Half the battle of getting out the door is the decision making that goes into food – breakfast and lunches and planning for dinner. (Why do all these people need to keep eating?!?) So here are some easy ideas to get lunch underway each and every day (and save you some stress in the AM hours.)
Have a Lunch Menu Sit down and brainstorm everything that your family likes to take for lunch. Make up a meal plan for the rest of the week so that you don’t have to think about it. If you find a plan that works, repeat every week. (Monday is PB&J, Tuesday is Turkey Tortilla Roll Ups etc.)
Make it the Night Before Don’t leave the kitchen after dinner until lunch is packed. Keep a supply of containers, napkins, utensil handy so that lunches are a breeze to put together. And finally…
Our Super Secret for Never Forgetting Your Lunch Again If you are packing your lunch to go in the fridge the night before, but have a habit of leaving the house sans lunch. Go ahead and put your car keys on top of your pre-packed lunch. When you go to look for them, I promise it will jog your memory of where they are.
Special Hints For Kids
- PB&J I love Crystal for Money Saving Mom’s post about Filling Your Freezer: Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches (she has a special technique to keep the bread from getting soggy: put peanut butter on both sides of bread, creating a sealant against the bread.)
- DIY Snack Packs While convenience seems to be the name of the game for most families with kids, with a little prep, you can save money and have kid lunches pre-prepped. Buy a big bag of mini carrots on the weekend, and then break them down into smaller bags (or better yet, have your kids do it and count it as a counting activity.) I have a basket in my fridge with all the grab and go stuff for lunches so even smaller kids can pack most of their own lunches.
- Dinner Leftovers Now that I have adult kids, (with access to microwaves at work,) Roger is not the only one who is keeping out leftovers from dinner in check. When you are cleaning up after dinner, go ahead and package leftovers for lunch the next day for any adults in the house.
- DIY Frozen Dinners When I’m doing one of my big freezer cooking projects, I will do an extra lasagna or pot of chili and break those down into meal-sized portions. That way, my husband or I can grab an individual serving and heat it up in the microwave. Much cheaper than a frozen meal or eating out.
- Store-bought Frozen Dinners I watch my store ads and when Roger’s favorite frozen dinners go on sale for $2 per meal or less, I stock up. (This is especially handy for when I’m traveling out of town.) All he has to do is add a piece of fruit.
Tell me in the comments below what your favorite on the go lunch is (for you or your kiddos) and you’ll be entered into our drawing for The Get Yourself Organized Project and a $10 Starbucks Card!
She and her husband Roger are the parents of four young adults in San Jose, CA. When she’s not dating her husband or hanging out with her puggle Jake, Kathi is speaking at retreats, conferences and women’s events across the US.