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Inside the House Party fridge

It's a Monday here at House Party and, like nearly every workplace, the company fridge is quickly being filled with a vast selection of lunchtime treats. While there are the occasional "lunch-out" days for all of us, many in our organization choose the health-conscious, low-cost alternative to their midday meals. In honor of this and frugalistas everywhere, I've picked some of the most popular dishes that grace our office around the noon hour. Whether these dishes show up in our fridge shrouded in the fanciest of lunch bags or simply stuffed inside a left over drugstore plastic bag, these dishes deliver on a daily basis. In other words, don't judge a meal by it's lunchbox. For those seeking simple, quick and nutritious ideas for lunch, look no further than the ideas below. These also solve a problem of not having to wait in the seemingly never-ending microwave line! Sandwich artistry We couldn't do a blog on weekday lunches without leading off with the classic, the lunch workhorse: the sandwich. Whether your favorite is multi-layered, treated with sauces and condiments or simply a white bread, meat and cheese staple, this one has a multitude of variations. Recent spottings in the office have consisted of a rather healthy tuna salad on wheat, a classic PB&J on an everything bagel (just to mix things up a bit!), an Italian sandwich on ciabatta bread with hard salami and fully-dressed, and lastly, remnants of a home-made Reuben.

Hummus and, well...anything This dish is as easy or complex as you want to make it. Frankly, it doesn't even have to constitue a "meal" since it more often than not resembles a luncthime snack. Around here, you'll see plenty of tubs of Sabra hummus (the Chipotle and Basil Pesto varieties seem to be the office favorites) accompanied by bags of broccoli, carrots and celery. Oh, and did I mention they now have a *Buffalo* variety as well? Man, oh man, healthy lunch just got a lot tastier, in my humble opinion. Now, if you're like me, those veggies really should be balanced with some good ol' fashioned carbs, such as chips, crackers or even a tortilla. You can sweeten the deal by spreading the chick-pea goodness on bagel chips for a tidy little snack as well.

The tupperware filled with salad This one, again, is comprised of very personal choices, but the frequent champion around the office here is a variation of the classic Greek Salad. All you need is the following (really in whatever proportions you prefer): romaine salad greens, feta cheese, calamata olives, cucumber, red and green bell peppers, tomatoes, a drizzle of olive oil and a spritz of lemon juice. Now, if measurements of "some," "drizzle" and "spritz" are not as accurate as you'd like, I suggest this for one heckuva tasty and easy Greek lunch. The great thing about salads is that prep time is kept to a minimum, while freshness is at an absolute peak. Not only are they tasty, but you get the opportunity to sit in the company (or your own) kitchen or at your desk with an added air of confidence and klout, knowing that while others have been tempted by hamburgers or other greasy midday options, you have prevailed - a victory for your waistline and flavor at the same time.

The collegiate approach Now, if you've got absolutely no time to prepare anything for lunch or are in the mood to revist the days of yore, every so often it's ok to resort to the box of cereal. That's right, you know you've done it or been tempted to at some point. While this is not the most nutritious option out there, there are plenty of granola, flax, or grain-based cereals for which one can easily be forgiven for diving into as a hurried lunch alternative. So, while nearly all of us have claimed at one point that we could eat Frosted Flakes or Lucky Charms for breakfast, lunch and dinner (seriously...you know you have), we recommend looking to a slightly less adolescent set of options such as Raisin Bran, Kashi or Shredded Wheat.

And there you have it! These are just a few of the lunch options that grace our fridge and kitchen during the week here at House Party.

Do you have a go-to lunch favorite? What's on your plate today?

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