Eating healthy food on the job (that actually tastes good too) can be a challenge, especially when it feels like there’s just not enough time during your work day to prepare something good for yourself. Many of us are tempted to go out and grab a fast food combo only to feel the remorse (and grody burger burps) later in the day.
In addition to reserving a little of your Sunday to cook up a week’s worth of healthy lunches (and maybe throwing a few Luvo entrées in the staff kitchen freezer for good measure), you can stock your desk with a variety of lunch-enhancing supplies. Why not make your desk into a mini pantry? Then you can save even more time with your weekly lunch prep since you have all the accoutrements ready to go, and you won’t be tempted to make a bee-line to the food court.
Make your work lunch a little more enjoyable with these desk pantry essentials that can help turn any so-so lunch into a gourmet treat:
Proper Plating Equipment
Even when you’re eating alone, setting the table is a great way to be mindful of what you’re eating and even help you relax a little during your lunch break. If your office lunchroom isn’t stocked with plates and cutlery, bring a set of your own to keep at your desk. While it might seem more convenient to eat straight out of your Tupperware container, using something more substantial like an actual fork, knife and plate will feel like you’re treating yourself a little nicer. Believe it or not, it can even make your food taste better.
Good Salt + Pepper
High quality sea salt not only enhances the flavor of your food, but it also adds essential minerals to your meal. Add a few fresh cracks of pepper and you’re on your way to flavortown. Grab one of those combo grinders that lets you grind both sea salt and pepper in one and stash it in your desk for optimal lunchtime seasoning.
Hot Sauce (or Pepper Flakes)
Personally, I’m a hot sauce addict and often add it to my meals as a finishing touch for an extra boost of flavor and heat. I find it can amplify even the blandest of lunches. Keep your favorite sauce in the fridge, or some crushed chili flakes in your desk if you have a hot tooth like me.
If you’re a fan of big salads for lunch, having a little bottle of olive oil in your desk will come in handy. That way, you won’t have to dress your salad at home and worry about it getting soggy by lunchtime. You can also avoid trying to figure out how you’re going to transport a single serving of dressing to work without it exploding in your lunch bag (iPhones are oil-proof, right?!). Olive oil isn’t only great for dressing, but it can also enhance the flavor of a variety of meals with a simple drizzle or two. Bonus: Add your favorite vinegar or a fancy mustard to your desk pantry and create your own vinaigrette on the spot!
Just like toast, crackers can be the jumping off point to a quick and delicious meal (or an afternoon office snack). I like the ones referred to as ‘crispbread’, which are a little more substantial and can hold a lot of yummy toppings. Opt for whole grain crackers for a nutrition boost.
Is there anything peanut butter can’t do?! Keep a jar of this creamy (or crunchy, if you prefer) goodness in your desk alongside your crackers and you’re never too far away from a satisfying snack that also gives you the energy to finish your workday like a champ.
Another great desk pantry item to keep on hand is nuts. Nuts add a boost of nutrition and energy to your day (and they taste pretty good too). You can eat them as a snack on their own, or add them to your big lunch salad for some extra crunch. Need some ideas? Check out our list of Top 5 Most Nutritious Nuts. Bonus tip: Keep a mixture of nuts and dried fruit (aka trail mix) in your desk pantry to make your afternoon snacking a little more interesting.
Avocados make excellent enhancements for sandwiches, salads and crackers alike. Keep a couple of these bad boys in your desk pantry. Spread them onto your fancy crackers, add a few grinds of sea salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil and you’ve got a mini-meal.
What do you keep in your desk pantry? Share your tips in the comments or over on Twitter at @luvoinc.