Back to School: School Lunch Edition

It’s back to school time for me. This is our first full week of classes, and I have mixed feelings about starting back. A new school year is always exciting, but I’m having a hard time letting go of summer. What a wonderful summer it was! So much swimming and reading and napping and visiting family and friends. We took some great trips, too! Now I’m trying to get back to my school routine, with reading and getting up early and packing my lunch.

Confession: school lunch has always been a problem for me. It often involves something from the hospital cafe right behind my building. They have a fair number of healthy options (wraps, salads, fruits and veggies) but they’re expensive, and they’re packaged in a lot of plastic. I’ve been thinking about how to make my school lunches more affordable and sustainable. One problem has been heating things up – I can pack lunch from home, but I don’t like to microwave things in plastic containers. That’s where a serendipitous gift from my friend Adrienne comes in. Image

She brought me this beautiful bowl back from a summer long trip to Michigan. I do love handmade pottery. And now I have a bowl to keep in my office and heat my lunch in! I also brought in a fork and a mug from home, so that I can make tea and don’t have to use the disposable forks they provide in the cafe. Image

The glaze on the outside of the bowl reminds me of mountains. The mug (plus my stockpile of tea) should help me keep up with my plan to quit the diet sodas…which has been one of the hardest habit changes I’ve ever made. I’ve turned my corner of our  office (which I share with several other grad students – we chat. we confide. we share office supplies) into a little nest, with family photos on the bulletin board, a watercolor calendar for each month of the school year, and tickets from all the music and dance performances I go to on campus:


I can’t say this means I’m totally ready for the back-to-school rush…but at least I’ve got my lunch situation under control! I’ve also been checking out some vegetarian lunch ideas and recipes, like these from vegkitchen, and these from the family kitchen.  I think that on the days that I don’t have leftovers to reheat, these should give me some ideas! I hope they give you guys some ideas, too – what’s your favorite school/office packable lunch?