“The downside, of course, is the lack of excitement and variability.”
April 29, 2018 5:17 PM   Subscribe

Is it weird to eat the same sandwich for lunch every day? [The Guardian] “Did you eat the same thing for today’s lunch at work that you ate yesterday? We ask because a detail about sandwiches was one of the odder elements of a story about a Westminster security alert. A woman accused of meeting men via a “sugar daddy” website while working for parliament told the Daily Mirror that the housing minister, Dominic Raab, has exactly the same thing for lunch every day: a Pret a Manger chicken caesar and bacon baguette, with a pot of fruit and the same smoothie. But is this really that unusual?”
posted by Fizz (109 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
 
Eating the same thing for lunch everyday is ridiculous.

Breakfast is when you should do this.
posted by srboisvert at 5:21 PM on April 29 [40 favorites]


I eat the same thing for breakfast and lunch every (week)day. I love to cook and enjoy being creative at dinner and going all out on weekends, but my workdays are so hectic that I want one less thing to have to think about.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 5:25 PM on April 29 [20 favorites]


I did have the same thing for lunch and nearly the same for dinner for a while. Then a relationship which will become my marriage changed that permanently and my stomach has been all the happier for it.
posted by JoeXIII007 at 5:28 PM on April 29 [1 favorite]


Could they have possibly found a shiftier picture of the minister?

At many times in my life I have eaten the same thing everyday for lunch and breakfast, but I also had coworkers who were like "what, you eat the same thing for lunch everyday? That's strange." So maybe there is some variance there.
posted by Query at 5:29 PM on April 29


I need a ton of variety in my diet.

My breakfasts are fairly similar, but lunches and dinners are always different day-to-day.
posted by peacheater at 5:30 PM on April 29 [3 favorites]


I do this for breakfast and lunch. I make a sandwich in the morning while I wait for my toast to finish. My co-workers are pretty incredulous at my dedication to it, yet they spend every lunch period kvetching about how awful the cafeteria lunch is.

I started doing it when I was actively trying to lose weight (something I need to try doing again). It just made it much easier to monitor how much I was eating each day.
posted by inthe80s at 5:34 PM on April 29 [9 favorites]


I wish I could be satisfied with eating the same meal every day. It would make my life so much easier. I envy this man.
posted by Faint of Butt at 5:34 PM on April 29 [9 favorites]


That actually sounds pretty good...
posted by Naberius at 5:39 PM on April 29 [1 favorite]


a Pret a Manger chicken caesar and bacon baguette, with a pot of fruit and the same smoothie.

I really wish I could afford to be that extravagant at lunch every day.

Mine is repetitive and boring out of financial necessity. His sounds like he just likes some specific thing very much.
posted by deadaluspark at 5:41 PM on April 29 [17 favorites]


I prep cook on Sundays the week's breakfasts and lunches. I definitely have to mix it up every week though or I'd go bonkers.
posted by msbutah at 5:49 PM on April 29 [5 favorites]


Mine is based on the meal the night before too. I try to plan out my leftovers so that they can be used throughout the next couple of days. Though I do admit that much of my eating is fairly simple and comfort based, so I tend to eat a lot of the same types of meals. I should probably change it up but as was mentioned above, I want one less thing to think about in the mornings, so I go for what is familiar and easy.
posted by Fizz at 5:52 PM on April 29 [4 favorites]


What about people who eat one thing every day for lunch for a while, then another thing every day for a while, etc etc?

I personally could not get it together enough to make an entirely different lunch every day, but I do go through phases. Right now it's german rye sandwich, carrots, apple.

My father has eaten more or less the same weekday/non-special-occasion lunch for his entire adult life - sandwich, carrots and celery, fruit, small serving of potato chips. He is well-organized and frugal. I am neither, but I make gestures toward both.
posted by Frowner at 5:52 PM on April 29 [20 favorites]


I eat a snack bar and an apple every work day and almost every time I get concerned questions like "is that enough for you, sweetie?" from older co-workers. Ma'am, if it wasn't enough I would have brought more to eat.
posted by lineofsight at 5:54 PM on April 29 [3 favorites]


I don't think I could pull it off, but I don't see anything weird about having the same lunch everyday, if it's homemade. Buying the same lunch everyday is another matter.
posted by ckape at 6:04 PM on April 29 [1 favorite]


I consider myself an adventurous eater. At ten, my favorite food was lobster with steamed clams, bellies and all. But on workdays I have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch every day, with the same kind of bread, same kind of peanut butter, same kind of jelly. I don't need my work lunch to be an adventure. I just need it to be cheap, palatable, easy to prepare in the morning, and not actually terrible for me. Also I need to be able to eat it in the van. It's more about keeping my blood sugar at reasonable levels than it is about having fun.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 6:06 PM on April 29 [9 favorites]


Way to work a sex scandal into a story about sandwich repetition to drive eyeballs.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 6:07 PM on April 29 [18 favorites]


Oh yes, and breakfast is a bowl of greek yogurt with granola and honey, plus two slices of cinnamon raisin toast with butter, and a glass of mostly water with a splash of cranberry juice in it. Unless it's the beginning or end of a loaf of raisin bread, in which case I get three slices because those stupid end ones don't really count.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 6:09 PM on April 29 [6 favorites]


I have a bowl of Cheerios for breakfast and a PB&J for lunch at least 80% of the time. Mostly because I'm lazy.
posted by COD at 6:11 PM on April 29 [1 favorite]


I've eaten a kale, spinach, and arugula salad with chicken and raw sunflower seeds for lunch everyday for nearly a decade. Usually goddess dressing but sometimes I do change that up. Also sometimes I put artichoke hearts on it. I make them all on Sunday. I think I learned it from Oliver Sacks. I do get bored of it, but not too much. That's when I switch dressings.
posted by Lutoslawski at 6:12 PM on April 29 [2 favorites]


I brownbag a sandwich every day. Not the same sandwich perpetually, but one of: salami, mortadella, ham, or smoked meat, with or without cheese. Often the same one until I run of that thing. And I enjoy every one of them.
posted by rodlymight at 6:18 PM on April 29 [2 favorites]


I'm pretty happy eating the same thing every day for quite a long period of time. My hubby needs variety, and will keep detailed mental records of what we've eaten (and what styles of things we've eaten, like Italian or Mexican or whatever) so as not to repeat too much. I find it exhausting, constantly searching for something novel to eat for dinner.

