Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Be Prepared

Your best defense is a good offense.  Meaning preparing things ahead of time will get you through your busy week without as much stress.  We all have busy schedules and find it hard to pack healthful lunches for our families.  It is just too easy in today's chaotic life to just hit a fast food joint instead of planning ahead for lunches.

I have some easy steps to help eliminate the lunch packing stress.

1.  Prep veggies and fruit ahead of time.  On Sunday, I grocery shop.  This means that when I come home, I spend some time washing, peeling and cutting fruit and veggies.  I keep a big container of cut veggies in my fridge at hand so I can just grab a hand full and throw it into the Goodbyn.  Wash your apples, grapes etc ahead of time.  There are some fruits that will not hold up to prep such as strawberries.  Use your own judgement, but a lot of veggie and fruit prep can be done ahead. 

2.  Meal Plan.  If you know what you are having for supper, you can plan for leftovers in your lunch.  Say you have chicken fajitas for supper...this would make awesome chicken wraps for lunch the next day.  No stress at 6am to figure out what the heck you are going to put in your lunch for the day.  This not only saves you time but it saves you money.   Here is a printable planner you can use http://www.your-printable-planner.com/7-day-meal-planner.html

3.  If you can, pack most of your lunch the night before and keep it in the fridge.  This also helps to eliminate that feeling of panic at 6am.  Nobody likes to have to deal with lunch before you have even had a cup of coffee.  If your kids are old enough, get them to help.

4.  Your freezer is your friend.  If you have leftovers that you did not plan for...freeze them for later.  If you bake cookies one week, do a double batch and freeze the second batch for later.  I do this a lot with banana muffins.  They hold up in the freezer very well and it is a treat that both my husband and kids love. 

I think that the less we stress about lunch, the more likely we are to keep packing better lunches and making better food choices for our family. 

Here is my recipe share for the week courtesy of my friend Patti H. 

Banana Bread (yeilds approx 2 loaves or 24 muffins)

1 1/4 C white sugar
1/2 C margarine
2 Eggs
1 1/2 C mashed over ripe bananas
1/2 C Buttermilk (or regular milk minus 1 1/2 tsp...add 1 1/2 tsp of white vinegar to the milk to sour it)
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 C flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1C of blueberries or walnuts (you can omit if you like)

Preheat your oven to 350.  Cream your sugar and margarine.  Add the 2 eggs and beat until the mixture lightens a bit.  Add your bananas, buttermilk and vanilla.  Combine your dry ingredients and add to the wet.  Mix until combined.  Fold in your blueberries or nuts.  I use a silicone loaf pan for this but if you are using a regular loaf pan, grease it before adding your batter.  Bake at 350 for 45 minutes to an hour for a loaf...approx 26 minutes for muffins. 

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