People who constantly think about food (me) are also constantly hungry (also me) and need options during the 8+ hours they spend at work (unfortunately, me again). Snacks are important, of course, but it’s smart to keep several condiments and other add-ons that can elevate your desk lunch into something you’d prepare at home. I have a big drawer in the lower left-hand corner of my desk where I stash all the goods. I think you’re supposed to put files in it, but that’s what the Cloud is for, right? If your desk isn’t big enough, you can use your office kitchen.
Salt n Pepper
Necessary for salads. I used to pre-crack my salt and pepper onto lettuce before heading out for work, which only led to soggy vegetables and pepper that has lost its pep. Shelling out the 10 bucks at Costco for my very own salt and pepper grinders to bring to work has changed my salad game. A fresh crank of black pepper also makes your old leftovers feel young again.
You don’t know the potential of your hot sauce until you leave it in your desk at all times and allow it to convince you to put it on everything. Sometimes it’s the unexpected kick that your lunch didn’t even know it needed. It can add interest to salads, soups, even pasta. Let it persuade you to try new, unexpected hot-sauce combinations. Lunch time just got way more fun.
Please make your own and bring it to work. It is so easy, and the store bought stuff usually has a ton of weird crap in it that nobody needs. Leave it in the fridge and take it out when you get to work, allowing it to come to room temp before lunch time. That way, it will be much easier to shake up, as the oil and vinegar will separate and the oil will harden in the fridge. My go-to is balsamic vinegar and olive oil, but I also dabble with tahini-lemon and red wine vinaigrette. By the way, you can use it on more than just salad. Use it anywhere you’d use a squeeze of lemon or lime (soup, pasta, meat). It keeps longer than fresh citrus, and you don’t have to worry about cutting anything up at the office.
Have you ever tried snap pea crisps? I know that they sound like a boring health snack or something, but I promise they are just as salty addictive as potato chips. They are not as good as potato chips, obviously, but they are healthier and delicious in their own right. I also love organic crackers with tons of herbs and seeds. Mary’s Gone Crackers has some addictive flavors that pair nicely with hummus or on the side of a salad.
Homemade Snacks and Fresh Fruit
Make your own trail mix! Here’s the recipe: toasted mixed nuts, coconut shavings, dried fruit, go! Trail mix is versatile and customizable, just throw everything you like into a container and shake it up. Fruit like apples, oranges, and grapes are good to bring to work and keep in the fridge because they last a long time. Leave your berries, peaches, and other easily perishable fruits at home.
Don’t attempt to tackle that year-end report on an empty stomach or succumb to eating a container of yogurt for lunch. Be prepared with a smart desk pantry to enhance your workplace meals and satisfy your afternoon cravings.