My Secret to Packing Lunch in Under 6 Minutes

published Jun 19, 2017
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Here at Kitchn, we’ve been talking a lot about the idea of the six-minute lunch. The logic is simple, of course: No one has time to spare in the mornings (because mornings are hard!), and lunch is sometimes the last thing we’re thinking about as we’re wasting precious seconds (okay, minutes) hunting down our keys. But we all deserve more than a handful of pretzels between afternoon meetings. To help, we’ve been giving you all sorts of ideas to help you pack a legit lunch in six minutes.

And here’s one more idea. Hint: It requires getting one other coworker involved.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

My Secret to Packing Office Lunches Quickly

Find your favorite coworker (or at least one who is dependable and has good taste in food) and get her involved in a lunch-share plan. Here’s how it works: One week, you make the sandwiches (or other main course) each day. So on Monday, you make two sandwiches — one for you and one for her. Same on Tuesday and so on. Those days, your new lunch buddy is in charge of bringing sides — for example, yogurts, celery sticks with peanut butter, homemade salads if she’s feeling more adventurous.

The second week, you switch and she makes the sandwiches and you’re on side duty.

Why My Office Lunch-Share Program Works

I’ve done this with several different coworkers at several different jobs and it’s always worked out. For starters, it saves time in the morning because you basically just need to create an assembly line, which Henry Ford already proved is nice and efficient. You spread pesto on all the bread, then put mozzarella on top, etc. When your sandwiches are done, you’re done. No shifting from sandwich-making to pretzel-bagging and back to sandwich-making. I could always pack up two mains in six minutes — usually under that. And the weeks that I’m on side duty, I can usually pack stuff up the night before so that I just have to grab my lunch bag on my way out the door.

I’ve also found that it saves me money and cuts down on wasted food. Before I came up with this plan, I’d buy one of those bags of baby carrots and it would almost always go bad before I could finish it. With the lunch-share program, I find that two of us can make our way through one bag fairly quickly. Same for loaves of bread, other produce, dairy, and more. And because I’m not making sandwiches every week, I spend less on expensive groceries (yes, I believe that brie belongs on lunch sandwiches and I’ll pay up for the triple crème kind!).

Plus, I get to try foods that I wouldn’t normally make for myself or think to pack for lunch. One coworker made me curried chicken salad, which I thought I hated, and I became obsessed with it. (I’ve since made it for my lunch buddy at subsequent jobs.)

Would you start a lunch-share program with a coworker?