Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Making Lunch

Do you bring your lunch to work?  If so, do you enjoy making your lunch?

I bring mine to school because I will not eat the food in the cafeteria.  For many reasons.  #1 being the smell of the cafeteria completely repulses me and I can't even get in the door, let alone consider eating anything made there.

I've been making my lunch since 5th grade when I complained too many times about what my mother gave me for lunch.  I probably thought making lunch was great for about 2 days.

Since then, I've hated every second of the lunch making process.  It doesn't matter if it's my own lunch during the school year, k-ster's lunch in the summer, my own lunch in the summer when I take a course and can't run home for lunch and sometimes, I even hate making lunch when I'm home and don't have to even pack it!

Until recently.

First, I got myself the ultimate lunch bag.
It's just big enough that I can bring all of the glass jars and containers I want and not worry that something won't fit.  Most lunch bags aren't big enough to bring actual containers and I try not to bring too many plastic bags.  This one if just right.  It's also rectangular which makes it easy to fill.

Second, I started making my lunch at night.  The worst part for me is the entree.  Making a sandwich or a salad or deciding on leftovers at 6:30am was always really hard for me.  I am not big on food in the morning and can barely eat the oatmeal I make.  Thinking about what I might want for lunch was impossible and touching it and smelling it at that hour was never fun.

By the time lunch rolled around, I'd be craving the egg salad I couldn't deal with that morning, or wishing I had grabbed some of the meatloaf I made the night before.

Now, I get everything together the night before.  If I'm having a salad for lunch, I put it all together the night before.  It's amazing what fun things I will put in a salad in the evening vs. the wee hours of the morning!  If I'm having leftovers, I make sure to put all of them in one dish for easy heating.

If I'm going out the night before, I put everything together when I get home from school, before I go out.  If I wait until after my meeting or whatever I'm doing, then I'm too tired to care what I put together and I'm in the same boat as making lunch at 6:30am.

Sometimes, when I know I've made enough supper that there will be leftovers, I take out a lunch portion and put it away before we even eat.  That always feels like my biggest victory!

Next, I get  yogurt ready.  I've been buying the large Fage yogurt because I find that Whole Foods has it cheaper than anyone around.  It's big enough to last me the week, so I have less waste form all the little containers and I keep the container to plant my seedlings so they can stay in the greenhouse and get a little bigger than the little yogurt cups I used to use. 

I buy the plain and put my homemade grape jelly in it and then at school, I add almonds. All winter, I've been saying that grape jelly in yogurt is amazing and I can't imagine why no one does it.  And then I saw last week that Chobani is offering it as a limited flavor.  You have to try that combination.  It's amazing.

Any fruit that needs to be cut or vegetables that I will want peeled get done the night before and put in containers or plastic bags.  Cheese too.  When I know I'm going to have a late day or my protein isn't really high in my lunch, I bring cheese to eat before I leave school so I don't bite anyone after school.  The prepackaged string cheese is great but sometimes, I want cheddar or gruyere.  If I cut it the night before, it's ready and I will eat it later!

Any dry things like bars or jerky get put near my bag.

And on the rare occasion I bring a sweet, it gets cut and ready the night before.

I keep all of the refrigerated stuff on top of each other in the refrigerator and then put it all together in the morning.  My bag goes on the floor at home, at school and in my car, so there's no way I'd fill it and put it in the refrigerator the night before.   Plus, I don't have that kind of space in there. As long as the "hard" work of getting the stuff portioned has been done, collecting it all is no big deal in the morning.

Except on the few occasions when I've grabbed the wrong container and had nothing but a plain pasta or ALL of the chicken for my entree.  All of the chicken made for a fun lunch conversation!  Plain pasta just made for a sad, empty calorie afternoon.

Getting it ready the night before has made my morning a breeze.  I have a little more time to eat breakfast and catch up on internet happenings from the night before.  I don't have to smell something that will be great at lunch but turns my stomach in the morning. 

And sometimes, I find a little something extra in the morning that I hadn't thought about the night before, so I toss that in.

You'd think by what I pack that I'm going on a 10 mile hike.  I'm one of those people that must be fed every 2 hours or so or someone will get hurt.  This year, I've been so good about bringing all the right snacks to keep me on track.

Getting it all ready the night before is the best decision I've ever made!

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