For lunch, I get a salad at the cafeteria salad bar at work. Every day. It's nice.
posted by xingcat at 6:25 PM on April 29 [2 favorites]


I go through phases where my breakfast and lunch are the same for weeks on end. Then I get bored and switch to something else. (They're often on different cycles, though.)

When I was responsible for packing my own lunch in high school, I had a rotation. It wasn't the same thing every day, but it was the same several things during the week. (And I started making my lunch because my mom was packing me the same thing every day -- which was fine, overall, but I wanted something different.)

So maybe not that weird, but a little weird? I've certainly had office jobs where I'd more or less eat the same thing for lunch every day, but that had more to do with the lack of options nearby and my personal dietary restrictions and budget.
posted by darksong at 6:26 PM on April 29 [1 favorite]


I ate the same lunch every day for about eight years back in middle and high school. I still generally have a fairly small set of things that I eat every other day or so. I didn't know it was weird at all to do this.
posted by Scattercat at 6:26 PM on April 29 [1 favorite]


I have pretty much the same thing for breakfast every day. Fresh fruit in season, or frozen bluberries & cherries, trail mix, dates, figs, cheese and some sliced meat. Lunch is usually either tuna salad, egg salad, beef noodle/rice soup, or maybe go out for a rare treat. Don't usually have dinner.
posted by seanmpuckett at 6:28 PM on April 29


No, it's not at all unusual for a government minister to do exactly the same thing day after day after day, regardless of what other opportunities exist and what dynamically different things are happening around them.
posted by turbid dahlia at 6:29 PM on April 29 [24 favorites]


Turkey and cheese on wheat bread with a cup of tomato soup. Every day. On my day off, pho, medium #9. Stick with what works.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 6:34 PM on April 29 [1 favorite]


Stick with what works.

Oh I do. It's just that for me, everything works!
posted by Greg_Ace at 6:45 PM on April 29 [4 favorites]


My lunches are usually last night's leftovers, so they're varied. My dad, on the other hand, had the same lunch every day for my entire childhood; two baloney sandwiches. I remember him getting annoyed one night when we were out of baloney, necessitating the substitution of some other sliced lunch meat. And it's not like baloney was the only lunch meat he liked, so I'm not sure why he wanted the same thing every day, but to each their own.
posted by The Card Cheat at 6:56 PM on April 29 [2 favorites]


I work from home and Himself is retired now, so he's decided that I need an exciting and elaborate variety of hot lunches. It's a bit much sometimes - like, I'd be happy with a cheese sandwich most days - but I'm not going to complain because I'm not an idiot.
posted by Mary Ellen Carter at 6:58 PM on April 29 [17 favorites]


Breakfast and lunch almost always the same. Why waste energy and brainpower if you've got something that works for you?
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:13 PM on April 29


I think I learned it from Oliver Sacks.

So what you're saying is that instead of buying food every day at work you bring a..... Sacks lunch.

I'll see myself out.
posted by WidgetAlley at 7:14 PM on April 29 [48 favorites]


I eat a sandwich for lunch every weekday. I usually buy one type of sandwich meat and eat it for a week. Meet, rye, and mustard. That’s it. Occasionally I go all crazy and have peanut butter and grape jam or egg salad. That and a couple pieces of fruit, usually apples. I’ve eaten lunches like this for over 40 years.
posted by fimbulvetr at 7:15 PM on April 29


My weekday breakfast is almost always an espresso and a small bowl of plain yoghurt.
posted by fimbulvetr at 7:17 PM on April 29


Personally I feel like having the same thing for lunch every day would throw the often-monotonous rhythms of a 9-5 job into even sharper relief; that’s the issue rather than the quality of the food or the energy expended in preparing it.
posted by The Card Cheat at 7:32 PM on April 29 [11 favorites]


I ate the same chicken sandwich at lunch every day for about two years, from the little diner on the ground floor of my work building, until ownership changed and the new staff could not make a sandwich the same way twice. (It was an Korean-owned business; I gather that the original owner's nephew/son took it over, and they had less experience with US foods.) After my fourth sandwich with different ingredients and arrangements thereof -- I don't remember the details (15+ years ago) but I do remember being actually astonished at least once -- I gave up and had to switch to "find or bring something cheap and within my flavor range every day."

I do not like "food adventures." I don't mind trying new things, but the fact that it's new to me is never a plus. If soylent and its clones weren't expensive and complicated, I would happily switch to "drink this vaguely-chocolate flavored milkshake instead of food," about 90% of the time.

I've been looking for over a decade for a simple, inexpensive meal that I'd be content to have every day for lunch. Nothing in range of my current workplace - downtown SF - has sandwiches in the $5 range; sandwiches are $7 and up, and mostly about $10. Some soup-with-bread options are about $5, but they don't have the same ones every day, and I don't like all of the options. I think pizza every day is probably not a good idea for health reasons, but I'm starting to consider it.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 7:32 PM on April 29


So...this started as a potential sex scandal/security risk, and now its about sandwich choices?
posted by nubs at 7:33 PM on April 29


No. It's not weird.

My name was Chilito Man in high school and long after for ordering, daily two chili cheese burritos.

Then I got turned on to Noodles & Co. Wisconsin Mac n Cheese. They knew my actual name there and so, didn't
get called "MacnCheeseDude". But it was still what I was known for.

Every saturday night, we used to order pizza from the same pizza place.

etc etc etc.

