Busy days and demanding schedules mean we can’t always cook up a deliciously clean, green feast to take to work – but toting along an office lunch we don’t even like won’t help us stay on track with our nutrition goals either. We asked the work-savvy gurus of Career Contessa to share their secrets for fighting off midday cravings and tricks for turning a simple office lunch into something we actually want to eat…
We’ve all suffered through a sad desk lunch or two in our day. In fact, it happens more than we’d like to admit. So lately we’ve been treating our desk drawers like foodie first-aid kits, filling them with items that will keep us from ever shelling out ten dollars on a soggy corner deli sandwich again. Trust us on these.
Modge Podge It
Fact: The day you don’t have time to make breakfast is the day a box of Krispy Kremes greets you when you arrive at the office. Sure, a donut beats going hungry, but it’s only a matter of time until that glazed cruller gives you a major headache.
Keep unsweetened oatmeal packets and bags of nuts, seeds or dried fruit on hand so you can patch together a makeshift meal without hitting up the vending machines. (Pro tip: Oatmeal isn’t a bad lunch either if you’re in a bind — you can even make a Cameron Diaz-inspired savory variety with salt, pepper and a handful of spinach.)
Spice Things Up
The sadder your office lunch is, the more tempting it will be to just dump it. Condiments and spices to the rescue. Our recs: a resealable bag full of Maldon sea salt; go-to hot sauce; Trader Joe’s Everything But the Bagel seasoning; and a bag of spiced pumpkin seeds for snacking, but also for throwing into soups and salads. A bottle of tamari is also key for anyone who avoids gluten — it will keep you from having to eat your corner-market sushi dry.
Do Double Duty
Get the most out of limited desk space by stashing items that can serve dual purposes. For example, peppermint tea can help with stomach aches, headaches and stress. Apple cider vinegar can help soothe a sore throat (ugh, office colds) or serve as the base of a tasty salad dressing. Another trick: Keep a lemon on hand. It’ll keep for a week or two, and you can use it to brighten up mediocre soup or just to punch up your water.
Don’t Skip Dessert
The 3 p.m. slump means you will find yourself craving something sweet. Keeping a bar of good dark chocolate on hand means you’ll dodge the temptation of those processed goodies that always land in the break room but also, there’s just something to be said for having a piece of dark chocolate to round out your lunch. It gives eating at your desk that French cool-girl je ne sais quoi.
How do you avoid underwhelming desk lunches?
Share your personal tips and tricks below!