Thursday, January 5, 2012

What's In Your Lunchbox?

When I started working at the mall Customer Service desk over the summer, the pace was laid back. The holiday frenzy came and went, and now it's back to the original tempo. I'm scheduled for several shifts a week, each 5-51/2 hours long.  I often work by myself.

I don’t mind being on my own, but there is one difficulty. Some days my shift goes right through lunch. It's not appropriate to eat in front of customers, but I get hungry!  After some experimentation, I've figured out how to sneak in a meal. My system: check to make sure no one’s walking up to the Customer Service desk or looking my way, then pop a bite-sized piece of something in my mouth and chew it up quickly.

Here are a few of the foods you're likely to find in my lunchbox:
  • Vegetables: anything small or that can be cut into bite-sized pieces. Carrots and  green pepper sticks are great. Broccoli  (stems are better than florets, because they’re less likely to get stuck between my teeth) or cauliflower pieces. Grape tomatoes if they're really small
  • Protein: A serving of nuts is really easy to eat; we always have almonds and walnuts in the pantry.  Cheese works well, too. Last time I baked chicken I portioned the extra into sandwich bags and froze it; it's easy to grab and put in the lunchbox.
  • Fruit: Dried fruit is the ultimate in bite-sized. I always have apricots, raisins, prunes, and cranberries in the house, so I dump a serving into a bag and throw it in.  Grapes are a nice juicy change of pace.
  • Carbohydrate: This is the hardest ingredient to “bite size”. My go-to carb is homemade whole-grain muffins, but they can be crumbly. I’ve found that the sturdy breads from Whole Foods don’t crumble when you break them into small pieces. In a pinch I’ll use 100% Whole Wheat bread from Aldi, but I don’t really care for that unless it’s part of a sandwich.
  • Drink: Water. In a stainless steel bottle with a tightly-screwed lid, so I don’t spill it all over.
That sounds like a lot of food, doesn’t it? However, I’ll be hungry again when my shift’s over, so I bring a piece of fruit to eat the way home. I leave it on the passenger seat of my car, and start munching on it as I’m leaving the parking garage. It’s usually gone before I merge onto the Interstate.


  1. Sounds like a great idea. I have to do the same at the auctions...sometimes its so busy or I'm alone and can't get to the sandwich truck. I've found it's just easier to bring something in bite sizes. Your menu sounds delish!

  2. I sit at a desk most of my day and I take snack bag size snacks to work to stick in my drawer with granola, carrots, nuts, and such. I love your suggestions, too. They sound yummy!

  3. Don't you get a meal break where you work? I love your idea of making up small portions, I could learn a thing or two from you! I eat one meal a day and generally a banana, I have very poor eating habits and I'm hoping to change that in the near future. I know... 5 or 6 very small portions a day and plenty of water, this is something I could never quite grasp.

    Have a great weekend!

  4. Great idea! I thought they had to give you a 15 minute bread every 3 or 4 hours? You have adjusted admirably!