When planning to pack my lunch, I turn to my trustworthy friend Google to find some ideas - only to be put off by the complicated looking bento boxed lunches. Sure this all looks great and I would love someone to pack me one of those healthy and perfect looking lunches, but let's face reality ~ I'm the one packing it and chances of it coming any close to one of those is slim to none.
Of course, packing your lunch is healthier for you than fast food options but it is also cheaper than buying lunch everyday. So packing is a double winner in my book. So how can I get this rolling?
First, set a goal of how many days a week you want to pack your lunch. I set my goal for 4 days a week with Fridays open to have lunch with friends since there is always someone wanting to meet up for a chat and a bite to eat. Last week was my first successful week - I packed Monday - Thursday and had a great lunch on Friday with a group of friends. Also, since I hadn't purchased a lunch all week I didn't really mind that Friday I splurged a little.
Second, figure out the best packable lunch for you. So, what the heck should you pack? My tip is to figure out a lunch that is easy to make and that takes no real thought or effort once you get all your goods for packing. I'm all about throw in the bag options. During my grocery shopping, I just went back to basics. So I need a sandwich, side, fruit/veg and maybe a treat. Seems simple enough … right?
The sandwich: this can be your Achilles heel or easy … I prefer easy. I don't necessarily have somewhere cold to store my food until I plan to eat it therefore complicated sandwiches are out for me. Also, I can't say I want to spend thirty mins or so making my lunch everyday so I opted for peanut butter & jelly. The good 'ole PB&J. It's really something that I never get tired of - I never look at my sandwich and think … man I don't want this today. It's filling and easy.
The side: There is a whole world of options. Last week, I bought a bag of pretzels and kept filling up my sandwich bag each night. It just took a matter of seconds to replenish. Sure you can buy all the prepackaged foods but I think throwing some in a sandwich baggie is not that time consuming. Yogurt is also another good option as a side - but again don't want to have to worry about keeping it cold.
The fruit/veg: Again, you can go the hard way or the easy way. The hard way is when people buy a bunch of something chop it all up etc. Again, I just pick something that doesn't have to stay cold. Banana, apple, pear, etc. I'm not to fond of oranges as a lunch option because I don't want to deal with the peeling and oranges in my opinion are better when cold.
The treat: Currently this spot is being occupied by a Nutragrain bar. But, you can pick anything you want. What's something you can throw into your bag that will make this plain Jane lunch feel a little more bareable day to day? Also, pick something that you won't snack on outside of lunch - you know late night when you are watching tv you don't want to eat up all your lunch supplies.
This is what works for me. But, if you have leftovers and like to pack those … go for it! Salads are also a great lunch option but again I don't really want to have to worry about my stuff staying cold. All in all - keep it simple and enjoy your day off to splurge.
What's your go to pack lunch?