So no, it's not weird.
Wait. Shit. *I'm* the one that's weird?
posted by symbioid at 7:39 PM on April 29


To me, lunch is one of the highlights of my day. I go out of my way to make something I'll look forward to and that will be healthy for me. I can't imagine getting all the nutrients you need in your diet if you eat the same thing every single day. Plus it'd just bore me to death.
posted by oracleia at 8:04 PM on April 29 [1 favorite]


Mmm ... lunch.
posted by oheso at 8:09 PM on April 29 [3 favorites]


Lunch is one of the highlights of my day too... I look forward to my sandwich and apple!
posted by fimbulvetr at 8:10 PM on April 29 [4 favorites]


I'll pretty routinely have a bowl of rice with kimchi at lunch every day for a week. But when I'm getting lunch out instead, which is most of the time to be fair, I have to totate lunch places every day. That's more about trying to avoid the employees getting too familiar more than anything, though.
posted by tobascodagama at 8:11 PM on April 29 [1 favorite]


Our office has free catered lunch every day, and the menu is constantly changing. It would actually cost me more money to eat the same thing every day.
posted by Doleful Creature at 8:16 PM on April 29 [1 favorite]


I've gotten in a real bad lazy streak of not making lunch for work, so I've been eating the same disgusting sandwich (ham and cheese with mustard and mayo on some sort of hoagie roll, all made in some kitchen somewhere and then put into the fridge in the work cafeteria) everyday for the past couple of months. I really need to start making my own meals in order to save money and eat healthier.
posted by gucci mane at 8:28 PM on April 29


Um, I think it's weird and rather depressing, but interesting and varied food is one of the great pleasures of life for me. I would also get bored and depressed if I had the same breakfast every day.

(Conversely, I would get angry and depressed if I didn't have reliable access to my morning chai made as I like it.)
posted by tavegyl at 8:32 PM on April 29 [1 favorite]


If I could take a pill for breakfast and lunch that would reliably fill me up and provide proper nutrition without having to think about it, I probably would. (Not for dinner, though.) But, since I have to eat actual foods, I need variety.
posted by praemunire at 8:38 PM on April 29 [2 favorites]


I would happily sign up for a service that delivered me the exact same meal (preferably a great shredded greens salad w/ a hardboiled egg in it, some fruit, and a small serving of dark chocolate) for lunch at work every day.

HAPPILY.

As it is, I buy a salad mix and then it goes bad halfway through the week before I can eat it all, or I forget the egg, or the dressing, and fruit and/or chocolate may or may not happen. So I go out and get something with too-large portions and too many carbs, that isn't what I really want and costs too much. Or I get a baked potato at the cafe downstairs, the only thing they make that's decent.

Variety in work lunches stresses me out. I know what I like. I just can't get it without making it myself. And I hate making food.
posted by emjaybee at 8:44 PM on April 29 [4 favorites]


Harriet the Spy ate a tomato sandwich for lunch every day for years.

And she was a spy. Spies are cool.
posted by gurple at 8:48 PM on April 29 [14 favorites]


When I was in 8th grade I decided to standardize my life - presumably so I’d have more time to write angst ridden poetry on index cards? I had a whole standardization worked out there, too, all based on the fact that there are 13 lines on an index card.
I think the real idea was that I would thus be invisible. I created a uniform - rotation between two pairs of jeans, three different colored ribbed turtleneck bodysuits and Frye boots (it was 1978.) I had a ham and Swiss sandwich with mustard on rye, a bag of Fritos, an apple and a coke, all in a brown paper lunch bag folded over just so and no god don’t write my name on it mom. It kind of worked, for a while - it actually took about four months before I was thoroughly mocked on the school bus.

I don’t remember how it ended although I think I just got bored with the whole experiment, particularly post mocking. I can’t imagine doing it again, much less as an adult - I like to change things up a bit, like, sometimes I have a soft boiled egg for breakfast and sometimes granola and sometimes, whoa, something else. I’m a loner, Dottie, a rebel.

but you know, I guess everybody needs to be invisible sometimes.
posted by mygothlaundry at 8:51 PM on April 29 [13 favorites]


My name was Chilito Man in high school

My best friend in high school worked at Dairy Queen & had a bit of a crush on someone she referred to as (or they all called?) "Chicken Strip Basket Boy."
posted by taquito sunrise at 8:55 PM on April 29 [2 favorites]


My best friend in high school worked at Dairy Queen & had a bit of a crush on someone she referred to as (or they all called?) "Chicken Strip Basket Boy."

This is probably me. I get into the habit of getting the same thing from places. More than once I've gone somewhere planning to spice things up by getting something different, only for the staff to have seen me pulling into the parking lot and have my "usual" waiting for me, so I took it even though I didn't really want it.

I always get an extra large sweet iced tea when I'm leaving a worksite for a long drive home, and one day I ordered a mountain dew, and the guy at the drive through was like, "hey, this isn't what you get, are you ok dude?"

When I used to go Subway a lot, I was the guy who still got the Feast even though the Feast is no longer actually on the menu. Fortunately my metabolism doesn't let me eat that much anymore without punching me in the kidney.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 9:23 PM on April 29 [6 favorites]


I love food and variety, but on the other hand I don't always want to fuck around with uncertainty when I'm already feeling guilty for spending cash for meals while at work. (I am a failure at planning to bring lunch, even though I know how.)

Also, I have gone through times in my life when I was underweight and needed to eat on a schedule rather than waiting to be hungry -- so, I taught the guys who ran the cafeteria downstairs how to make my breakfast sandwich the way I like it, and VERY happily had them make me breakfast every single day the entire time I held that job. It was kind of glorious. No, I never ever ever get tired of bacon, cheese, spinach, and over-medium egg on an english muffin.
posted by desuetude at 9:43 PM on April 29 [3 favorites]


I go out of my way to make something I'll look forward to and that will be healthy for me.

I have a lunch I look forward to and is healthy for me; I just don't have to go out of my way to make it.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:58 PM on April 29


My dinner tonight was a bag of tortilla chips and a $40 bottle of red wine.

Shut up. It was glorious.
posted by ryanrs at 9:59 PM on April 29 [29 favorites]


I love love love to cook. I have cooking parties with friends, we spend hours researching recipes, techniques, historical references and it's wonderful. Two weeks ago it was middle eastern themed--falafel, fatoush, hummus, shwarma, kofta, home made pita, etc. However, I love to have the same thing for breakfast and lunch. This helps me with portion control, make less decisions, etc. For the past 3-4 years, it's been half an english muffin, Veggie Sausage and egg for breakfast (with lots of hot sauce) and Amy's Organic SW Burrito with romaine, cherry tomatoes, sour cream, salsa and hot sauce for lunch. This romaine situation is a huge problem right now. In short, I don't think that's weird at all. Nor is it a reflection of people's open-mindedness toward different cuisines.
posted by fyrebelley at 10:08 PM on April 29 [4 favorites]


I wish I could eat the same thing every day and not get sick of it. I also wish that soylent and its ilk or meal replacement bars were in any way satisfying. What I wish most of all is that I could take a pill instead of having to eat. This pill would supply 1/3 of my daily requirements and would make me feel full for at least 6 hours. That way I could have a pill for breakfast, a pill for lunch and if I felt like having real food for dinner, I could do that; otherwise I could just have another pill. Weekends I could either eat or take pills depending what I felt like.

