By Hayley Sugg
April 07, 2016

Too many people with desk jobs end up working through their lunch break or cramming some sad mediocre meal into their mouth while continuing to work. It's time to take back lunch time and actually enjoy your mid-afternoon meal. Below we have some tips on just how to do that:

Make it look nice

Nobody expects you to have a 5 star multi-course meal for lunch, but at least make it appealing to you. Pack it in a nice container (or even better use a quirky lunch bag) and make sure it looks presentable with a little bit of a garnish, multiple colors (no one wants an all-beige meal), or a drizzle of sauce.

Who could resist the rainbow shades of these Sesame Zoodles?

Stock your desk

Currently, my desk has salt, a black pepper grinder, and hot sauce. If you have the space, dedicate a desk drawer to being a mini-pantry to spice up your meals. Stock according to your preferences and you'll be able to spruce up any soggy salad or floppy sandwich into a decent meal. Some suggestions: Olive oil, vinegars, nut butters, soy sauce, mustard, and seasoned salt. Anything shelf stable that can be thrown on for a flavor boost is a good option.

Bonus points if your desk drawer is stocked with homemade goodies, like Roasted Red Pepper Hot Sauce.

Throw it in a bowl

Bowls are the new mason jar salads when it comes to the "cool kid" lunches. The key is to combine several categories of food: grains, vegetables, leafy greens, protein, and healthy fat. The possibilities are endless, from burrito to buddha bowls.

This Southern Barbecue Bowl is equally healthy and delicious thanks to the tangy white sauce.

Embrace cold food

Don't wait for a microwave to become available, just waltz over to the fridge and you're ready to eat! And don't assume a cold lunch has to be a salad, there's plenty of options like gazpacho, chilled rice, wraps, stuffed pita, dips with crackers and veggies, shrimp cocktail, or chilled noodles like below.

Eat a variety

While consistency is comforting, variety is the spice of life. Don't bring the same sad PB&J every day. Consider making a large batch of protein over the weekend (roasted chicken, a pot of beans, etc.) and throwing it into sandwiches, salads, bowls, and more all week.

To use up boring leftovers, stuff last night's dinner (meatballs, pot roast, meatloaf) into a sandwich. Planning ahead and making something that tastes better the next day (like curry or chili) will also make lunch something to look forward to.

Take this for lunch and you'll regret all the times you didn't make enough veggie chili for leftovers too.

Don't stay in the same spot

Getting up from your desk (and therefore not actually eating al desko) can make a world of difference about how lunch feels. If you can, move to a different part of the building or go outdoors when the weather is nice. Your break will feel much more refreshing than continuing to sit in the same chair you've already spent 4+ hours in.

Even if you can't get to the park for lunch, this Picnic in a Glass will help you to have your own personal desk picnic.