The never-ending, every evening responsibility of making lunches for the next day…. There really aren’t a lot of shortcuts available for this. But the rewards are so great and the time is worth it.
Currently I make lunches for myself, my husband and our 3 year old daughter. All 3 are very different.
I will start with my daughter. Her preschool has a rule (a good one for not-so-health conscious people) that each child’s lunch needs 2 fruit or vegetable servings each day. I’m also happy that they have parents bring lunches rather than providing it there. You never know what kind of junk is fed at some of those places. Most certainly a lot of GMO and foods containing HFCS. My daughter has been stuck on the same sandwich for months: a healthy wheat bread with sunflower seed butter (it’s also a no peanut school), and Trader Joes reduced sugar strawberry jam. I cut the sandwich into a large heart and a small heart and put in a BPA free sandwich container. Individual organic yogurts are great but to cut costs I started buying a large tub of organic plain yogurt and making it in BPA free cups with lids. I found it was too thin for her to easily eat so I started making it into yogurt cheese (Labneh) instead. I take a coffee filter and use a rubber band to attach it to the top of a cup. I pour yogurt into the filter, cover with plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator. I put a few small frozen berries and a teaspoon of organic sugar in a small BPA free cup with lid and place in her lunch in the refrigerator with the rest until morning. In the morning I scoop the yogurt cheese out of the filter and mix well with the berries and sugar, breaking up the berries slightly. She eats almost all of it every day!
Her fruit and vegetable combinations vary all the time. She seems to like any of the following (in small BPA free cups with lids):
Thinly sliced organic cucumber
Thinly sliced organic gala apples
Fresh pineapple chunks
Fresh organic blueberries
Fresh organic sliced strawberries
Thinly sliced carrots
Organic orange sections
Pitted cherry halves
Sliced fresh steamed beets
Frozen organic corn or peas (they thaw perfectly by lunchtime)
Some days I will add a cup of organic black beans or leftover chopped spaghetti with cheese and she always gobbles those up.
My husband’s lunches are pretty basic. One sandwich, one organic gala apple, a small bag of roasted, shelled sunflower seeds, a bag of chips (not those prepackaged small bags, it really saves money to just bag them yourself), a slice of cheddar in between 2 stone-ground wheat crackers from Trader Joes, some type of homemade baked item I have made, and a non-HFCS soda (Pepsi or Mountain Dew Throwback).
I try to keep the sandwiches interesting. He hates wheat bread so I buy a good quality white or potato bread (I’m trying to get back to baking my own bread). The sandwich will usually be a nitrite-free lunch meat, turkey or ham, with mayo, mustard, chopped onion, pickles, lettuce and sliced cheddar. Other days it’s tuna, egg salad, chicken salad, or sliced chicken, all with most of the same toppings.
Lately I have been experimenting with juicing for myself. I have been bringing the smallest portion of leftovers from dinner and a couple of healthy snacks and have my juice throughout the rest of the day. Juicing combinations I have been using are a mixture of apple, orange, grapefruit, cucumber, carrots, celery, beet greens, tomato and so many others. I drink about 10-12 ounces of it a day.
Pictures will be added later today!