I do actually like food, but I would like only to eat because I want to, not because I have to. You would think that this means I don't eat much but sadly this is not the case. Also as I have developed more intolerances, eating food is increasingly problematic (the roulette wheel of what fun effects any given meal will have upon my digestive system gets really boring despite being so unpredictable).
posted by Athanassiel at 10:15 PM on April 29 [7 favorites]


One of the key takeaways that stuck with me from Dan Gilbert’s Stumbling On Happiness is how there is a tendency to overstate the value of variety. The assumption is to think that if you eat at a particular restaurant every week, you’ll be happiest if you try something new and different every time, while his studies showed people are actually happier if they find an item they really like and just order the same thing over and over. Eating the same thing every single day might be an extreme example of this, but I can see how it makes sense on some level.
posted by The Gooch at 10:48 PM on April 29 [3 favorites]


Alilson Knowles, one of the founders of the Fluxus art group, has a work called Identical Lunch. She started in the 60's and still has performances, i.e. lunch, to this day: one tuna-fish sandwich with lettuce, butter, toast and a cup of buttermilk.
I went to an art event in college in the 60's where the lunch was performed. It was an OK sandwich, but not great. They also had potato chips (ridge cut if I remember correctly) and holograms of tuna fish sandwiches.
There is a variant of the lunch by George Maciunas, which I only found out about when I went looking for references. I won't describe it, and I never plan to try it. Read the article if you want to know the ugly truth.
posted by Metacircular at 11:54 PM on April 29 [3 favorites]


I can't do it, but my husband does the same breakfast and lunch every single day, and before we lived together, he did the same dinner every night too. For, like five YEARS. He sometimes bemoans that I made him change this "efficient" system.
posted by lollusc at 12:39 AM on April 30


I go through fits, where I will eat the same thing continuously for a while, then switch to something else. Why, yes, I am one of those weirdos that eats each item on a plate separately until completed, then moves on to the next item, why do you ask?
posted by Samizdata at 2:25 AM on April 30 [1 favorite]


I'd go crazy eating the same thing every day. When I'm not working in the developing world, my routine tends to be as such: Every Sunday, prepare a week's worth of lunch ingredients. Same food for Monday to Friday, but then I don't repeat the same meal for another 6 months or so. Most of my past offices have had proper kitchens, which helps. I'm also known for lunches so elaborate that my coworkers would track me down just to see what I'm eating that week. One time it was an array of Indonesian dishes (all individually homemade), and I even brought in banana leaves to eat it off of. Another of my favourites was tacos. I'd bring all the ingredients in separate containers, crisp up the tortillas in the frying pan, and then assemble. Sushi was great, too, and I got to teach a couple people how to make it. I always get sick of the meal by Friday, but that's why I don't eat it again for another 6 months.
My dinners are usually just as elaborate, but sometimes I opt for McDonalds or delivery pizza.
posted by hasna at 2:34 AM on April 30 [1 favorite]


I have the same thing for breakfast and lunch everyday, definitely got this from reading Oliver Sacks as when asked about it, my rationale is that it frees up my mind to concentrate on more important things!
posted by ellieBOA at 2:37 AM on April 30 [5 favorites]


We went and stayed at a nearby town for the weekend- and this place is famous for ice-cream. Normally I have my standby flavours, (stairway to heaven and licorice) but we were indulgent and ate ice-cream every day, so I got to try new flavours- and now I'm conflicted about what to order.
posted by freethefeet at 3:19 AM on April 30


I have a cup of black coffee and a Labar energy bar every morning but I do vary the flavor of the bar.
posted by octothorpe at 3:33 AM on April 30


Raab's lunch sounds good! If I bought my lunch everyday, I would certainly not buy the same thing unless I was really digging it. But I need to prep my work lunches so it makes a lot more sense to me to make a big pot of something and bring it into the office every day for a week. I find it much less stressful not to have to think, "Oh, it's lunchtime, time to figure out what I am going to eat". The fact that that decision is made for me, and i don't need to worry about it, more than makes up for the lack of variety. Besides which, lunch at the office is a functional thing to me, not a source of great enjoyment. Depressing but true.
posted by Ziggy500 at 3:36 AM on April 30 [2 favorites]


Why, yes, I am one of those weirdos that eats each item on a plate separately until completed, then moves on to the next item, why do you ask?

Now, that really IS really weird. Bravo! Vive la différence!!
posted by tenderly at 4:13 AM on April 30 [1 favorite]


I have tried to do this but run into problems, like people eating delicious smelling french fries in their cube. There are just too many good restaurant options where I work.
posted by tofu_crouton at 4:32 AM on April 30 [1 favorite]


If you are going to eat the same sandwich you should make it yourself and vice versa.
posted by y2karl at 4:33 AM on April 30


I’ve had pretty much the same lunch most weekdays since the summer of ‘97. Sandwich (meat, cheese, mustard, mayo, and the cheese goes on the mustard side because that is how it works). Add in a fruit or two, and a yogurt cup.

The odd days where I don’t eat this, I find myself kind of missing my sandwich...
posted by caution live frogs at 5:08 AM on April 30


Team same lunch every day!

Same breakfast, similar lunch for my entire working career. I LOVE food (and cooking), but at work I need the decision made for me otherwise I spend too much money and time deciding what to get. or worst yet, end up at 4pm at a Duane Reade hangry and buying triscuits and peanut butter since that's kind of a lunch. If I work late I order the same thing from the "healthish" food option, since I took the time a head of time to figure out what I want (when not hungry/stressed) and saved that option.

