Monday, December 5, 2011

Working in the City & My Eats

More specifically, how working in the city has effected my eating habits.
It’s been a little over 4 months since I started my new job in downtown Boston.  I am still really enjoying my new location and being right in the thick of things downtown.  I love being around all those people at 7:30am while we are all heading into work.  Especially now with all the Christmas decor!

Even though my commute is longer, it doesn’t feel that long because I’m not the one driving.  Although I must say the commuter rail is WAY more comfortable than the bus, but I still switch it up to keep things interesting and so I don’t have to pay $4 to park at the commuter rail every day.
With all that said, one of the biggest changes to my “lifestyle” that I’ve noticed is that I find myself buying coffee, breakfast, and lunch MUCH more than I used to. 
At first it was the novelty of it all.  I have so many different options for coffee shops, bakeries, restaurants, and quick lunch spots!  Almost anything I am craving can be fulfilled…that my friends is dangerous.
(iced coffee from Olga’s Kafe…they have TONS of brewed flavors!)
Not to mention expensive!! 
The novelty has pretty much worn off, but there are other factors weighing in here:
  • Public transportation:  My mornings now have time limits.  I may just need an extra 5 or 10 min to pack my lunch but if I’m trying to catch a train, my time is up! 
  • The more I pack, the more I have to carry.  Not a huge deal, but it is nice when I don’t have a second bag with me. 
  • Juggling a coffee mug along with my purse + work bag.  I have a good travel mug with a good seal, but it’s nice to have 2 hands to work with especially when I’m running from the train to the T and have to get my pass out. 
  • Cravings.  Ever go to eat your packed lunch and it just NOT what you want.  It’s way too easy to just take a 5min walk and get a salad/sandwich/pizza/soup…etc. 
(Gyro from Zo…this place is one of my favorites, good thing it’s still a 0.5 mile walk!)
  • It tastes better when someone else makes it.  SUCH a cop out, but for some reason lately I’ve been BUYING oatmeal!  OATMEAL!  Simple oatmeal, and enjoying every bite.  Really no excuse for this one.
So, those of you out there that take public transportation to work…any tips?? 
I’m getting better at the coffee thing, plus I actually like the office coffee (we got Snicker-doodle flavor in so that makes me happy!), but those damn cappuccinos at the Thinking Cup are just SO good.  I tend to make that my once-a-week treat.
I’m thinking the coffee trend is becoming my lunch trend too.  Now that I’ve tried many of the lunch places near by, I’ve found the few I like most (and actually there aren’t that many…a lot of places are just “ok”).  So I’m hoping I’ll get to a once-a-week schedule for buying lunch. 
(chickpea fritter from Clover Food Lab, amazing, $5, and filling!)
I never thought I’d be one of those people who buys lunch so often, but I get it…CONVENIENCE!! 
Bon Me!
It wouldn’t be so bad if, say, we weren’t spending as much on groceries, but I don’t see that happening either.  I need to find that balance because, on the plus side there are some VERY affordable lunch options in the city…I’m talking $5-$6 for a lunch that fills me up!  I’m almost glad Whole Foods isn’t close by…now THAT would be a money hole for me!!  (I tend go crazy on the salad/hot bar).
(bbq pork & brown rice bowl from Bon Me)
I hope this whole post isn’t coming off as one big complaint ;)  I’m just more amazed at how much of an effect something like a new job in a new location can have on ones “usual” habits! 
I’m also looking for help!  Tips!  Ideas!!  Meal planning would really help this out as well, and frankly I’ve never been good at meal planning! 
Favorite lunches to pack??  Favorite dinners during a busy week?  Preferably ones with leftovers?? 
I haven’t even started on the effects the new job has had on my workout schedule!  That’s a post in it’s own, but I’ll let you know I did just start Crossfit!  I went to my first intro workout Saturday morning and had my first regular workout tonight!  So far so good…and SO sore.  ;)  I’ll give a recap as soon as I go a few more times. 
Now it’s time for bed…I don’t want my sleep schedule to go s**t too ;) 
Goodnight friends!


  1. I am always tempted by the numerous lunch choices too! Can you keep stuff at your work fridge? I stock up on yogurt, fruit, cheese, soy milk - those help in encouraging me to stay away from take out/going out (although today I gave in to take out!) ;)

  2. It is funny but my new-ish work situation has me bringing my lunch to work more! I do miss all of those great city lunch options!

  3. It is an interesting subjext! Since i work from home, i never go out to lunch, but i do go grab starbucks often to get myself out (well, and im an addict ;) ). When i did work-meal planning saved me! Fav lunches- baked (microd) sweet potatoes, salads, greek yogurt messes, beans and rice (make a bug batch over the weekend), grain salads, stir fry, chilis/soups

  4. I hated carrying a second bag so I used to try to do it only a couple days a week. Stock up with veggies (to make salads) and bring it on Monday for 3 days of lunches. And also limit yourself to one lunch out a week - easier said then done. Also, pack EVERYTHING the night before!

