Recently I have been fortunate enough to have free time in the morning. I have made a habit of using this time to prepare a bagged lunch for my significant other to bring to work. I find it really satisfying to know that I am providing the fuel for everything he accomplishes that day, or at least everything he accomplishes after lunch. I can also rest assured that he is getting a reasonably healthy meal (less of a worry for my sweetheart, but something to keep in mind if you are going to make lunch for a child).

There are a few simple things to keep in mind when making lunch for a loved one that will keep it a pleasurable experience.

  • Life is in the details. Presumably, you know the person you want to make lunch for pretty well. Show them that you care by personalizing their lunch. If your lunch recipient likes to have more than one condiment on their sandwich, go ahead and slather them on there. If he or she likes to eat a little at a time over the course of the day, customize their lunch with a bunch of small stuff. If the weather is going to be bad that day, include some instant hot cocoa mix in their bag. A little foresight can really let someone know you care.
  • Spice it up. If you're like me, you probably went for weeks at a time with the same kind of sandwich in your school lunch. Trading lunches is all about finding some way to control the kind of culinary boredom that lack of variety can cause. Learn how to vary what you give someone. Try making a wrap (sandwich stuff in a tortilla) instead of a sandwich. Make a lunch with no obvious "main course". Include stuff you don't normally see at lunch (for example, pancakes or spaghetti or stir fry or something).
  • Sometimes, it's what you don't do that is special. Don't use a bagged lunch as a forum for to-do lists and reminders to be good. Ideally, you are preparing this meal because you are interested in its recipient's well-being. Also, sometimes it is special when you decide not to make a lunch. Every once in a while, schedule a lunch date with your sweetheart, or let your child buy the school lunch.

In a lecture about nutrition, a former yoga teacher of mine explained that some yogis believe that food prepared in a loving manner will be more sustaining to the person who eats it. Good luck in your endeavors to provide better meals!

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