Sometimes when you're working really long hours and your brain is making a million decisions, you just need healthy-ish fuel at a regular time more than variety.


1cup lentils cooked with stock+ poached egg for breakfast, assorted roasted veggies for lunch, apple or pear for a snack. I make a stack of "lock-lock" boxes on sunday night. My BF makes the same rice-beans-chicken lunch for every day, and my brother does the same with his turkey sandwich and banana every day, so I never really thought it was weird.
posted by larthegreat at 5:32 AM on April 30 [3 favorites]


Also on Team Same Lunch. I got into the habit in January when I went into keto to lose weight before my wedding (in three weeks!) and the habit has stuck. I work in an academic medical school and our department is on the campus of a hospital. Although I know some will recoil, I eat from the hospital cafeteria salad bar every day. I get the same salad: mixed greens, sliced chicken breast, crumbled bacon, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, beets, occasionally a hard boiled egg if I'm super hungry, olive oil and vinegar. I also eat the same brand of yogurt every day, and just vary the flavor.

I thought I'd get bored of this meal, but I actually even miss it on the weekends when I don't have the access to it.
posted by lazaruslong at 5:41 AM on April 30 [1 favorite]


When I worked downtown, my lunch was almost always a breaded cutlet sandwich and lemon ice tea, mostly for three reasons: I love panados, they were really cheap, and could buy them on the subway platform stall either waiting or on arrival.
posted by lmfsilva at 6:00 AM on April 30


The trouble with fun variety food is that I overeat. If I have the same not-too-exciting lunch every day, I can pretty much stick to it. This is why I buy that German all-rye thin bread rather than the breads of which I am fondest - it's decent enough on a sandwich, but I am never tempted to make toast or grilled cheese or even a slice of bread and butter, and because it's entirely whole grain it basically doesn't absorb butter in any case, the butter just runs through and the whole thing gets gross.
posted by Frowner at 6:29 AM on April 30 [2 favorites]


My dad is one of those folks who has the same thing for breakfast and lunch every day for [mumble] years. In the morning, plain Cheerios with 2% milk. Lunch is fried baloney sandwich with mustard on WHITE bread.
posted by sperose at 6:35 AM on April 30


I guess I'm the flip side of all these people saying that it's all right for breakfast and maybe lunch to be the same -- my lunches tend to vary since I eat at the office cafeteria, but my dinners go on streaks of sameness because I'm the one preparing them. I think 90% or more of my dinner vegetable selections have been "frozen chopped broccoli" over the past year for instance.

As far as commercial eateries... I once got dinner from a Subway two days in a row at a con and the guy made a comment about like... "wow you must like subs a lot". At which point I swore I would never show my face there again. If preparing my own plain and boring food is the price of anonymity then so be it.
posted by inconstant at 6:43 AM on April 30 [1 favorite]


When I studied abroad in Italy, one of my American fellow students was known as "Prosciutto e formaggio" because that's all he ever ate. I'm not sure if he was unadventurous or if he wasn't confident in his Italian skills.

I like to cook but I think I'd benefit from having a small set menu from which to choose. Herr Vortex and I sometimes talk about making a cookbook of our usual foods so that when it comes time to meal plan, we have somewhere to start.
posted by Elly Vortex at 7:04 AM on April 30 [2 favorites]


My modular lunch: 1 cup whole grains, 1 cup mixed vegetables, 1/2 cup legumes, 1/2 cup flavored protein (marinated baked tofu, usually), 1 tablespoon walnut oil, hot sauce to taste. 1 piece of fruit and 6 oz full fat plain yogurt on the side.
posted by BrashTech at 7:11 AM on April 30 [3 favorites]


I'm an a boring but adventurous eater. I will eat and try darn near anything, but I know what I like and I'll happily go for it over and over again.

Almost every time I go out for Thai I get a Phad Thai. I like other things just fine but almost every time I just wish I had the Phad Thai.

I also don't personally cook or eat hot food as much as most people and tend to see eating as a lame chore that I wish was voluntary.

My personal record without any hot food at all is probably over two months. Or maybe more. I wasn't really paying attention or doing it on purpose - I didn't really have a kitchen beyond a home made alcohol stove and a mess kit. I still do it off and on and go days and days without anything hot to eat or drink at all.

What did I eat? Peanut butter, fruit, veggies, nuts, jerky. Oats and cereal. Yogurt. Canned beans and veggies, soups. All cold, because fuck dishes and paying for fuel, and who cares? It's just fuel, not art. And if anything the diet I eat when doing that is basically paleo-lite and raw and super healthy.

Heck, I'll even eat out of hand like this like I'm on a bike tour or camping when I have access to a kitchen or working in one. It's quick, easy, convenient and can be widely varied.

In the winter I'd heat a lot more food because I needed the heat anyway, and it was pretty essential and functional to get warm food in me when it was near freezing outside.

Right now I'll prep hot food maybe 2-3 times a week, and it's usually something really simple like noodles and cabbage in miso broth, mac and cheese or a can of beans or chili.

And I can switch from this "bike tour food" style back to cooking in seconds if I'm cooking for other people or it's a special event, and then go right back to eating like a healthy hobo without a thought about it. I love cooking as an art and activity, but don't require it to feed my silly meat robot.

When I last visited Seattle I arranged a lovely, glorious lazy brunch where I volunteered to be short order brunch/breakfast cook so my friends could chill out with their kid.and our mutual friends. I did every type of egg except poached, creped or soft boiled, but I was ready for all of those, too.

But for my day to day fuel? I'm probably about as close to a realistic and not garbage "soylent green" diet as I can get without inventing some space age 50s food pill. Turns out that this "food pill" exists and it's apples and carrots.

One thing I would like to add to this "out of hand" diet is something that's like beef jerky but vegan... and maybe not soy. Functionally this is a bag of trail mix or nuts or whatever, but I kind of want something chewy, savory and leathery like jerky.

And now I want breakfast, which is totally new to me, which... let's see.. will be an apple, a couple of scoops of peanut butter and a big dill pickle. And cold instant coffee. It's maybe 45 degrees in here (I can see my breath still!) and I sincerely don't care or crave hot food.
posted by loquacious at 7:14 AM on April 30 [2 favorites]


Objectively it is weird. I know this because it is a thing many autistic people do and then get made fun of for it.

