Lunch Planning Tips

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I wake up at 4:50 Monday-Friday.  That is so that I can get myself ready (and get a little prayer time in!) eat some breakfast and get my kids’ hair combed before I walk out the door at 6:40.  Needless to say, my mornings are strapped.

If you know me at all, then you know the mealtime battle with my picky eaters.  Buying school lunches is not an option…ever…so comes the never ending lunch making.

But 7 months into the school year, and I think I have some things down for sure!  So I would love to share some tips for making healthy and loved lunches for the family.

Tip #1: Plan ahead

When I do my grocery shopping on the weekend, I plan out lunches for the week.  The kids are pretty easy and occasionally I will put in some leftovers, but they don’t mind the consistency and having close to the same thing everyday. We have Planetbox bento boxes and so I try to be creative, but also efficient.  They help hold me accountable to serving different food groups.  My goal is to hit every food group.  THIS DOES NOT ALWAYS HAPPEN…but it’s a goal!  Here are my go to’s:

Veggie: celery, baby carrots, black olives (living on the edge here!)
Fruit: berries, oranges, applesauce, apple slices
Dairy: cheese, yogurt
Grains: bread, crackers, goldfish, pretzels, popcorn (this is the EASY one!)
Protein: nut butter, nuts, deli meat
Treat: I usually include a treat of some kind.  This will range from fresh baked cookies, Oreos or another packaged cookie, or just a Nutrigrain kind of bar.

Planetbox

Keith and I typically take the same thing and so I usually plan out one lunch to make 6 or 8 times!  We use the Easy Lunch Boxes and we each have a set.  Depending on the meals for the week and whether or not there will be leftovers, helps me decide how many to make.  We don’t mind taking the same thing for a week, but I always change what it will be for the next week.  Some great make ahead lunches that keep for the week are:

-Salads: BBQ Chop, Taco, Caesar, Sesame Chicken, and Italian Chop are our favorites
-Wraps: BBQ Chicken, Chicken Caesar, and Cuban are our favorites
-Bowls: Chipotle style burrito bowls and and Asian style rice bowl are our go-to’s  (We
actually put these in glass containers though as they will be heated.)

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Tip #2: Make ahead

As stated above, I try make 3-4 lunches a week for Keith and myself on Sunday.  If that doesn’t happen or we are planning to use leftovers, one thing I always do is prep it the night before.  When I get home from work I clean out everyone’s lunches from the day and make the next day’s lunches.  This way it is just done and I do not have to think about it the next morning.

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Tip #3: Have easy, ready to grab things on hand!

Lunch packing needs to be efficient!  So if you have to chop and cook and make every part, it will be difficult to maintain!  I try to make the “main dish” but then everything else I have ready to grab!  Some favorite snacks are:

-Trader Joe’s prepackaged trail mix
-fruit
-yogurt
-Kind bars or something like that
-pre-bagged veggies (you can prep this on Sunday!)
-cheese sticks

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The easiest way to make your lunch-making life stress free, is to be organized!  Do you have any time-saving lunch tricks for me?

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