The Beggars’ Banquet: Soup, Sandwich, Salad, and Kill Me Now

Lunch sucks. There, I said it. I am sick of my crappy lunch options. I want something new. If one more person suggests stuff wrapped in bread or laying on a mound of greens to me as a suitable lunch option, I think I will hurl a cup of tomato bisque in their face.

As a person who loves food, I routinely disappoint myself with how repetitive my lunch options get. After a while, everything seems to taste the same. I’m craving diversity in my food, but everyone around me is still ordering the turkey club with a Caesar side salad.

This is beige food, people.

Here’s how I’ve learned to get around it.

#1: Order off the sides menu. I get sick of places branded “lunch” places, so I expand my search to more dinner-oriented cuisine. Or breakfast! And then I order a couple things off the appetizer or side order menus so that my lunch has some variety and still stays within my lunch budget. Call ahead and order takeout, and I’m good to go.

#2: Pack leftovers. Seriously, someone needs to eat them, and most leftovers from dinner the previous night heat up really well as a lunch the next day. Invest in some cheap plastic storage containers and save money and stop wasting food. This is pretty much an all-win situation, and keeps you from having to eat yet another sandwich.

#3: If your city has food trucks, utilize them. The great thing about the food truck industry is that they’re trying to do non-boring food, most of the time. Around here there are food trucks with everything from barbecue to crepes. It’s not all burritos and tacos – although there’s nothing wrong with an excellent taco from time to time.

#4: Order something you’ve never had before. Sometimes you’re just stuck going to a traditional lunch shop. But what’s that? The sandwich shop serves gyros? Score! The salad shop is right around the corner from a great new Thai place? Go for it. And if it’s a soup day but you’ll kill yourself if you have to look at one more bowl of tomato or chicken noodle, see if you can track down an authentic Ramen joint or a Pho eatery. They’ll put a nice spin on the old horrific.

#5: Challenge yourself. If really nothing is appealing to you, tell yourself it’s okay to wing it. Choose a few food groups and get the first item from each that you can locate on a short walk; for instance, say, “fruit, dairy, grain.” You might end up with a salad, a reasonable sandwich, or you might end up with an avocado, a block of cheese, and some noodles. So? See what you can make of it. Whoever told you not to play with your food was kidding.

By Meghan Young Krogh

Meghan had a number of quality writing mentors over the course of her education, which just goes to show that you can't blame the teacher for the way the student turns out. Team Oxford Comma represent.

4 replies on “The Beggars’ Banquet: Soup, Sandwich, Salad, and Kill Me Now”

In the words of my younger brother “soup is money”. My favorite lunch thing is some sort of super hardy soup (which I either freeze into those screw top ziplocks and then take frozen to school or work to avoid leaks or put in a thermos, hot in the morning). But yeah, the soup has to be really hardy (like lots of beans, veggies, cooked chicken, maybe even some LENTILSSSS!!!) in order to get me through the day.

I am also really into snackage. It helps kill the 10:30 am munchies and the 3pm desire to gnaw off my own arm. I  like chopped veggies, almonds, those little juice boxes of chocolate soy milk. But I am a ph.d student with kind of a flexible schedule so I have the luxury of being able to snack.

One of my chief victories at my new job was the collective support we were able to garner for getting a CSA all-fruit delivery. This reaaaaaaaally helps me in terms of snacking on something that isn’t 14 Oreos or a half pound of Goldfish crackers. Sitting at a desk all day makes me eat mindlessly unless I’m careful. I hate eating mindlessly. It takes all the joy out of eating.

I am ALL about leftovers for lunch. Since I only cook for two and most recipes feed four, I always have something left over to throw in some Tupperware and take to work. An added bonus is that a “meh” dinner is always SO MUCH better when you’re having it instead of a crappy sandwich for lunch the next day.

I really hate lunch, too. It’s so awkward for me. I can’t have something heavy, because then I’ll feel sleepy all afternoon, but I can’t have something TOO light or I’ll be chomping on my desk by 3pm. UGH.

This inspires me to plan my lunches like I plan my husband’s. Why should HE get all the fun little lunchbox treats just because he leaves and I stay home? I’ma put this into practice and switch things up!

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