Just saying.
posted by brook horse at 7:24 AM on April 30 [5 favorites]


I once got dinner from a Subway two days in a row at a con and the guy made a comment about like... "wow you must like subs a lot".

Whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy
posted by tobascodagama at 7:34 AM on April 30 [1 favorite]


I'm on team same lunch everyday! I did restaurant lunch (about 30 different places) for 10 years, but I just got tired of that, so I'm enjoying same lunch and saving some money. We'll check back in another 7 years.

Dinner has to be different everyday - that's my exciting meal.
posted by The_Vegetables at 8:09 AM on April 30


Breakfast: bland-ish cereal with raisins, a sliced banana, and possibly other fresh fruit if there's any in the fridge.
Lunch: Salad with baby spinach, carrots, broccoli, cucumber and tomatoes, with either croutons or toasted almonds for extra crunch. Change up the dressing and side snacks (yogurt, granola bar, etc) for variety. It's so much easier to make sure I have ingredients in the fridge when lunch is a known quantity every day, and I never get tempted to get a restaurant meal or McDonald's or something.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:13 AM on April 30


"wow you must like subs a lot".

every bite of that sandwich would taste of despair to me.
posted by poffin boffin at 8:40 AM on April 30 [3 favorites]


I literally left and ate the sub in my car, in the parking lot, in the dark. With a book.
posted by inconstant at 8:44 AM on April 30 [8 favorites]


i support these valid life choices
posted by poffin boffin at 9:09 AM on April 30 [4 favorites]


Objectively it is weird. I know this because it is a thing many autistic people do and then get made fun of for it.


I also wanted to note and acknowledge I'm the last person to know what "normal" even is.

Granted, if we look at food throughout human history - having a choice and variety and thinking it's weird to eat the same thing every day is new and weird in itself.

The kind of food diversity and food culture we have today is really, really new. Even as recently as 50 years ago in the USA the dining scene and home cooking range was pretty much a monoculture.

Heck, even as recent in my own lifetime there's a lot of diverse international food I now take for granted. When I was a teenager my food culture and the food culture of everyone around me was really bland and capital-A American, short of the fact I grew up in LA around Mexican food.

I remember my first "Thai" restaurant, too. In hindsight it was just a fried rice and chow main joint in an industrial park near my dad's business and it was cookie-cutter "Chinese and donuts" kind of food. The fried rice was "Thai" because it had canned pineapples in it. It seemed exotic at the time.

I cringe about it now. The family that ran the place probably hated making all that sweet and sour chicken and gross, sugary Americanized "asian food".

I wish 14 year old me knew about Phad Thai and spicy food.

I once got dinner from a Subway two days in a row at a con and the guy made a comment about like... "wow you must like subs a lot".

Whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy


Yeah, making any kind of comment from behind the counter that isn't accommodating and friendly is dumb, but we are talking about Subway. They pretty much exclusively hire stoner kids that couldn't hack it at a pizza joint or McDonald's.

I loved learning my regulars favorites and regular orders, and even offering suggestions they might actually like, and then being able to make the same thing to order reliably and maybe a little better each time.

One regular hated pickles. No skin off my nose, one less plating step and more pickles for me, or one less trip to the walk in to restock.

Another regular loved veggie breakfast burritoes with extra pico in the burrito, no sour cream. Same thing every day. He'd seek me out specifically because I did it right.

There was another regular who always wanted an oatmeal raisin cookie and a small black coffee. If I didn't have oatmeal raisin cookies, he'd get neither. Nothing else. I ran to the back to throw in a sheet of oatmeal cookies for him dozens of times. A couple of times he gave five and ten dollar tips on three dollars worth of cookie and coffee.

My regulars that had regular food or coffee orders were always my best tippers, even the fussy customers that always had a special order or even their own invented sandwich or favorite thing.

It also saved a lot of time, since I could see a regular come in and just ask if they wanted the usual. I had a couple of regulars that were so regular I could start their order before they showed up and it'd be ready just about when the walked in the door.

Which is not only a neat trick of timing and thoughtfulness to pull off for a customer, but also an amazing way to shift time and lean forward if you're slammed and in the weeds during a lunch rush. That's also one less person standing in line at the counter, and one more check that can be settled later after they've eaten and the rush slacks off because I know they're good for it and who they are.

That doesn't sound "weird" to me. That sounds very normal and reliable and delightfully boring.

And, frankly, I always loved hearing "You make the best of my favorite thing." over and over again. That never got old. I loved the familiarity of their orders.
posted by loquacious at 9:15 AM on April 30 [7 favorites]


Some people are just weird about anyone else making choices, ever.

I like looking forward to my lunch. I'm not ashamed of wanting my lunch to be interesting. I'm not even ashamed of preferring some foods over others! My team usually eats at our desks and works through lunch so interesting food is a nice break in the monotony of the workday. Variety is one way of achieving that but because I aim for macro goals and do meal prep, I find myself doing "structured variety" most of the time. I rotate through the dozen or so lunch-friendly recipes I cook that are well-suited to fuelling a post-work gym session. I consistently eat really well (because, let's face it, I'm a really good cook) and this saves time over braving food court lineups with students.

I had a partner who found it odd that I didn't want to eat a peanut butter sandwich and banana for lunch every day. He found it odd even when he was sneaking my rice bowls and freezer stews and homemade protein balls for lunch. I get it, my approach isn't as frugal and autopilot-y as his, but who cares? Maybe I'm really weird, and maybe I should stop caring, but any discussion or justification of food choices pretty much gives me hives at this point.

I sometimes wish that I could take care of my body, mind, and wallet well by eating any old thing, but that's not how Adulting works for most people. I feel like I'm way too old to have to explain that to a peer.
posted by blerghamot at 9:56 AM on April 30


Once a week or so, I make something that will give me several meals: stews, soups, burritos, casseroles, pasta, curries, goulashes, anything that will go into ziplocks or tupperware as individual servings. While I'll repeat a recipe at will if it's good, such as making variations of the same base beef stew for 30 years, experimenting with sous vide and other modernist cuisine techniques has shown that some make great brown bag lunches. At any given time I usually have 4-6 different types of meals in the freezer and a couple thawing out in the fridge. Grab something from the stockpile on the way out to work, nuke and eat at lunch. Or if I don't feel like cooking in the evening or on the weekend it's right there. I tried doing it for breakfast as well, but found I preferred my standard can of V8 and a granola bar -- fuel to get me started in the morning on the commute, not cuisine. Also, I kept eating them for dinner or as a late night comfort-food snack.

