Navigating the maze that is lunchtime etiquette at the office can be tricky because you want to have the freedom to eat what you want. Unfortunately, you also don’t want your co-workers to hate you for it, and glare at you for microwaving something that stunk up the entire office. Here are 10 foods you should avoid eating at the office at all costs.
So, you made a great fish dish last night, and you want to reheat it. Please don’t. Fish is No. 1 on this list because it’s the number one offender when it comes to stinky workplace lunches. Salmon, tilapia, cod, or any other type of fish may constitute a “healthy lunch,” but it certainly won’t help you develop any healthy workplace relationships with your co-workers. They’ll have to smell it for hours after your nuke it in the breakroom microwave. Don’t bother looking up “tips” that help decrease the smell. No matter what you do (even if you cover it in some sort of container), it’ll smell pretty badly. If you want a healthy lunch with fish to get maximum omega-3 fatty acids, try eating it cold in a salad. Healthy, delicious, and your co-workers will thank you.
Hard-boiled eggs are a popular breakfast and lunch food because they’re nutritious and relatively good-tasting, but the smell of them can be quite a turn-off. So, unless the smell of your hard-boiled eggs is masked by salad dressing and other veggies in a cobb salad, eat your eggs before you come to work in the morning or go home for lunch to eat them.
Curry is one of the most aromatic foods you can bring to the office, and while you get to enjoy the delicious flavor, all your co-workers get is the in-your-face smell, which tends to linger for hours. Save the curry for dinner time, but if you just have to have some Indian or Middle Eastern cuisine on your lunch hour, stick to samosas, kebabs, or biryani, which usually have less odor. Or just go out to eat.
Microwave popcorn in itself isn’t a bad smell, but the issue with it is that the vast majority of people who make popcorn burn it. And that pungent, burnt-popcorn smell will make it incredibly difficult for you and your co-workers to concentrate on work. A better idea is to buy some mini bags of pre-popped popcorn, which is just as delicious and usually covered in caramel or cheese.
You may think that your leftover steamed veggies from last night’s dinner are the perfect healthy accompaniment to your grilled chicken sandwich, but you are gravely mistaken. Reheated steamed veggies don’t exactly smell like sunshine and roses, so if you want your veggie fix at the office, buy yourself some baby carrots and celery sticks.
Szechuan pork or beef and broccoli may smell good at first when it’s fresh and hot, but that smell gets old pretty quickly to your co-workers, especially if you didn’t order enough to share. It’s even worse if you order something weird, like kung pao shrimp or steamed bean curd. If you don’t want murderous glances from your co-workers, stick with the milder chicken fried rice or some spring rolls.
Tuna, Egg, or Chicken Salad
A fresh kale or taco salad is a great lunch option, but when your salads start venturing into the tuna, egg, or chicken territory, you should stop. These kinds of smelly salads don’t get any better if you stuff them in a sandwich or pita pocket, either. Save those salads for your summer picnics and stick to fresh greens and grilled, mayonnaise-free proteins.
Kimchi, a fermented vegetable dish from Korea, is popping up in restaurants all over the States, but its newfound popularity isn’t a reason to bring this dish to work. No matter if you enjoy the taste, you have to admit that the scent is less than pleasant, so spare your co-workers the torture of smelling this dish and enjoy it at home.
Initially, everyone will bask in the delightful smell that is your Quarter Pounder with Cheese, but when the smell of grease and salt hangs around well into Happy Hour, people won’t like that smell nearly as much. Fast food is a convenient (albeit unhealthy) lunch option, so if you don’t want to give up your lunchtime fast food fix, just go sit at the restaurant or take it to the park and eat it (or anywhere else away from your office).
Chipotle, Qdoba, and Moe’s are found on practically every corner, so you’re not alone if you enjoy a good burrito for lunch a couple times a week. But as tasty as these burritos are, they’re quite aromatic, especially if you add weird toppings, like sauteed mushrooms. The solution? Eat your burrito in-restaurant, so your co-workers don’t have to smell it or witness the gross display of someone attempting to eat an overstuffed burrito.