Bring Your Lunch to Work Club

A common theme in the Budgetober and No Stress November threads is reducing spending on buying lunches during the work day. Here’s a space to ask for help with problem solving, share recipes that work for people’s circumstances (e.g., no fridge or microwave at work), and encourage each other to meet our goals.

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Oooh this is a great idea! Thanks for starting the thread!

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Fantastic idea, thanks for starting the club. :slight_smile:
I’m not doing it today because today is free pizza and a plethora of treats at work. XD

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I’m playing on easy mode because I work from home. But when I worked in an office I rarely ate out, plus our cooking (husband + me) revolves around dinner leftovers turning into lunches for both of us, so I feel like I can still contribute!

ETA depending on what your goals are, free pizza is totally a win because you aren’t paying for a lunch out.

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I’ll join too. I feel like I’ve mostly kicked the habit, but I would like to see if I can get any ideas besides frozen meals I cook in the microwave.

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I work from home most days and have a fridge and microwave available to me at work, so I’m basically limited by time at home and by what I can feasibly carry/keep cool enough at the office (my commute is very, very long which is why I’m only in once a week). I too do a lot of cooking with an eye towards leftovers.

Is there anyone here with a lack of fridge/microwave? I feel like that would be a super important thing to start brainstorming for folks early on in this thread!

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Currently I’m unemployed, but my most recent previous job didn’t have access to a fridge or microwave. For hot foods I used a food jar, like this: Food Jar (disclaimer: I haven’t used this exact food jar, but it has good recs. I wouldn’t recommend the one i used cuz it was super fussy to clean, and this one looks much easier)

For cold foods, I used this insulated lunch bag: Lunch bag. Most of the time it was fine for keeping food cold by itself, but if I really wanted to keep stuff cold for a long time I would use a small ice pack as well.

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This recipe can be eaten cold but will probably be fine not being refrigerated too:

We make sure to put the noodles in with the cabbage while they’re still hot, and then put a lid on it so it steams the cabbage and makes it easier to eat.

Easy lunch for when you have access to a microwave (or make it fresh if you have a long enough lunch!):

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You reminded me that this recipe is tasty hot, cold, or anywhere in between: https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/24833/black-bean-and-couscous-salad/

And these are good at room temp (and don’t need to be stored in the fridge at home either):
https://joyfoodsunshine.com/crunchy-roasted-chickpeas/

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I’ve been looking for more room temp meal ideas since I seem to have developed a major sensitivity to food smells so avoid my breakroom. These are great ideas so far.

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I don’t know how you feel about eggplant/baba ghanoush, but it’s another one of my room temp go-to options, combined with veggies or bread for dipping. Since it’s stored in the fridge but tastes best at room temp, carting it to work and waiting for lunch brings it to the perfect eating temp.

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Ooh good idea!

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Another one that’s good at room temp:

Is it mostly your coworkers’ food that bothers you/the break room smelling bad from too many types of food? Or do you also need the food you bring to not have a strong scent?

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I’m in! I am good enough at bringing my lunch when I have the energy, but I need help brainstorming ideas for Ponder, who has limited reheat + storage options at work. I’ll ask him what he’s got available later and report back for ideas.

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Breakroom smells. We have a very eclectic mix of food tastes that are not appealing to me all at once :wink: Especially when microwaved fish is added to the overall scent picture…

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This should be illegal.

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I’ll second that.

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I’m in! I just packed my lunch for tomorrow: peanut butter sandwich, olives, and pickled veggies.

I also keep quick oats at work for when I forget to bring lunch and don’t want the cafeteria food.

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Duh! You reminded me that I have my own desk and can keep some snack items in my spare drawer!

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I work from home but I pack my husband’s lunch every week! I’ll post what I pack him :slight_smile: for funsies. This week he’s having a baked sweet potato topped with ground beef and cheddar cheese. Here it is:

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