food

"I take my lunch to work every single day. Here's how I do it."

I adore food. And by that I mean I am not one of those 'I only eat for fuel' kinda people.

I'm a 'book me in for that new restaurant everyone's talking about pronto' kinda person.

I am a basic bitch foodie, a lover of trying out new cuisines and a semi-okay cook. 

But as much as I love digging into my suburb's newest delicacies on the weekend, during the week my lunch (and my dinner) is pretty, well, repetitive. 

That doesn't mean bland. And it doesn't mean boring. What it does mean, is that I save a bunch of cash while still getting to eat yummy food that I don't have to think about too much.

Watch: When someone has a better lunch than you... Post continues after video.


Video via Mamamia

I start work at 6am, which means when I am coming into the office it's an under the cover of darkness situation. Without fail, every single day, I have lunch tucked away in my bag.

I treat myself to a 'bought' lunch on special occasions, or if I've left my packed lunch in the fridge at home as I've dashed out the door. But this is a fairly rare event because I have my prep down-pat.

Like my daily exercise routine (you can read about that here), I have managed to remove all thought from the process of making my lunch. It's now simply a part of my routine. 

But after extensive lunch-chat with my colleagues who are more often than not headed to the cafe downstairs on the daily, I realised my militant ways are not the norm for everyone.

So for those who struggle with this boring chore, here's how I honed the habit.

Think about the monies. 

I know this is obvious... don't you roll your eyes at me. But this is legitimately my main motivator. 

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Here's some quick maths for you: five x bought lunches at $10 a pop is $50 a week, or $200 a month. I think about this math often, because it's just not worth it for me. I would prefer to save that for a sit-down dinner at a restaurant with friends on the weekend, not on an expensive sandwich that I eat at my desk or scoff in the park by myself as I scroll my socials.

I would even prefer to spend that on some Sunday UberEats in front of Netflix. But, of course, that's me. 

If you're someone who can comfortably spare cash for all the above, then think bigger. Once again, I would prefer to squirrel away that money for an upgrade on a hotel when I go on a holiday. Or the more expensive piece of clothing I've been eyeing off. Or an extra interstate flight. 

For me, spending money on lunch that I consume so quickly and meaninglessly, is wasted money. Especially when I can make something just as tasty at home.

Ignore the 'instagram-able' food trends.

There aren't any sprigs of coriander or fancy 12 ingredient meals in my lunches. In fact, my lunches are so un-instagram-able it's laughable. 

You don't need food to look super fancy to be healthy, enjoyable and filling, but in a social media driven world, that's become 'normal'.

I have toasties, tuna and rice, wraps, soup... basic, normal, quick-to-make food. 

I am all for keeping my work lunch as simple and easy as possible. Image: Gemma Bath.  

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The more complicated it is to make, the less you're going to want to spend time the night before, or the morning of work prepping it. 

My lunches are so fuss-free, it literally takes me 10 minutes of an evening to chuck it together and pop it in the fridge. 

Leave the Instagramable meals for the weekend, or at least dinner...

Find a few things you like, and rotate. 

I have a rotating roster of lunches that I stick to, until I get sick of them, and then I rotate in a few alternatives. 

Right now it's toasties, on either Turkish bread or a wholemeal wrap that I fill with whatever is in the fridge: spinach, cheese, chicken, ham, mushroom, etc.

Sometimes it's mince and veggie pasta which I prep in humongous proportions on a Monday night, eat for dinner that night, and then portion off for lunch for the remainder of the week. 

My lunches are healthy and uncomplicated. Image: Gemma Bath. 

Often it's falafels (these ones) and rice, with spinach, avocado and tomatoes mixed through.

I rotate between 'meal prepping' something big and cooked for the whole week, and 'nightly prepping' something like a toastie. Then I just switch between the two tactics, so I don't get too bored and over it. 

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If I know both of those things are going to be too hard basket coming into a busy week, I buy pre-made soup, which is still a third of the price of the soup you'll buy at your local café.

Roll it into another task.

I prepare my lunches the night before, and I always do it while I'm cooking dinner. So while I'm waiting for something to brown off in the frypan, or finish in the microwave, I might be prepping my lunch on the side in between dinner steps. 

I'm also usually listening to a podcast or watching TV while I cook, so I barely comprehend how mindless the task at hand is. 

Distraction really does do wonders, and lucky for you we have a bunch of fab podcasts right here, ready and waiting for all of your lunch prepping needs.

Follow Gemma on Instagram here, or Twitter here.

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Feature image: Gemma Bath.

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