Ages ago, I sent out an email to my mailing list with instructions on how to eat healthy at work.
Geeks like me aren’t known for our healthy lifestyles. If anything, people expect us to eat junk food every day, be incredibly thin or morbidly obese, and wear Cheetos stained outfits. Even though I hate to encourage the media’s shitty perception of us geeks, in this case they’re not far from the truth: we are really crappy eaters.
For years, my gaming habits were way stronger than my eating habits.
I’d sometimes play games for 24 hours non-stop, and when I remembered to eat, would stuff my face with whatever was available. Sometimes it was Nutella, other times it was pizza delivery.
I can tell you one thing though: it was almost never a vegetable or fruit.
When I began Eating Healthy
In my early 20s, I got pretty sick. I had almost permanent heartburn, and terrible stomach pain. I thought it was a disease, but turns out it was just junk food.
I decided to stop being an idiot, and clean up my act, by going on a proper healthy diet.
While on the diet, the things I discovered about my body was what every normal human should know: don’t eat too much junk food, avoid sugar, stop drinking fizzy things with no nutritional value. Eating too much pasta gave me heartburn, and regular fruits and veggies meant regular trips to the bathroom.
Perhaps most important of all, I realized that home-cooked food tastes really good.
Using my geek learning skills, I bought some cookbooks and memorized strats. I learned to make Thai curry from scratch, a variety of amazing Japanese dishes, Arabic cooking from my mom, and the best jambalaya recipe ever EVER.
The problem is, when I began to work full-time, I started cooking less and less. Living on my own, I found it very difficult to motivate and cook for myself 5 days a week. You know the feeling: you come home from a long day, and you just want to hang out with friends and/or play some games. No one wants to cook at 8pm on a Tuesday night, why not order a bit of delivery?
Eventually, I was ordering out nearly every night for dinner, and the following day for lunch as well.
You know what’s good about that? NOTHING.
The Real Solution To Eat Healthy At Work
Last summer, I had a brilliant idea involving a hot blonde, a llama, some Pepto Bismol, a cornucopia and some string. It didn’t solve my lunch problem, so I came up with another brilliant idea.
I asked my work colleagues, most of whom are great cooks, if any of them would be interested in cooking lunch for a few of us one day a week. It would work on rotation, with each person cooking lunch for others, one day a week, then being fed on the other days.
Two people agreed, and thus, Lunch Club was born. I eventually managed to get 5 people in on it, so we covered every day of the week.
Here are the rules for lunch club:
- The first rule of lunch club is you DO talk about lunch club. In fact, you should brag about it every chance you get, to make other people feel bad about their shitty eating habits.
- We each take one day a week, to cook lunch for the other people in the group.
- Bring your A-Game. You’re only cooking once a week: make it good and healthy. No frozen pizza or poop-flavored sludge.
- Respect the food allergies. Remember folks, it still counts as manslaughter if you feed your allergic friend a peanut.
- The person who brings in the lunch doesn’t have to do the dishes. It’s only fair that if Marc does all the cooking, Marc goes home with clean dishes and tupperware.
That’s it. Super simple, right? And it works beautifully.
I only cook on Sunday afternoon and Wednesday night, the former for myself and the latter for the lunch club. My other lunches are taken care of, and my dinners are hearty salads or eggs or simple rice and chicken dishes, which take about 10mins of prep time.
I’ve saved over $80 a week on lunches, and I’ve been eating super healthy. The best part is, because lunch club only really requires us to cook once a week, we all make delicious food (plus rule #3 says to bring your A-Game).
One week, I made the finest Jambalaya you’ve ever tasted. A coworker introduced us all to Romanian style sarmale. And a few months ago, I had bobotie, which I guarantee you’ve never heard of, but you need to try, because it is delicious.
Finally, since the inception of lunch club, we’ve splintered into two groups:
-5 of us do regular lunch club, with a focus on meat as a protein source.
-3 of us do a vegan-ish lunch club, with an almost vegan diet (minus the occasional chunk of cheese).
How To Start Your Own Lunch Club
I have to say, of all the health changes I made last year, lunch club is one of my favorites. There is literally no downside: you cook less, and eat better. How can you go wrong?
If you want to eat healthy at work, you need to start a lunch club.
It’s an easy 5-step process:
1. Watch the people who bring lunches to work.
2. Pick out the ones that look delicious (the lunches, not the people).
3. Float the idea of a lunch club, and see how they feel about it.
4. Then choose the most enthusiastic members and get cracking. Other people will join in eventually.
5. Remember to always respect the rules.
I guarantee your lunch break will be so much better.