Tips for a Better Solo Lunch

Cooking for One

Eating your lunch by yourself can get a little boring. There's no conversation to distract you from the fact that each bite of your sandwich or each sip of your soup tastes pretty much the same, bite after bite, slurp after slurp. Unless, of course, you do what I do when I eat solo: create lots and lots of variety. Think bento or Ploughman's lunch (maybe sans the beer … or maybe not!) Read on for inspiration from today's lunch.

A sandwich pretty much tastes the same the entire time you're eating it but a lunch full of smaller portions of several things has variety that keeps it interesting. So when I know I'm going to eat alone, I try to pack a mini-picnic of tastes and textures. Sometimes I stick to a theme (French, Thai, vegan) and other time's it's a mishmash of whatever I can grab from the cupboards and fridge. Here's an example from today's lunch:

• Hard boiled egg sprinkled with homemade celery salt
• A crisp apple
• Slices of sharp, crumbly cheddar
• Pickles (maybe even spicy ones) or sauerkraut
• Several thin slices of sausage
• A few slices of crusty bread or crackers
• A wee pot of mustard (from an airplane ride long ago -- refillable)

What sorts of little bites and snacks do you add to your lunchbox? (Don't forget smoothies and soups — here are 10 leak-proof lunchboxes to help you out there.)

More Smart Lunch Tips & Recipes
Our Best Tips & Ideas to Help You Eat a Fabulous Lunch at Work
Brown Bag It! 14 Great Ideas for Weekday Lunches
5 Quick and Delicious Lunches Under 400 Calories

Related: Four Variations on a Theme: Ploughman's Lunch

(Image: Dana Velden)

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Main, Gatherings, Lunch, Make Ahead

Dana Velden has just finished writing her first book: Finding Yourself in the Kitchen: Meditations and Recipes from a Mindful Cook which is based on her Weekend Meditation posts from The Kitchn. (Rodale Press, Fall, 2015) She lives in Oakland, CA.