This post originally appeared on The Allergy Kid and has been republished with full permission.
If I had a dollar for every time I whipped out a Tupperware container to incredulous gasps, I’d be packing my lunch in a Faberge egg. “How do you do it? You must be so disciplined!” people cry, like I’ve managed to manipulate the space-time continuum and locate an extra 30 minutes that no one else has access to. The reality is it’s much easier to pack a lunch than you think, even if you’re working three jobs and have nine children. It’s all just a matter of priority.
Think about it – you wouldn’t send your kids off to school without anything to eat, just like you wouldn’t come to work and say “I didn’t finish that presentation because I couldn’t be bothered.”
So how do you get these things done even when you think there aren’t possibly enough hours in the day? Because there are consequences. You know you can’t send your kids off to school with nothing to eat because a) you love them and b) DOCS will be making a beeline for your door, just like you’ll stay up until 3am to get a presentation on your boss' desk by 9am because you know if you don’t you might lose your job, or your chance at a promotion.
Packing your lunch is no different. If you want to stop being one of those broken records who’s constantly saying “I really shouldn’t buy my lunch every day but I have no time,” it’s time to realise that you actually do.
I’m no miracle worker nor am I an expert in motivation. I’m just gluten and dairy intolerant which means: hello consequence!
When I started cutting this stuff out of my diet 13 years ago there weren’t chickpeas and quinoa on every corner so I had two options: cook my lunch or starve. If you can eat everything then you know you’ll always be able to find something at the shops and when you know that, you really don’t have the ‘kick in the arse’ incentive we all need to get stuff done.
The good thing is, if you want to make packing your lunch a regular part of your day, all you need to do is get started. I’ve been doing it for so long these days I don’t even think about it.
I’ve come home at 2am and fired up the stove because I know when I’m in the middle of BF nowhere and don’t have to worry about whether the local bread shop stocks gluten free bread, I won’t care that I went to bed 20 minutes later than I could have.
Once you’ve gotten over the hurdle of thinking it’s too hard and once you feel the benefits of not eating processed or salt/sugar laden food every day, it’ll be a part of your routine in no time.
So how do you guilt yourself into getting out the Tupperware?
1. Partner up with someone at work
This only works if you don’t SUCK at cooking because packing a lunch shouldn’t come at the expense of your social life. However, that doesn’t mean you need to wheel out the gourmet menu, in fact the simpler the food is, the healthier it’ll be. So if you and a colleague have been talking packing your lunch, start bringing it in for each other.
This way, if you don’t do it, you’re not letting yourself down, you’re letting someone else down and since we’re all more likely to do something when we’re answerable to someone other than ourselves (we’ve really got to sort that out) this should give you the requisite kick in the arse to put it on your to do list (and actually cross it off).
2. Keep it simple
The idea that eating healthy has to be difficult, is ridiculous. I eat a variation of the same thing every day and I’m not bored, plus I’ve got the whole process down to a fine art now, so I can do it on autopilot. I just throw some meat in a pan, add in veggies, pop in the chilli/tomato base I make at the beginning of each week (godsend), add some water and voila! I’d spend more time waiting in line at the salad bar.
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3. Kill two birds with one stone
If you pack your kids lunch every day, just lay out an extra slice of bread and make yourself a sandwich. If you’re cooking dinner, chop double the amount of ingredients then transfer half the finished product to your bowl and half to a Tupperware container. Most of the time, the thing that puts us off is having to stop what we’re doing and start an entirely new task, so make it a part of something you’re doing already.
4. And finally?
Just do it. Nothing makes you feel worse than saying you want to do something and not doing it, so why keep telling yourself you want to pack your lunch and then never getting around to it? If you’re just saying it because you think you should, then shut up and keep adding those stamps to your Guzman and Gomez loyalty card, but if you really want to change, then get started. Those first steps are always the hardest but once you realise it can be done your lunch breaks will be peppered with the oohs and ahhs of your colleagues in no time. Plus your waist, wallet and willpower will be lining up to give you a well-deserved high five.