Looking at the current freezer contents, I have a goat and vegetable stew, turkey panang curry, a bunch of beef and bean burritos, pulled pork portions (just add bun) and sous vide roast beef au jus with smoked potatoes. Since I live alone, it's easier in most cases to just make a full amount of whatever and save most of it for later, rather than try to make the perfectly sized one person portion. Also, I've found it easier for portion control to package it all up right after cooking, and not eating until the rest of it goes into the fridge/freezer -- if I eat first, and find myself still feeling hungry, it's very tempting to go have a second serving if it just means ladling out more into an already used bowl.
posted by Blackanvil at 10:32 AM on April 30


I don't think it's that weird to eat the same thing every day if you're making it yourself, since autopilot then saves time and money. But I do think it's weird if you're buying lunch out every day, and the only cost of variety is making a decision.
posted by Kriesa at 11:30 AM on April 30


if it's something you're taking back to your office in the limited time you have for lunch, then getting something new can be risky, in case it is terrible, and then you have wasted the time and the money and have to eat old stale saltines from the plastic utensils drawer.
posted by poffin boffin at 11:34 AM on April 30 [3 favorites]


Stale beans, surely.
posted by tobascodagama at 11:39 AM on April 30


Nobody has mentioned that this minister probably isn't physically going to a Pret and buying this every day? I assume he has a staffer who does that and it's just easier to have a standing order than trying to catch this dude every morning between his meetings.
posted by momus_window at 11:45 AM on April 30 [1 favorite]


I got in the habit of predictable eating while growing up with Type 1 Diabetes in the time before insulin pumps (got my first one in my 20's), and going through occasional periods of food insecurity.

Meals had to be lined up with the peaks and valleys of long-acting insulin, and injections of short-acting insulin had to be taken half an hour before meals. My mother was going through her own difficulties at the time, so I pretty much had to figure things out for myself. The best way to keep this all together was to eat as close as possible to the same thing at the same time everyday. That way, I didn't have as much to worry about, e.g. knowing the glycemic index of a wide variety of foods.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 12:06 PM on April 30 [2 favorites]


I have worked at the same place for about 13 years now and, for the last 5 years or so, I have eaten pretty much exactly the same lunch every day: Ham sandwich with cheese and pickles. At the risk of sounding like a total freak, I will share with you the key to this sandwich: I bring the bread separately from the sandwich innards, which are wrapped in wax paper. I toast the bread at work, add mayo and mustard, then add the innards from their cocoon-like waxy enclosure. And slice diagonally, of course.

The whole is transported from home in a pleasing reusable wrap.

I started doing this to save money when my wife wasn't working--before that I'd eat out maybe 3-4 times a week (10-15$ a pop). And I just kept doing it. To the point that coworkers watch my sandwich preparations with apparent awe. And if I vary from my routine, I will be questioned by no fewer than two coworkers about it.

The whole lunch routine lends a certain Mezzanine element to my day.
posted by Kafkaesque at 1:46 PM on April 30 [3 favorites]


Wait has no one mentioned Gov Scott Walker's old habit of constantly instagramming sad ham-and-cheese sandwiches?
posted by grandiloquiet at 2:02 PM on April 30


Curious about this sandwich, I discovered (after seconds of research) that it's the top-selling prepared sandwich in London! So there you go.

There was a food cart in my neighborhood that made the most amazing sandwiches, a combination of the best bread and fantastic sauces and spreads. When I bring it up to my girlfriends, we still cry and whine about the injustice of him closing down and moving to Vermont. I tried to get my friend in Vermont to drive an hour out of his way to get a sandwich but so far, I've heard nothing.

Granted, he sourced the bread locally, here, but clearly he knows good bread and can find it in Vermont. If I could have it everyday, I would.
posted by amanda at 2:09 PM on April 30 [2 favorites]


The place in the lobby when I was with Bank of America ( 69 State St. Albany ), used to have a sandwich, roll or bread + filling, a few a day. Ham and Cheese on a hardroll, turkey and cheese on whole wheat, etc.

And she had a kettle of soup, and you could get an 8oz. cup, and a pile of fruit, so you can grab a banana, and a cooler with cans of soda.

for like 6 bucks, I miss that. The perfect combination of familiarity + enough variation.
posted by mikelieman at 3:16 PM on April 30 [1 favorite]


This is so alien to me. If I have toast for breakfast I'll have a different topping for each piece. The only time I can remember eating the same thing for any extended period was in my first year of university when my meal card ran out towards the end of term. I ended up ordering some large pizzas and eating them over 2-3 days (no kitchens in residence).

This need for variety has definitely hurt me in the past. When I was living in Winnipeg there was a Vietnamese take-out place (Asia City on Sargeant if it's still there) that had great bubble tea, and the best flavour was their young coconut shake. I would go pretty often and most of the time I would get the young coconut with no bubbles, but maybe every 3rd time I would think "let me try one of the other flavours, they might be even better" and I'd try something different like the avocado or taro. The other flavour would be good, but never as good as the young coconut. So something like 1/3 of the bubble tea I had wasn't as good as it would've been if I had stuck with what I liked instead of looking for something new. The next time I'm in Winnipeg I'll definitely go there and I will get the young coconut bubble tea with no bubbles.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 4:03 PM on April 30 [1 favorite]


I’ll eat the same thing for lunch every day for a week or a couple weeks. When I worked retail in-store jobs I would bring the same TV dinner to work for weeks on end, Stouffer’s Turkey Tetrazzini. I’ve eaten it literally thousands of times and I’m still not sick of it (I have a couple in my freezer right now).

Even if you eat the same thing multiple times in a row, it doesn’t necessarily taste the same way every time. Different proportions of condiments, the degree to which the meat is cooked (I’m thinking of the roast beef sandwich I had for lunch today), the flavors of the vegetables (a bland winter tomato compared to a zingy summer tomato). The bag of baby carrots I buy and divide up into individual portions is not going to taste like the carrots I ate last week.

