So I have noticed a pattern in myself. I get really busy during the week and find myself with free time coming in 20 minute bursts. I've also gotten increasingly bad at getting out of bed in a timely fashion so a lot of things need to be accomplished before I go to bed or they won't get done. Most specifically, I have to pick out my clothes and pack my lunch before I head to bed.
The picking out of the clothes is usually pretty non-traumatic; it takes five minutes, if that, and I hang the outfit on the hooks on the back of my bedroom door. Boom. Planning lunch, unfortunately, is more time consuming. More often than not, what is easy and what is quick takes precedent over what is delicious, healthy, and satisfying. So what am I supposed to do to solve the issue?
The best solution I have found is to pack all five days worth of lunches over the weekend. It is, for whatever reason, much easier to find an hour of time on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon than it is to find 10-15 minutes each night during the week. I stash the meals in the fridge and pull them out as I go. This way, I am eating healthy, satisfying lunches each day.
This week's meal plan:
Breakfast: Smoothie made with peaches, raspberries, almond milk, and kale.
Lunch: Tortellini salad (made with tomatoes, broccoli, and mozzarella), carrot sticks and cherry tomatoes with homemade hummus, fiber one lemon bar, and seltzer water with lime.
Breakfast: peach raspberry refrigerator oatmeal (this is made by pouring oats, yogurt, milk, and fruit into a container and refrigerating it over night. In the morning, you grab it and go.)
Lunch: Cucumber and broccoli creamy pasta salad, vegetables with homemade hummus, apple slices with peanut butter yogurt dip, and seltzer with lime.
Breakfast: cranberry orange refrigerator oatmeal
Lunch: Tortellini salad (made with tomatoes, broccoli, and mozzarella), vegetables with homemade hummus, apples with almond butter, and seltzer with lime.
Breakfast: Smoothie. Not sure what kind yet; I'll mix it up tomorrow probably and freeze it.
Lunch: Cucumber and broccoli creamy pasta salad, wheat thins and hummus, apple-peanut butter smoothie (with almond milk and chia seeds), and seltzer with lime.
Breakfast: Probably yogurt and apple cinnamon oatmeal. The refrigerator oatmeal really is only good for about 2 days (according to the recipe) and I don't want to push it. If I have time I'll make something legit.
Lunch: The last of the cucumber and broccoli creamy pasta salad, campbell's soup to go, fiber one lemon bar, and seltzer with lime.
For some people, this amount of planning is probably overkill. I think the point for me is that I need to make my food decisions when I am of sound mind and not when I'm exhausted and packing my lunch is standing between me and getting to climb into bed. Or when I'm having a bad day and chips and chocolate seem like perfectly rational things to include in my lunch bag.
It's kind of funny, though, because one week in the past when I had made the effort to plan out and prepare my lunches, one of my fellow teachers commented on how good my lunch looked. It wasn't anything overly complicated--I had summer sausage with colby jack cheese, veggies with hummus, and sliced watermelon--but when I made my lunch, I prepared it carefully and made a nice presentation. Afterall, don't you prefer to eat food that also looks nice? While my kale smoothies look like toxic sludge, I do my best to make everything else look appealing. It isn't hard; it's not like I'm carving roses out of tomatoes, but it makes a difference to have my food put into nice individual containers (that I wash and re-use, I might add) rather than schlepping it into plastic bags or dumping it into a single container.
Whether you are a lunch packer or buy your lunch every day, lunch is a blessed half an hour break in the school day that deserves delicious food to fuel you through the day. This is just how I do it. :)