I don’t consider myself a picky eater by any stretch—I’ll try pretty much anything once and can almost always find something to eat if I’m out (unless it’s one of those raw vegan places where everything has f***ing nut cheese in it). However, I can be a creature of habit when it comes to the everyday stuff, especially if I’m having a busy day/week. I need to know that my breakfast and lunch will carry me through whatever’s on the agenda.

I guess passing out at work a couple times will scare a person for life (though only one time was even remotely related to needing to eat), and I’ve known since I was a teenager that I’m no fun to be around when my blood sugar is low. It’s certainly not conducive to productivity.

Basically the above two paragraphs are me trying not to complain about the food at work. Some days it’s nice to be able to just get a quick salad, but I know I’m going to get sick of chickpeas and hard-boiled eggs and romaine and iceberg lettuce pretty damn fast. After an incident with a pink-inside piece of roasted chicken, it’s going to be a while before I can even think about the hot entrees again. The cooked veggies aren’t so bad at least.

Still, a free lunch is a free lunch and at first I was having some anxiety about not wanting to seem ungrateful or give off the impression that I think I’m too good to eat what’s available, but at the end of the day, I like what I like, and I also like to feel satisfied and energized after I eat instead of still-hungry and/or over-salted.

IMG_2376So what’s a hungry gal to do?

If “bring your own protein” isn’t a thing yet, it is now. I wish I could take credit for the phrase, but someone wrote it to me in an email last week. I kind of love it.

Unfortunately, there’s no fridge, but I do have an insulated lunch bag and ice-packs aplenty (sometime I’ll have to tell you about how I walked smack into a wall last Friday night, only the latest silly injury). The other day I brought a kale salad with quinoa and tempeh from home and just added some salad/sandwich bar stuff to it, but for dressing up cafeteria offerings, I’ve also tried dry-roasted edamame, turkey jerky (good but not a favorite), peanut butter, and even a packet of tuna (not all together, of course!).

Much better

Much better

I think the tuna thing is going to become a regular occurrence, especially since I’ve been trying to get back in the habit of eating fish 2-3 times a week. For now, I’m looking at this BYOP as a fun thing to try a few days a week, see what I come up with. For example, I cooked a bunch of black-eyed peas the other night and froze in single servings so I can just grab and go. I also made some into black-eyed pea cakes, which might also be a nice way to top off a salad or even a plate of overcooked veggies.

So we will see…

Do you “bring your own protein” ever? Any BYOP ideas? 

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