  5. I really want to try food from the Bon Me truck! As for buying lunches, there is one place nearby that I like (Viga) and it's a challenge to not eat there everyday! 3 years later, some of the novelty of their sandwiches has worn off, but not all of it!! And, I totally feel you on bringing a lunch and then NOT wanting to eat it. Poor brown bags.

  6. i love the clover and bom me trucks! you are lucky, all i have here in charelstown is the scrafft's cafe. blech.

  7. I've been in philly for a week now for work and have been relying on places for everything. it was exciting the first few days, and i've found plenty of healthy options, but boy do i miss my kitchen! good luck with the adjustment, i'm sure you'll figure things out soon! perhaps making sure everything is packed up at night, or making some breakfasts ahead of time too... just add hot water or reheat kinds of things.

  8. I work in the 'city' (San Francisco) and feel like I could have written this post. There is even a starbucks in my building, so the temptation to buy food is all over the place- I'm even a 5 minute walk away from the Ferry Building.

    The best thing to do is make extra dinner servings and pack it up as lunch. You can also bring ingredients for salads/wraps with you on Monday so that you can have them there an not have to lug your stuff around.

  9. I've always brought lunch (when I didn't work from) because it saves SO much money. I do have an issue buying sweet treats though

  10. Jeff buys lunch every day and I always try to get him to pack lunch. It can get so expensive. I used to pack lunch 4 out of 5 days a week when I was still at my old job, but now I just eat whatever's available at work and make sure I have a granola bar in my bag for days when there aren't a lot of tastings going on. I usually go out for coffee once a week for the social aspect and to get some fresh air. But I drink a cup of coffee before I leave for work while I'm running around getting ready. I also try to eat something filling like oatmeal before I go to. This week, I made quiche and have been re-heating a slice each morning.

    When I did pack lunch, I would often bring leftovers or mix up pastas or salads specifically for work. If I brought sandwiches, I would pack the components separately so I could toast my bread when I was ready to have lunch and that would make it more interesting than just bringing a sandwich on bread.

  11. I make myself bring my lunch to everyday which I pack the night unless I make a lunch date with a friend then it's worth the extra cash. I know what you mean about bringing something and then it's just not what you want to eat. I'm not a big sandwich fan so I usually bring apple slices, crackers, cheese and peanut butter if I don't have leftovers from the night before.

  12. I never go out to lunch and end up making a little extra at dinner to package right away into tupperware. I try to get the other components of my lunch - fruit, snacks, etc - all ready the night before so that I can scoot then next morning. That way I stay on track calorie and budget-wise during the week and can feel ok about splurging a little on the weekend!

  13. I have the same issues! It really is just making it a habit.

    I usually make a bunch of food on Sunday like spaghetti sauce or get sandwich ingredients and just pack before I sleep because I definitely get lazy in the mornings!

  14. I have worked in the city for years, and as tempting as it is, i bring my lunch every! Day.
    I usually will make a large batch of something -cook once and have for a few days.
    I eat all day, so I pack alot.
    I have my coffee & breakfast right when I get up.
    I got a lunch bag (never thought I would use one but its actually great and not a bother to carry at all)
    Always have a salad (spinach, or arugula or mix)
    barley w/ground turkey, diced tomatos & sautee veggies.
    soups are great (chili, veggie/barley).
    Trader joes staples. I will get items that I know I can grab and prep at work (polenta, lasanga, risotto)
    I always leave extra food at work for days I am not feeling what I have (either can of soup, or frozen from TJ's, greek yogurts etc).

    Good luck! I think eventually you will find you wont want to venture out every day, and will be happy having your meal that you packed right by your side!!

  15. umm still can't believe we haven't met up yet! We work so close. Love the food trucks... BUT... I go out to lunch like 1-2X a month.

    My commute is long too so here are my tricks... make extra servings of whatever you're cooking for dinner so you can bring it for lunch. OR make foods specifically just for lunch for the week. When you're cleaning up dinner, put leftovers in several small tupperwears instead of one large one so you can grab it for work. I always make lunches the night before. I also try to bring all my extras on Monday so its only one day of bringing lots of stuff- all my yogurts, oatmeal, bars, fruit, etc. Then each day of the week I only have to grab one small tupperware.

  16. I commute in and try to bring my lunch 4 times a week, then reward myself by planning on lunch out once a week. I bring one medium/large tote bag that fits my work shoes, wallet and an insulated lunch bag that's soft and collapsible. Like others suggested, I find it easiest to make lunch the night before, but that almost never happens.

    And I fall victim to the Govt Center food trucks too. Bon Me is my fave!!