The midday meal has always been tricky for me. When I was working 12-hour shifts, but even now when I run errands, oftentimes, the lunch hour comes and goes and I find myself famished and desperate. Enter: emergency food choice. I hesitate to use the word "bad," since I love a good burger or treat. But for me, desperate food choices are objectively not the best for me.

Now that I don't work outside the home, I want to pivot that behavior. Five to ten dollars here and there adds up, but also, typically any food I would pick up on the go wouldn't involve veggies or produce of any kind. We allow a budget for high quality food for the meals I make at home from groceries, why should that exclude lunch?

I want to reclaim lunch.

This week, I was out running errands with Cooper and I stopped by Aldi. In the back of my mind, I thought Wouldn't it be fun to treat myself with a burger, since I'm out running errands? And again, there's nothing wrong with a burger (thank goodness)! Be herein is the issue: meals like that become less special and celebrated when I choose them out of desperation. So instead, I browsed the aisles of Aldi, picked up a few extra veggies that only I like (Nicholas isn't home for lunch on weekdays, so I chose whatever sounded good to me), finished grocery shopping, and came home.

The rest of the week, I was excited to cook up those items, and remix them, and find good uses for items in our pantry. It felt like a huge win for several reasons:

  • more veggies in my diet
  • a chance to flex my creative cooking skills
  • batch-prepping veggies to add to multiple recipes
  • better for my body and our budget
  • aiming to reframe healthier choices as the norm, and sets aside treat meals for intentional fun meals

This week I made this simple roasted cauliflower soup and this thai red curry with vegetables, where I subbed in mushrooms, zucchini, peppers and onions and ate it with leftover rice. Both lunches were economical, tasty, and reheated well for a few days worth of lunches! I'm excited to change my attitude about lunch.

Am I the only one who struggles with lunches? If you have any soups or hearty veggie-focused recipes that you enjoy, feel free to send them my way!