Pack the same lunch every weekday. Lug the bag to work. Prioritize snacking on the free office lunches instead, leaving my packed lunch as a mere supplement.
Story. Of. My. Life.
Why go down this road? Sometimes it’s convenience, and sometimes a lack of inspiration, but most times, it’s a pretty good mix of the two.
The good news is, this is a choice that can totally be reversed. Here’s what to do if you’re stuck in a lunch rut, and are tired of eating the same thing pretty much every weekday — whether you bring or buy your office lunch meals.
Check out sections of the grocery store that you usually skip
Make an “accidental” wrong turn with your shopping cart while grocery shopping, and pay attention to what catches your eye. Is there a kind of pasta you’ve never tried before, or sandwich you really want to make?
Sometimes, starting with ingredients you’re really interested in, but don’t often purchase, can lead to a new food find — one that can go straight into your lunch bag, that is.
Does a farmer’s market pop up nearby in warmer months? Check it out
If there’s one near your house or your job, you’re in luck.
You will most likely even find it’s cheaper to buy fresh produce there than at your local supermarket. Talk to the people running the stand about what’s really in season and what’s selling quickly so you can get in on what everyone else is chowing down on.
Whatever you buy is sure to taste great with your breakfast, lunch, dinner or snacks — not to mention, the flavors will taste that much more vibrant.
Pay attention to what your coworkers are eating every once in a while
What are your coworkers eating for lunch? Ordinary, I know, but it’s a fair question.
Do they even bring lunch? Do they buy from the cafeteria at work, or regularly lunge for free office snacks? Getting out of your own head by discretely seeing what others are choosing to eat can really open your eyes.
Don’t know what they’re eating? Ask a coworker you’re friendly with about their lunch selections, and you might walk away with a new idea or two.
Order food from a different local place
You don’t have to order lunch from the same two restaurants during the work week. Get to know the areas around your job a little bit better, and check out other places for a breakfast pick-me-up, lunch, and for happy hour drinks after work. If your schedule allows, walk around outside during a break, stop in before work, or look around on your way home.
Sure, if you have a lot of dietary restrictions, you might have to look a little more closely for food that you’d really want to try for lunch, but when you find something delicious, you’ll be really happy you made the effort.
Which leads me to …
Scour the internet for lunch ideas
A whole world of lunch ideas sits right in your pocket.
Your cell phone, laptop, desktop or tablet can really point you in the right direction, and make shaking up your meal prep routine a whole lot easier.
Once you find blogs and recipes that really stand out to you, you’ll be a lot more inclined to make more adventurous food choices.