Life Lessons: Lunch

4.16.10: Leo's 23rd Month

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Okay Life, I am catching on to you (she said, permanently jinxing her entire family so that they most certainly can expect a future of unexpected diarrhea, canceled flights and leaky roofs). Here’s the thing, Life: You are SO exhausting that it’s a wonder dinner was ever invented. I have been fighting this truth for a while with my whole “we should eat dinner” philosophy (cue discussion of quality time, healthy eating, blah blah). But this is not true.

Actually, as research has shown, we should forget dinner and just go to sleep. Being tired causes us grown people to gain weight (or at least, I’m tired all the time and I keep gaining weight). Being tired causes them little people to throw dinner foods on the floor and demand breakfast foods in their place and then weep and shout “NO WANT IT!!!!” when presented with said requested breakfast foods. Dinner totally sucks.

So you see, Lunch is The Ticket. Lunch is what children and adults have the energy to eat, and everything on the periphery of lunch may just as well be Cheerios. Now that I’ve come to a graceful acceptance of this Truth, it becomes much more important to pack a real lunch for work. And for all the above-cited reasons, that real lunch will not be a hot cooked meal that I slaved over the night before. Therefore, we’re in a bind (perhaps literally) when it comes to eating a balanced diet (read: some vegetables in there somewhere).

So I’ve been making a couple healthy things on the weekend—in my fastest, slap-dashest, I-like-throwing-things-in-the-[insert kitchen appliance here] way. Then, I pack everything up in lunch-size portions in my new BPA-free containers (what does it say about me that I asked for a watering can for my birthday and plastic containers for the holidays this year? Don’t answer that). This week, I got started on a big batch of tabbouleh only to discover that what I thought was a container of bulgur was actually brown sugar. Having had a good lunch, however, I was thinking on my feet and subbed in whole-wheat couscous with great results.

Next, I turned to a head of broccoli, which becomes a thing of beauty in a scorching oven with oil, onions, peppers and chickpeas. Just the head, since the neck, or you know, stalks, are still the only green vegetable Leo will eat unadorned. Steamed broccoli stem cubes and Roasted Broccoli Salad in the fridge. Yup, I’m onto you Life, and you are One Thrill Ride.

Recipe: Roasted Broccoli Salad

Zoe Singer is a freelance food writer and cookbook editor and co-author of The Flexitarian Table. Food Editor and blogger for The Faster Times, she tries not to eat for two now that her son is a toddler.