Use This Holiday Break To Master the Art of Lunch
Somewhere around the middle of September, everyone hit the point of no return: Suddenly, the “sad desk lunch” transitioned from mockable to seeming like fine dining when compared to the slapdash lunches of working from home. Somewhere around the silent agreement among all households in America to call leftover Halloween candy a complete meal – as long as it included both chocolate and fruit flavors – it became time for an intervention. Lunch deserves more than the lost dregs of food from the bottom of the fridge.
Now, facing a break from work and school – in whatever form they exist – staying home and staying safe gives us the opportunity to hit the reset button on our lunch routines. Everyone can press pause on the boring and burnout-inducing meals and use the holidays to remember that lunch can be a tiny luxury rather than a tedious task. Simply by incorporating a few easy, fun tips to improve the daily grind, anyone can make those mediocre midday meals as much of a bygone memory as crowded concerts and pool parties.
Prep extra food, not extra timeForget the people who recommend spending Sunday cooking cauliflower and chopping carrots – keep your free time reserved for actual fun. But while they execute incorrectly, they get the idea right: the best way to be ready for a good lunch comes from getting a head start on the preparation.
Instead of adding a new chore to an already long list, though, simply start slicing up a few extra vegetables when making dinner the night before. Adding more florets of broccoli to the pile takes only a few extra seconds and results in something easy, green, and good for the body that can easily be thrown in with a pot of ramen or tossed with tahini for a quick lunch.
Chopping a few extras of whatever vegetable you’re making for dinner each night quickly builds up a selection of prepped veggies, ready to saute, steam, or stir-fry at a moment’s notice.
Kick up the colorsThat selection of brightly colored cabbage, kale, and peppers all sliced and diced in the fridge from those evening prep sessions will also help with the second thing to add excitement to lunch: kicking up the colors.
Drab noodles and tan toast take on new life when dressed up with purple sauerkraut and roasted red beets. Instead of staring into the fridge and letting hunger or laziness do the decision-making, lunchtime becomes an art assignment: arrange at least four colors onto a simple carb or salad base.
Focusing on the look, rather than the task of cooking or the end result, uses a slightly different part of the brain, helping to relieve the drudgery of making meals. Because most of the colors come from vegetables, these meals tend to be naturally healthful, and because the eyes eat first, they seem to taste better, too.