Regardless, I have been trying to find ways to make my life a little easier in the lunch packing department, and I have some quick ideas to share with you all today.
- When I make dinner, whether it be a casserole or just chicken breasts and rice I try to make at least 1 extra portion, which makes packing a lunch that much easier! Also, if there is more than 1 portion it can double as lunch for those of us at home. This one may seem like common sense to a lot of us, but you would be surprised how much time and money this can save!
- I keep junk food OUT of the house - except for certain occasions. I don't know about you, but anytime there is junk food in the house, I tend to eat that and then I don't feel like making a real, healthy dinner or lunch for the family. Healthy meals can be just as simple and quick as junk food, so keeping the junk out of the house has made it easier for me to be creative and come up with delicious and fun meals for my family. If you don't know where to start, Leanne Ely over at Saving Dinner has some great ideas. Sign up for her menu mailer, or just her free newsletter. I have gotten some wonderful ideas for snacks, lunches, dinners; ways to make everyday favorites healthier - you name it! I also just got an email saying everything in her catalog is 20% off today with the proceeds going toward helping FeedingAmerica.org in their quest to provide food to under-nourished children and families in the US.
- When I buy fresh fruit from the market, I immediately come home and wash and cut it up. I keep it all in a rubbermaid container in my refrigerator sort of like a "fruit salad" of sorts. I usually throw in some melons, pineapple and grapes. This is great because I can just grab a handful to throw in one of my DH's Goodbyn compartments, or for a snack for my 2 year old son... or myself! And I can cut up an apple or a banana to add to it if I want. It has been a huge help not having to worry about washing and cutting up fruit every day.
- Freezer meals! I love freezer meals! I will make up a large batch of say, chicken fingers (it is so much easier to prep them all at once than to have to make separate batches every time I feel like making them). Then I can just pull the small baggie out of the freezer and throw them in the oven. It's an easy and nutritious way to fill a Goodbyn with something yummy and fun. I often do this on Mondays because we eat at my inlaws' house on Sunday nights (read: no leftovers, and I am lazy on Monday mornings! lol) and the cafeteria at my DH's work serves chicken fingers on Mondays... so this way he doesn't feel left out. Besides, my homemade chicken fingers are way better than those fried ones at his work! lol
- My last tip for you today is to meal plan! I find that when I meal plan it takes the guesswork out of packing lunches. And that way if I pull out some leftovers and I don't know how old they are - I can check my calendar and I know exactly when I made it! Realistically this only takes me about 10 minutes a week, and I do it every week the day before I go grocery shopping. That way I can take into account what I have in the pantry already and head to the market for whatever else I need.