In the office, I had been pretty lucky (possibly spoiled) to have access to a work cafeteria. Sure, sometimes the options were limited and questionable (hmm…Salsbury steak), but there was always a fresh salad bar and on occasion, there would be happy surprises like burgers or bread pudding. The best thing was never having to prep or cook my lunch!
Now that I’ve been working from home, I have to give more thought to what I eat for lunch. I’ve found that variety is important! Since I haven’t been leaving the house much, it’s nice to have a good meal, even though it’s steps away from my desk. Eating lunch has become a necessary and refreshing break to bring variety to my day.
I’ve been trying out a bunch of different eats. Here are some of the things I’ve been eating at home for lunch. Maybe it’ll spark some new work from home lunch ideas for you.
The easiest lunch option is leftovers from dinner. A few of my favorites have been spaghetti or our favorite chicken, orzo, artichoke, and olives dish (from the Half-Baked Harvest cookbook I’m cooking through). But, Will typically takes his lunch to work, so there’s usually not enough leftovers unless it was a really big dinner. From this post of what we ate in a month, you can see we don’t usually eat leftovers a lot.
Eating a few different snacks can fill me up. This happens when I’m not super hungry, when I don’t have the time or ingredients to make something substantial, or I’m simply being really lazy. Real-life here!
Some of these snack lunches have included adult Lunchables (buttery crackers with slices of cheddar and summer sausage), guacamole/salsa and tortilla chips, cereal, bananas, chips (dill pickle reigns supreme in our house), clementines, and carrots with hummus.
Quick Preparation Eats
When it comes to making lunch, I prefer something that’s easy and can be made in 15 minutes or less. This category includes almond butter and honey sandwiches, fried rice, frozen dumplings, eggs on toast, and stir-fried veggies.
For the first time in a very long time, I put instant ramen and Spam on our grocery list, mostly for nostalgia and it’s also easy to prepare. I put Spam in my fried rice and ramen. In my cookbook challenge cookbook, there’s a 15-minute recipe for garlic butter ramen that was delicious! It involves cooking garlic in butter, mixing in the cooked ramen, and topping it all with a fried egg. The ramen and Spam were not as great as I remembered, hence a can still waiting in the pantry, but they were an easy-to-prepare meal.
Your grocery frozen food aisle is stocked with quick preparation options for lunch. I’ve been trying Cocina54 empanadas and Steamies Dumplings. Both come frozen and are local Austin companies. For the empanadas, I got a combo pack with four flavors: beef, spicy beef, spinach and cheese, and chicken and veggie. You may remember Steamies from my visits to the farmers market. They now sell frozen dumplings from their brick-and-mortar. I love their chicken and shittake dumplings, wontons, and soup dumplings. I also got packs of Wundernuggets, another Austin company to try.
There are a lot of options with this one. I know people who meal prep all their lunches for a few hours on Sundays. Kudos to you! Right now, many catering companies, like Vanilla Orchid, and restaurants, like Brentwood Social House and Suerte, have pivoted to providing prepared meals for you to simply warm up at home.
I partnered up with local Austin company Prep To Your Door to try out their meals. They share some of my similar values: organic ingredients sourced from local farms and zero waste with reusable packaging. Plus, with a new menu every week, it’s hard to get bored with lunch, AND the meals are delicious! I don’t usually eat gluten-, meat-, and dairy-free, but the meals are spot-on in flavors, hearty, and creative.
This has been my lunch go-to for the last few weeks, and I’m excited to share because they’ve been a welcome change for tasty and easy meals. Here are some of my favorite meals so far:
- Oats – PB&J, Maple Pecan and Peach, and Cacao with Hazelnut Butter
- Cobb Salad with Vegan Ranch
- Lemon Orzo Soup
- Siete Enchiladas
- White Bean Kale Soup
- Gardener’s Pie
- Buddha Bowl
- Thai Green Curry
- Potato Leek Soup
If you want to try Prep To Your Door, you can use the code “WANDERLUSTANITA20” for $20 off your order. If you try it, let me know your favorite dishes. Thank you, Prep To Your Door, for keeping my lunches fresh, delicious, and fun!
If you can’t tell, I don’t leave my desk a lot. It’s a bad habit of mine in the office and working from home. But I’ve learned it is nice to get out of the house and see other human beings. 🙂 I also take it as an opportunity to support my local restaurant industry. Here are some of the places I’ve gotten take-out from:
- Stiles Switch
- Polkadots Bakery
- Easy Tiger
- 101 by TeaHaus
- Inka Chicken
- Broth and Basil
- Tiny Pies
- First Chinese BBQ
You can see more in my monthly Flavors posts. If you’re looking for more takeout options in Austin, check out this Eater Austin list, this take-out website promoting restaurants without an online presence, and this post from my food blogger friends.
What Are You Eating for Lunch?
I know eating at home has made my diet healthier the past couple of months, despite the plethora of baked goods I’ve been making. The meals I’ve been trying have given me some food for thought for future ideas.
Have you changed up your lunch routine because you’re staying at home? Do you have more or fewer options? Do you have any favorite lunch recipes?