Got Lunch?

September 28, 2009 at 4:49 am 1 comment

j0175437If you are like many Boomers thinking about saving a little money right now, one of the easiest ways to do so is to give up going out to lunch during your work day. From $12.00 and up per meal at a restaurant to $5.00 or less for a nice home packed lunch, that saved money adds up, and more and more people are finding uses for the lunch box!

The Los Angeles Times ran an article on the “grown up” packed lunch, “Grown Up Lunches that Pack a Punch,” featuring French, Italian, and Middle Eastern options that pack and keep well. Back-to-school lunchbox ideas (for kids and adults), an accompanying photo gallery from the Times, displays lunch box treats that look good enough to make anyone hungry. Parents need to remember that a healthy lunch is as important for them as it is for their children, and the vending machine just won’t do. This list from the Mayo Clinic includes many useful ideas for packing lunch, such as pre-heating insulated containers before putting soup into them, or packing frozen food that will thaw by lunchtime, such as the drink, to help cool the rest of the lunch.

Find a container for your lunch, from an insulated carrying case to a retro tin lunchbox from childhood. Laptop lunches makes boxes based on the “Bento Box” and also provides tips on packing healthy and imaginative lunches for all ages. Vintage and antique stores are full of lunchboxes, and what a conversation you can start with colleagues with a collectible Star Trek or Marvel Comics character lunchbox (as long as it isn’t valuable enough to get stolen from the communal fridge). Label your lunch and include all your silverware and condiments such as salad dressing and salt. Plenty of napkins and a wet wipe will have you going back to work neat and clean, even if you had to lunch on your lap.

Once you have made your lunch, find a lovely place to eat – the City of Torrance has many parks with picnic tables under trees, not to mention ponds, treehouses, and walking paths if you want to pair a little fitness with your soup or sandwich. I personally love the Pine Wind Garden which is just a hop across the parking lot from the Katy Geissert Civic Center Library. Keep a big hat in your car or at your desk to take advantage of nice weather, get out of the corporate lunchroom at least to the patio, and feel the fresh air fill your lungs as your fresh food fills your stomach.

If you eat alone, bring along some lunchtime crosswords or Sudoku puzzles, or a good paperback book you can hold with one hand leaving the other free for your food. The Chicken Soup for the Soul books are packed with brief passages that can be read even if you only have twenty minutes to eat before work calls you back to your desk. The Library also has magazines that check out at all branch libraries, books of poetry, essays, and short stories that are perfect for lunch hour reading. Or keep reading that fabulous novel you started…just don’t get so absorbed in the story you forget to go back to work!

If you pack a lunch for someone else, don’t forget to include some fun. A “lunchtime limerick” from Stephen Krensky’s There Once Was a Very Odd School, or a riddle or inspirational quote is easy to write on a napkin and packs more punch than a fortune cookie if it comes from someone you love. You can cut a sandwich into fun shapes with cookie cutters, or use food coloring to generate a harmless and fun surprise at lunchtime. In the middle of a bad day at the office or at school, a little pick-me-up from someone who cares can make all the difference.

So what was your favorite childhood lunchbox? Have any great lunch sandwich or soup recipes to share with us? Add a comment below. Take a look at this fun history and start thinking about delicious things to put in your next home packed lunch!

– ht

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Your “Falling” Health Spare the Rod – Manipulate the Child?

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. easylunchboxes  |  January 10, 2010 at 12:11 am

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