Wednesday, February 25, 2009

what i'm giving up for lent

For Lent this year, I’m giving up purchasing prepared food for breakfast/lunch.

A couple of weeks ago, I was stopping at Starbucks on the way to work to pick up a tea and a piadini (pastry thing) for breakfast, and sometimes something for lunch as well.

It’s not that I can’t afford it. It’s not even that the money could be put to better use. It’s just that by doing that, I’m being a spoiled brat! I’m getting my breakfast on demand, because I can’t be bothered to prepare something in advance, or because I like the Starbucks tea with milk and bergamot better than the plain old tea I have at work, or just because it strikes my fancy. I’m expecting exactly the thing I want, exactly when I want it, without being flexible about it or preparing for it in advance.

(Of course, I could definitely put the money to better use, too, but I think for now it will just go toward the giant rent increase I’m taking on next month.)

Here’s my plan for making it happen:

For breakfast, I’m going to make a big pot of steel cut oats (with raisins, craisins, and almonds) every Sunday. Then I’ll pack it up in individual serving sizes and take them all to work on Monday and stick them in the fridge. That way, I don’t have to do anything at home in the mornings; I can just stick the oatmeal in the microwave when I get to school and make myself a cup of tea.

Lunch is trickier. It’s going to have to consist mostly if not entirely of leftovers. This week, I have a whole quiche that I’m eating a couple of slices of every day. Last week, I had about half a meatloaf. I think the trick is to make a HUGE excess of dinner at least once a week. I can’t just have one day worth of leftovers, since I sometimes only cook twice a week. I have to make, like, a whole extra recipe of lasagna or casserole or whatever. And it has to be something I’d be willing to eat for several days in a row.

Of course, there’s all kinds of gray areas. I’ve decided the following are ok: leftovers from restaurant dinners; supermarket bagels (as long as I don’t buy them on the way to work); crackers + cheese. But the following are not OK: TV dinners or instant meals of any sort (even cup-soup); buying extra food at a restaurant for dinner so I can have leftovers for lunch.

Oh, and this only applies to work days. (Building community by going out to brunch is a great ritual!)

Well, that’s that. Wish me luck!


  1. You can do it! :D I find it hard to cook more than twice a week, but it you make lunches and dinners in large quantities it shouldn't be a problem. And you can mix things up too, if you make different sides and combine your sides and entrees in different ways.

  2. I've been doing this for a long time now, so here are some tips for you. Do the big meal so you have lots of leftovers, but make sure it's something that you like. If you don't like it or even are so-so about it, by Wednesday you'll be very depressed. Soups work well on colder weeks. Lasagna is probably my favorite all week food. In fact anything with pasta is usually satisfying. For days where I want something different, I like to bake a yam in foil while I'm getting ready for lunch and eat that. Good luck!