Food/Recipes

Ingredients to Keep in the Office for Better Lunches

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Sometimes life—and lunch—doesn’t go as planned:

1. Lemons
Lemons have a multitude of lunchtime purposes: Squeeze one over a few apple slices to give them a citrusy bite and keep them from browning, or use the juice to flavor grains and salads in an impromptu vinaigrette. When you’ve used up the juice, put the rind in your water for some extra flavor.

If you don’t have a cutting board at work, squeeze several lemons into an airtight container at home on Sunday and bring it into work. It will last about three days in the refrigerator, or several months in the freezer.

2. Soy Sauce
There is nothing I borrow more often from the Food52 test kitchen than soy sauce. Last night’s chicken dinner not as flavorful as it was out of the oven? Soy sauce. Brown rice a little too bland? Soy sauce. Not into plain hard-boiled eggs? Soy sauce. It’s a great staple to have around when your food could use an salty, savory boost.

3. Butter
Need to fry an egg? Butter. Make toast? Butter. Make a heartier, creamier oatmeal? Just add butter. (We’re not kidding!) A pat of butter in a bowl of oatmeal—whether sweet or savory—will make it thicker, creamier, and kick it up a notch for a slightly more special lunch.

4. Hard- And Soft-Boiled Eggs
Eggs are lunchtime (and snacktime) cure-alls. At the beginning of the week, soft- or hard-boil half a dozen eggs (drop eggs into boiling water for eight minutes, then immediately move to a cold water bath) and bring them to work, in their shells. They’re perfect to have with a piece of toast or as-is for breakfast, but their real power is in bolstering lunches. Add them to salads, sandwiches, and brothy soups.

5. Sliced Almonds
When you almost have enough for lunch, but not quite, almonds are your best friend. Sprinkle them over yogurt, avocado toast, grain bowls, oatmeal, and salads for some extra crunch and energy to keep you going until dinner.

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