1) plan ahead. i’m not much of a cook so pouring over recipes isn’t part of my routine. however, i do find that making a menu at the start of each week allows me to effectively utilize ingredients. whether i’ve just gone grocery shopping or i’m scrounging around in the fridge i like to make sure i don’t forget or waste anything. sticky notes are the easiest- use one per day. write out, specifically, the first couple of days’ foods, then add on different combinations of leftover ingredients. in my previous post, “eat well on the go” i explained that many ingredients can be multi-purposed, such as hummus and tortillas. for example: monday- taco as tortilla w/ lettuce, beans and salsa. tuesday- grapes, hummus with carrot sticks and corn chips. wednesday- quinoa with tomato and zucchini. thursday- salad with lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, zucchini, sunflower seeds. friday- grapes, salsa and beans with corn chips.
2) prepare now rather than later. no, you won’t actually get up early to cook something so do it now. besides- what if you oversleep? be sure all foods you’re packing are prepared (washed, peeled, etc.) in advance. also, you don’t want to spend your entire break chopping and boiling so whenever possible make a large batch of something, e.g. chili, soup, and freeze it in single servings. thaw them in the fridge as needed to supplement your menu. if you take them out of the freezer early in the week they should be ready by the week‘s end.
3) when you have food restrictions it can be tiresome to continually field questions like, “whoa- you don’t eat what?” however, it never hurts to show some consideration. once you get to know your coworkers, or fellow classmates you will all feel more comfortable having conversations about your diet. until then, we can’t help what connotations other people bring to the table (no pun intended) so let’s be sure we don’t give them a negative experience to associate with our particular diet. FYI:
banana peels and apple cores will attract flies if the trash isn’t emptied right away. consider bringing a bag or stuffing them in a discarded food wrapper from something else in your lunch.
no matter how good it tastes fish, including tuna, stinks. leave it at home- pack some nuts or a bean-based dish.
shitake mushrooms are very nutritious but smell like dirty diapers. leave them at home as well.
taking over the entire counter in the break room or the student commons is rude. minimize food prep or bring “instant” foods like grapes and carrot sticks.
hogging the microwave by bringing food that takes an excessively long time to heat up is also annoying. pre/partially cook food if you must bring something that can’t be eaten raw.
criticizing/ commenting on others’ lunches is obnoxious and doesn’t earn you any points. think about how it makes you feel when others say, “eeeew! you actually eat that?” or “really? you can’t have ____? how do you find anything to eat?” in time they will see how good you feel and how happy you are with your food choices. as the old saying goes, “the proof is in the pudding.”