Eat Lunch Like a Mom: One-Handed Meal Ideas for Busy People

Guest Post from Debbie Koenig of Parents Need to Eat Too

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Q: Why are babies like keyboards? A: You wouldn't want your taco drippings to fall on either one. 

OHT stands for One-Handed Typing. It's an acronym used by new moms on a message board I frequent. OHT reflects a fact we all learn quickly, the hard way: Newborns don't like to be put down. Ever. You spend the first few weeks of your baby's life with one arm locked into a sweet-smelling, cuddly handcuff, so it's no surprise that there's a related acronym: OHE. One-Handed Eating.

Although it felt endless at the time, my son's newborn phase didn't last long. But I still find myself needing to eat one-handed at least twice a week. On Tuesdays and Thursdays my former newborn has to be picked up from school at 2:45. And like so many freelancers, I excel at procrastination. When those two facts bump into each other, I'm often left with just a couple hours of actual work-time. Once the adrenaline starts pumping and I finally dig into an assignment, I ain't stopping to eat nicely at a table, with silverware. 

That's why I still rely on the recipes I created during Junior's first few weeks, all easily eaten while multitasking. Think savory handpies, turnovers, empanadas, even baked ravioli. On a (relatively) lazy Sunday I'll make a batch and freeze them for working lunches. 

When my freezer stash runs out, I've got a bunch of one-handed, no-cook, no-fork lunches in my repertoire. Assemble any of these in about ten minutes--they're perfect for bento boxes--and enjoy a simple, sophisticated meal while you work your butt off catch up on Facebook: 

  • Deli turkey, Peppadew peppers (the small, sweet & spicy red ones; you'll find them in jars or at the supermarket olive bar), whole grain crackers, and cheddar

  • Whole wheat mini-pitas, stuffed--but not overstuffed--with goat cheese and prepared chutney, and red grapes

  • Ricotta drizzled with honey, topped with almonds and berries. Scoop it up with whole-grain crackers, or just use a spoon

  • Party-sized rye bread topped with roasted red pepper strips and deli-sliced salami and provolone

  • Whole wheat mini-pitas, prepared hummus, baby carrots, and grape tomatoes

  • Bocconcini (bite-sized mozzarella balls), black olives, whole grain crispbread like Wasa, and seckel pears
Got a favorite muss-free lunch to eat at your desk? Share in the comments.

Debbie Koenig is a food writer and the author of Parents Need to Eat Too: Nap-Friendly Recipes, One-Handed Meals, and Time-Saving Kitchen Tricks for New Parents (Morrow, 2012). Find her at her blog, Parents Need to Eat Too, or @debbieharry on Twitter.

(Images: Debbie Koenig)

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