The Art Of Packing Lunches
As the school year gets going again, I’m starting to remember all the little lazy things that lead to bad habits if you don’t catch them early on. Mine aren’t specifically school related, I do pretty well with managing my time and starting essays earlier than the night before they’re due, but there’s one thing that I always seem to forget about when the year starts up again: packing decent lunches.
Figuring out what to buy and pack and when to pack it and how to make sure whatever it is you packed makes it into your backpack before you leave the house are all things that end up being way more complicated when they should be. I always start a term thinking, it’s just a lunch, I’ll figure it out in the morning, but surprise surprise, that rarely works out, and usually ends in me buying something unhealthy/expensive/just plain icky at my college cafeteria. As students we spend so much of our energy focused on the school part of school that this little piece of planning often gets neglected, especially when you are commuting to school or going straight from school to work or vise-versa.
Nevertheless, making sure you have plans for what you’re going to eat before leaving the house can in the end be as important as making sure you’re caught up on your reading. I hate when I’m entirely prepared class-wise, and then end up feeling distracted and crappy all day because I didn’t bring anything to munch on. Plus, between the insane prices of textbooks and gas and everything else we have to worry about, overpriced cafeteria food that doesn’t even taste very good anyway doesn’t need to be something we’re spending our money on.
So, here is my go-to lunch. It’s cheap, quick, and can be made suitable for just about anyone with dietary restrictions or preferences… Beans and rice.
I know it sounds boring. But it doesn’t have to be boring! Or it can be, if you like. I have more than once eaten just plain old beans and rice. With proper seasoning beans and rice on their own can actually be pretty great. Especially with garlic. Definitely garlic.
But you can relatively painlessly transform your drab beans and rice into a gourmet dish (well, almost). The great thing about beans and rice is that it goes with just about anything. Have left over grilled veggies? Perfect! Chicken? Throw it in! Salsa is also great, and of course cheese. And if you’re allergic to something, or are vegetarian or vegan, you can change it up a little bit to make it work for you. I usually put tofu in mine, for example. Quinoa can also be substituted for rice.
For me, this generally works pretty well as a solid base for a lunch. It’s healthy and yummy and easy to carry around in a tupperware container, and if I make a bunch of rice Sunday night I’ll have enough to last me the first two or three days of the week. Now I just need to come up with a plan for not forgetting it as I’m running out the door…
Do you generally buy lunch or do you pack your own? What’s your go-to for packed lunches? Let us know in the comments!
Written by Cleo McClintock