you at least need to add crackers into the mix.

I like Clara’s idea of snacking, snacking, especially on things like hummus, which is tasty and filling. Those steamer lunch things are pretty good too, though I tried one of the Thai or Chinese-flavored ones and it was just horrible. I also feel that PB&J is a good standby if you put it on some really good whole wheat bread.

KT October 13, 2010 at 10:58 am

I allow myself to eat out once a week…otherwise it is Kashi frozen meals or leftovers. Usually a pair a piece of fruit (like an apple) with whatever I bring in. And to be honest? I don’t even bring my lunch to the fridge. I have a Stoneyfield yogurt around 10:30, lunch around 1pm…..and my lunch just sits beneath my desk. Whatever you bring has been frozen/in the fridge all night so no need to bring it to the fridge in the kitchen!

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