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Tina LaiTIna Lai, Gourmet

Packing Home in a Brown Bag

I have been recently told of an anecdote, the type that is poignant but sweet.
A little girl, carefully places a picture of her father, her favorite, albeit faded showing a much younger man smiling, on top of her piano before she starts her lessons. She reasons, in all child-like earnestness, that in this way her Daddy can see her play.

With the increasing demand of longer work hours, travel and job-related stress the balance of work and home is precarious. Men who are still traditionally the main bread winners have become a disappeared face from the family’s landscape.

The most alerting fact is that persistent stress for men or woman, can result in cardiovascular disease, sexual health problems, a weaker immune system and frequent headaches, stiff muscles, or backache. It can also result in poor coping skills, irritability, jumpiness, insecurity, exhaustion, and difficulty concentrating. Equally, stress may also perpetuate or lead to binge eating, smoking, and alcohol consumption.

sandwichIn my experience as a caterer, I am amazed to see how grateful the staff will be for a fancy lunch. It’s not everyday that the average worker will be get grilled tuna on focaccia with olive tapenade and organic salad.

In honor of Father’s Day, here are some tips how to pack a real substantial lunch to appreciate the man of the house.

10 Tips for Packing Home in a Brown Bag

The last thing, that is on a busy person’s mind is food, if one is busy, one wants to eat as quickly as possible and continue with work.

Tip #1:
Keep it simple: Sandwich, cookie or snack, fruit and beverage.
No need to force your men to do double duty and clean up the fridge of the leftovers, he might just never have time for the 2 minute zap on the microwave. Make sandwiches that are easy to eat, cut them in halves avoid “overfilled and messy”.

Tip #2:
Keep it varied: Man can not live on bread alone!
Although he is busy, he will appreciate a little variety. Choose good breads, specially hearty ones: 7 grains, sprouted alfafa, ciabatta, sourdough.  Bread keeps well in the freezer, you can keep a variety frozen and just pull out a few slices at night for sandwich making the next day.

Make it substantial: This the fuel for the work day.
Lunch, much more than dinner, is what will be giving the sustenance for working through the long hours.  A single piece of ham will not do it, think of other ingredients that will give enough carbohydrates and proteins: sliced grilled chicken, turkey, beef, tuna hard-boiled eggs.

sandwichTip #4
Add some trimmings: There are sandwiches and there are sandwiches.
Mine come with things as organic greens, sliced beefsteak tomatoes and caper mayonnaise.
There is nothing to making a nice dressing with mayonnaise, add sun dried tomatoes, olives, capers, chopped fresh herbs, honey Dijon mustard or horseradish.

Tip # 5
Don’t forget the dessert: To avoid binge eating, often from the nearest source, which is the vending machine, it’s always nice to include a nice sweet. This can be a homemade cookies but  a packaged option as well, many companies already make snack size portions.  A piece of fruit can also be sweet and satisfying.

Tip #6
Keep him hydrated: The best drink you can pack him is a bottle of mineral water.
When one gets busy, one often goes without it like a camel. Water is essential to keep the body refreshed.

Pack a little bit of love: It’s always nice to find a little note, expressing appreciation for his hard work. It might also be a nice opportunity for a gentle reminder for social commitments or other household issues.

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