Life in the Kitchen

Why Working at Home Doesn't Mean You Eat a Better Lunch

Image Credit: The Kitchn | Kitchn

When I tell people that I work from home full-time, "You're so lucky!" is the most frequent response. I do count myself very fortunate to be a working mom that gets to stay home: laundry actually makes it into the wash, we don't need a second car, and being home to intercept packages or repairmen is amazing.

But people also assume that this happy arrangement, especially given the fact I work with food, means that I eat an amazing lunch every day. Well, let's be honest. It really doesn't.

What's the Deal with Lame Lunches at Home?

I place a lot of planning and forethought into family meals, like breakfasts and dinners, but since lunch is only for me, I just assume there's something around to eat and don't put more energy into planning. This usually means eating leftovers, or worse yet, cobbling together some random stuff from the cupboards or fridge.

While the leftovers are usually fine and make me feel less wasteful, they aren't the most exciting. There are also no colleagues around to nudge me away from my desk to go out and try a new lunch spot or satisfy their craving for a bowl of pho.

Working from home means a fairly flexible schedule, but that can also mean that I get caught up in work and forget about lunch until I'm starving and eat the first thing I see: I'm looking at you, box of easy mac 'n' cheese.

Sometimes I'm lucky and there are delicious things leftover from photo shoots that I can look forward to eating for lunch, but to be honest? Even a food editor like me ends up eating something frozen from Trader Joe's at 2 p.m. more times than she cares to admit.

Image Credit: Emma Christensen

The Kitchn Team's Work-from-Home Lunches

Since most of the other editors here at The Kitchn also work from home, I asked them to share examples of some of their recent lunches with me, and here's what they said:

Crudité dipped in cottage cheese and a handful of mini toasts. I loved it! But some people find cottage cheese inherently sad. - Anjali

I just ate half an avocado directly out of the skin, sprinkled with everything bagel salt, with a handful of cherry tomatoes. #photoshootleftovers - Faith

I had leftovers from the office peanut butter taste test (peanut butter, sliced baguette). Seemed like a good idea at the time, now not so much. - Kelli

Was slightly underprepared for my first day working at home (read: I need to go grocery shopping) and just ate 2 string cheeses and a handful of cashews for lunch! - Lauren

So many scrambled eggs. - Ariel

Funniest “lunch” I’ve probably eaten lately was my daughter's leftovers: remainder of the cold oatmeal we cooked her for breakfast and a small bowl of goldfish (or were they cheddar bunnies?) from an uneaten snack.

I also frequently just eat handfuls of trail mix &/or those puffed snap peas from Costco on really busy days — work-from-home equivalent of the vending machine lunch. - Scott, our CTO

My sad lunch is that it's exactly the same salad every single day. - Emma

What do you think: Do these lunches sound sad or delicious?

Do you work from home? If so, what do you eat for lunch?