Packing the perfect (adult) lunchbox

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When I first graduated college and entered Cubicle World, I always bought my lunch. I had a rotation of places in the surrounding 3-4 blocks – in addition to the company cafeteria during those Chicago winters – that were on constant rotation. While I had my fair share of great salads and sandwiches, it sure did not help my bank account balance. You don’t realize you are spending so much since it’s only five bucks here and there but on a monthly basis it adds up! About 3 years in, a new co-worker started who brought his lunch every single day. At first I thought it was crazy (I mean, who has time for that?!?) but after a few months I figured I should give it a try. So, Joel, thank you for saving me what is probably the equivalent of a small car by now!

The first few weeks were turkey sandwiches, bags of pretzels, and a can of soda. At the time, it did the trick, but now my lunches are works of art if I don’t say so myself! I truly look forward to them every day and love that they are so healthy while being delicious at the same time.

Here’s how you do it!

  1. Make sure you have great Tupperware – there are wonderful ones you can buy that are compartmentalized, others have  forks/knives that come attached, lots of choices are out there at all price ranges.
  2. Pack it the night before – one less thing to do in the morning!
  3. Start with one-half veggies – roasted brussel sprouts, sauteed spinach, tomato/cucumber salad, steamed broccoli, etc. I find that if I don’t get my veggies in at lunch, I’m unlikely to choose them at dinner when I have more options – get them in when you can!
  4. Split the remaining space with half starchy veggies – glazed parsnips/carrots, roasted sweet potatoes, etc. and the other half with a grain salad like greek orzo, mexican quinoa, asian fried rice, etc.
  5. Last,  but not least, top with a protein of your choice – salmon and chicken breast are my go-to’s lately but tofu, hummus, skirt steak or shrimp are great choices as well!

Trust me, you’ll love these! It’ll remind you of “lunchables” that you used to eat as a kid, but so much better for you, filling and much less expensive than the corner sandwich joint. Don’t worry too much about forming a traditionally cohesive meal – if all the separate items are delicious, they’ll be just as delicious together!

Let me know your favorite combinations!


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