Sure, after a couple weeks I’ll need something different (ideally this would coincide with the last serving from the container) and I’ll switch it up. But I submit that even if it’s the same thing, it’s not identical from day to day. Even my beloved tetrazzini has different proportions of sauce, breadcrumbs, or mushrooms per package. It’s never the same twice. But it’s always good, so that’s why I keep buying it.
posted by Autumnheart at 4:37 PM on April 30 [2 favorites]


Nobody has mentioned that this minister probably isn't physically going to a Pret and buying this every day? I assume he has a staffer who does that and it's just easier to have a standing order than trying to catch this dude every morning between his meetings.

If I had a staff person whose job was bringing me lunch, their job security would depend on constant variety and quality. Getting the same mediocre thing every day would not fly.

Almost all of my lunches are leftovers from dinner, so there is constancy from one day to the next, but also constant variety day to day.
posted by Dip Flash at 8:45 PM on April 30 [2 favorites]


I have different things for lunch and breakfast every day (the freelance life), but I understand this guy because I literally cannot order any ice cream flavor besides mint chocolate chip. Everytime I go to the ice cream shop I'm like, ok this time we're going to try something different but I never have the willpower to force myself to abandon my beloved mint choc.
posted by lollymccatburglar at 11:48 PM on April 30 [2 favorites]


If I had a staff person whose job was bringing me lunch, their job security would depend on constant variety and quality. Getting the same mediocre thing every day would not fly.

generally the terms of employment for personal assistants don't include mind-reading, though? how on earth are support staff meant to intuit whether you feel like today is a day for egg salad and arugala or more a california club sort of afternoon? and what happens if the poor staffer guesses wrong? support staff already deal with enough temper tantrums; a standing order is pretty much the only workable system one could put in place, here.
posted by halation at 3:58 AM on May 1 [2 favorites]


I was thinking about this more, and something left unsaid is the value of experiencing the variations of a given dish or favorite food.

Even with eating a lot of apples, each apple is different.

One reason i like to order Phad Thai at different establishments isn't just because I know I'll generally like any decent attempt at a Phad Thai, but to experience the differences in the dish from restaurant to restaurant and kitchen to kitchen.

I chafe at and I am proof against the general sentiment that people with regular and reliable favorites are unadventurous or boring. Sometimes it just means someone has tried everything else on the menu and they found something they like a lot more than anything else.
posted by loquacious at 4:27 AM on May 1 [4 favorites]


Another thing to remember is senior executives like a minister tend to look for foods they can eat either one-handed, or quickly, between meetings. They also look for things that don't spill or drip, or will necessitate a trip to the bathroom to freshen up after eating. It also can't be heavy or a lot of food, lest the eater drift off in their afternoon meetings due to food sleepies.

I organize a day-long meeting for senior executives once a quarter, and you would be astounded at how particular these folks are. Many lunch foods don't make the grade. I had one lady bitch at me because the sandwiches were too big to eat daintily - she wanted hors d'oeuvres size sandwiches.

So it's not surprising he's found a combo he likes and keeps ordering it.
posted by LN at 7:48 AM on May 1 [3 favorites]


I eat the same thing every day: leftovers from last night's dinner.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 1:12 PM on May 1 [2 favorites]


If you can keep the leftovers in the fridge/freezer for an extra day I find that having leftovers for lunch the 2nd day after eating them for dinner gets rid of any lingering feelings of eating the same thing all the time.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 2:07 PM on May 1


I've bought cases of Soylent a few times, does that count? That's more to do with the fact that I need nutrition but go through times where eating is too annoying to do all the goddamn time and Soylent solves that problem.
posted by GoblinHoney at 2:17 PM on May 1


Turns out that this "food pill" exists and it's apples and carrots.

Which you still have to eat. You can't just swallow them like you can with a pill. If I eat the same thing too often, it starts to make me feel physically nauseated, even if it's something that I originally quite liked and still quite like in principle. Even if it's a kind of "treat" food - I discovered, for example, that although ice cream is possibly my definition of a magical food, there is a limit to how much I can eat and if I pass that limit it starts to taste bad.

Also I would have to eat an awful lot of apples and carrots to feel full, which is the other thing I want the magical space age pill to do. I would be well and truly past the nauseated point if I tried to fill myself up on apples and carrots every day.
posted by Athanassiel at 5:55 PM on May 1


I have the same breakfast every day, and lunch is usually the same as (the previous day's) dinner, but I never repeat a dinner within a given week (or even two).

Breakfast is a cigarette (same brand) and black coffee (same brand).

When I'm eating out for lunch (either went out for dinner the night before, ate my packed lunch as a second dinner because) I try to avoid going to the same place twice in the same week.

During my MSc I fell into this rut of eating Chef Boyardee ravioli reheated in the microwave (almost) every single day. During my PhD I was the envy of my lunch group with my highly varied lunches - some of which were put together from (sometimes many) different containers who's contents needed different treatment (refrigeration/ reheating) or who's storage was incompatible with something else.

That continued into my postdoc when I'd be having lunch with the undergrad co-op students. When I switched to my current job, people tended to either eat out or at their cubicles and my extravagance tapered off - evidently the showing off and being begged to share had an effect on my motivation.

Thinking back to college, I remember most people would grouse and whine about the (mandatory and fixed price - and on-campus housing was also mandatory) food service (by Marriott) - in retrospect, for the price it was pretty darned fantastic. Varied rotating menu, lots of self-service stuff like sandwiches/ grilled paninis/ quesadillas/ salad ingredients, big variety of hot/ cold beverages, they even started bringing in chefs to do on-order stir-fry/ pasta type stuff too. All you could eat.

I kind of really miss that.

(It was arranged as three open interconnected lobes around a central service area; one of the lobes allowed smoking. I was a heavy smoker.)
posted by porpoise at 7:23 PM on May 1 [1 favorite]


Dominic Raab: I don’t eat the same lunch every day. Well, he would say that, wouldn’t he?
posted by StephenB at 2:42 AM on May 4 [1 favorite]


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