Join Date: Jul 2006
Re: Packed Lunches
This is a great topic! I’m always looking for ideas. I bring my lunch to work just about every singe day. It always amazes my coworkers that I can do that. Most people here just buy lunch. On the contrary, I couldn’t imagine spending $7+ dollars a day just on lunch!
I don’t have kids in school yet, but I also leave lunches at home for my sahd because he won’t cook so if there isn’t a healthy, ready-made meal, him and the kids are eating processed crap for lunch.
The first and foremost easiest thing to do is to always cook a double batch of whatever! I like to keep little microwaveable bowls with leftovers (pasta, couscous, rice, beans, stirfry, whatever was for dinner) ready. If you need these to go, you can just pre-warm them in the microwave and put them in a thermos. You can also make stuff that freezes well on weekends and build a nice freezer stash that you can just thaw and microwave. Pastas, lasagnas, soups, and casseroles usually freeze well.
My new favorite lunchtime tool: Tortillas! I get a couple of different flavor ones when I shop—tomato, spinach, wheat and flour (for the man who won’t eat wheat). Then whatever leftovers we had from dinner get packaged in a tortilla with any combo of the following: rice, shredded cheese, sour cream, dressing of any sort, cranberry sauce, steamed veggies, beans (I usually soak and cook them and have store them in the fridge or freezer for on-the-need basis, but canned ones will work as well). It never really gets dull because there are so many combos to make. Sometimes the strangest ingredients go so well together. I can give ideas of stuff we’ve had if anyone is interested in specifics, but you can easily just make them to include whatever you like. I package them up in saran wrap, keep them in the fridge or freezer, and warm in the microwave as needed. For a packed lunch, just warm them in the microwave (2 minutes on mid-power level or 4-5 minutes on mid-pwr if frozen), wrap in aluminum foil, then put in thermos.
As mentioned, I like to separate things as soon as I buy them for quick grabs, chopped veggies, fruits, cookies. I usually make yogurt, then slice up some strawberries or add some blueberries to it and separate into little bowls. This goes great with little bags of granola.
That stuff and the usual string cheese or bags of cubed cheese, crackers with pb (homemade, not the nasty pre-packaged ones), and pb/banana or grilled cheese/tomato sammys (you can make these in the morning and wrap them in aluminum). Potato salad, make extra for dinner then separate into lunchtime bowls…roasted broccoli wrapped in aluminum foil. And of course, fresh fruit is the easiest.
Oh, I’ll do tuna salad, but I usually like to have it in a little bowl, pack sliced bread in a separate ziplock then put it together at lunch time so it doesn’t get soggy. This might be harder for kids to do though.
You can make salads also by packing washed, dried, and chilled greens in a plastic bag with small holes. Pack dressing, tomatoes, croutons, etc in a separate container/baggie. But again, this is more for adults…I love freshly tossed salads at lunchtime!
We don’t eat meat btw, so I had to come up with creative stuff since the typical deli sandwiches were ruled out.
Mellie, wife to Malik (married happily since 12/3/05)
, Momma to Micaela, the petite sange (3/11/06)
, and Talise, the Koala (8/4/07)
Please help me help keep kids healthy