These 8 Smelly Foods Should Be Banned from Breakrooms

We asked about the worst foods heated in your office microwave; you answered.

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Lunch is everyone’s favorite part of the 9-5 workday. Nothing can soothe your morning rage from five coworkers clicking “reply all” quite like digging into last night’s leftover spaghetti.

But lunchtime isn’t without its flaws. Each day around noon, your coworkers take a gamble on what they can throw in the microwave without making everyone else in a 50-foot radius plug their noses (while trying to make it look like they’re just casually resting their faces on their hands).

We asked our HealthiNation Facebook audience what smelly foods they want to ban from breakrooms. Are you guilty of packing any of these in your bagged lunch?

  1. Microwave popcorn (submitted by Michael S.)
    Everyone loves popcorn, but there’s something about the potent, resilient, inescapable stench of buttery popcorn microwaved in the office that can drive everyone crazy. (And let’s be honest: The 12 grams of saturated fat in each bag are not doing your heart any favors. Learn more about the different types of fat here.)

  2. Or worse, burnt microwave popcorn (submitted by Carol S.)
    Anyone who is able to shrug off the smell of microwave popcorn certainly will draw the line at burnt popcorn. It. Just. Doesn’t. Go. Away.

  3. Raw onions (submitted by Janie T.)
    No, no, no, no, no. Most offensive breakroom foods require a microwave, but onions earn a special place on this list for being worse raw than cooked. Red onion slices can certainly liven up a sandwich or bagel, but everyone will be left smelling it for hours afterward.

  4. Egg salad, or anything involving hard-boiled eggs (submitted by Barbara N.)
    True, some hard-boiled eggs smell less than others, but it’s a gamble each time you break open that shell. BTW, a smelly (and discolored) hard-boiled egg is a sign that you cooked it too long. Rumor has it you can decrease the sulfur smell by plunging your hard-boiled eggs into ice water immediately after boiling, which halts the cooking process. That doesn’t let egg salad off the hook, though: All that mayo, mustard, and onion can do enough damage with or without the egg.

  5. Steamed broccoli (submitted by Sally R.)
    Ditto for cauliflower. This one’s a blow to veggie lovers who want to pack a healthy lunch, but nobody can deny that cracking open a Tupperware of cruciferous vegetables at work is akin to setting off a fart bomb. Major bummer.

  6. Bacon (submitted by Jacqueline T.)
    It’s just such a strong smell, you know? While many people drool over the thought of bacon on their sandwiches or next to their Saturday pancakes, smelling other people’s bacon in the breakroom is an assault to the senses (if for no other reason than making them jealous that they’re not eating bacon).

  7. Cabbage (submitted by KuranAnne B.)
    See #5. Raw cabbage is totally fine, but cabbage is yet another cruciferous veg that should steer clear of the office microwave if possible. (These summer rainbow rolls are a delish and stink-free way to get your cabbage on.)

  8. Tuna, and most other fish (submitted by pretty much everyone)
    Tuna salad, tuna fritters, and tuna noodle casserole are easy ways to ruin friendships at work. FYI, if you open a container of tuna salad at work, at least one of your coworkers is definitely writing an angry tweet about you.

In warmer months, why not take your stinkiest foods outside and eat al fresco? It’s a good idea to step away from your desk and get some fresh air anyway. (Here are other tips for a healthier day at the office.)

That being said, food is food, and it’s important to nourish yourself at work. Do what you gotta do, but choose your leftovers carefully.