This is what lunch usually looks like for me. A salad with leftovers (grilled chicken and peppers, in this case). Or just plain leftovers. And if I’m really feeling unmotivated. PBJ.
For me, lunch has always been the “most frustrating meal,” and I have come up with quite a few tips and tricks to help streamline the whole lunch prep and experience for us.
But we are each in unique situations and while I have played the SAHM, WAHM and part time working mom roles in my life, I am missing the “full time work outside the home mom” part. And of course the “dad part” too.
Here’s where I need your help. In order to make sure I’ve got ALL the bases covered in the next cookbook, I’ll need to hear your experiences.
All I want to know is what frustrates you about lunch. That’s it!
What is the most frustrating part about lunch…packing it, preparing it, spending too much on convenience foods, lack of creativity, lunchbox getting lost in the office fridge?
It’s time to let your lunch hour woes be known!
I hate lunch. I never know what to make. I hate sandwiches and I don’t want to spend more than 15 active minutes preparing lunch (if it needs to cook 20-40 minutes, that’s fine). What I think would work nicely for my family is pasta that is quick to prepare, but isn’t just pasta with red sauce. But I don’t know anything that is both easy and isn’t red sauce.
@silver, You haven’t tried Erin’s Fettucine with Peas & Ham! Mmmm! Had it for lunch today and was pretty quick and easy! But I’m with you on the quick and easy thing!
Lunch is indeed frustrating. I have trouble coming up w/ something for lunch esp. when I have to think of packing it for my husband and feeding small kids. We usually end up having leftovers, but that gets old…quick!
Sometimes for me and the kiddos we’ll do something quick and easy like pita bread w/ hummus, carrot sticks and fruit. That, however, would not keep my hubby full at work so he usually gets last night’s dinner again.
The thing I hate about lunch is deciding what to make. I end eating the same old thing, for weeks or months at a time. Eggs, salads and PBJ are my staples. I need some new and quick ideas. Quick is key.
the most frustrating part for me is finding the snacks from the food groups.
I try to keep a balanced menu for the kids all day, and lunch is the worst. Finding the “snacks” that they all like is hard. I got the wrong yogurt because this one doesn’t like that kind … or I bought the whole grain goldfish or other cracker type things they like, but they don’t want to take them to school or don’t eat them because the other kids make fun of them for having baby snacks.
So, to be less verbose, I think the hardest part for me is getting the snacks for the kids’ lunches. I hate putting fruit in their lunches, because I learned that you absorb the most nutrients from fruit when it is eaten alone (so, it’s our after school snack now.)
Cupcake Mommie (Jessica) says
For me it’s lack of creativity and time. We usually eat the same stuff–and enjoy it, but I of course would like more variety. Time is usually in a crunch if we have just come back from preschool or a morning activity. Everyone (including me) is tired and hungry. It’s hard to prep before hand because we’ve just left after breakfast!
I can’t wait to read this cookbook!
This is me, exactly my problem, too!
For me, it’s about keeping it all day in my lunch bag without going bad, or worse, getting squished and congealed. I’m a pretty hungry person by the time lunch rolls around so I have yogurt and crunchies and veggies/fruit to worry about too….
Frustrations = eating reheated leftovers. Creative frustrations = using the leftovers & new stuffs to make bento creations! Salads? Thats a no-brainer, what is so hard about a salad?
Food IS Fun!
My daughters just went vegetarian this January so in a few days summer vacation starts and I will have to figure out what to feed them everyday for lunch. They are NOT putting up with pb&j since they overdosed on it during the school year. I’ll be searching for inexpensive easy to make salads I guess. Sometimes with their softball schedule we need to have salads for dinner too though so I am not sure how to keep variety there.
My husband bring hummus and pitas to work and I am trying to make those from scratch to save money. They are expensive! But he will eat leftovers or even pb& j if needed.
Lunch is sometimes frustrating, especially for those of us who work full time (although I don’t have kids just yet), getting lunch together quickly in the morning can get frustrating. I usually either take leftovers from previous nights dinner, frozen Michelina meals (they are usually on sale for only $1 and can get them even cheaper with coupons sometimes) or something simple like a sandwich, can of soup or salad.
Definitely the lack of creativity – I know there are other things to eat besides sandwiches and salads, but somehow, lunch rolls around and there I am, unable to think of anything else. Lunch is definitely the most boring meal around here!
Little Miss Moneybags says
Soggy sandwiches! I hate dry, boring sandwiches (just turkey and cheese) but putting lettuce, tomato and pickle on it means it gets soggy before I get a chance to get to it. And I’m taking it with me to work, so I don’t want to have to do a lot of assembly, or carry tomatoes and pickles in a baggy that might leak.
Christina Troeltzsch says
I hate packing lunch for both my boys and myself. (Hubby is responsible for his own lunch). I don’t want to pack the same thinking all the time but lack the energy some mornings to add variety and keep it nutritious. Not to mention the boys are at different developmental stages so sandwiches only work for the older one. And I am trying to diet, and want to avoid things like sandwiches, since my tend to be full of fatty ingredients, i.e. cheese and mayo.
Here is a blog inspired by “lunch hour frustrations”, enjoy!
It is important to reuse & recycle food too if one is a true “non-waster” greenie!
Just make it look good that is all, just like the Japanese who have done it for hundreds of years.
I am a full time working mom with a teenage daughter still at home. My husband and I take lunches and snacks to work every day. This saves money and is much healthier. When I am cooking dinner I plan for extra – usually double what we would eat. I put the extra in reusable/ freezable/microwaveable containers. The entree and all sides go in the container. Then I label them and put them in the freezer. In the morning we each grab a frozen meal, some fresh fruit, and put them in a reusable bag. Because the meals are frozen, we let them sit out on our desks…we don’t have to worry about there being room in the refrigerator at work. By lunch time they are partially thawed and microwave in 3-4 minutes.
Our daughter also eats these for a snack after school…much better than chips, etc. She will also have them for lunch during the summer. I try to have a variety in the freezer so we are not eating the same thing every day and you feel like you have a choice. When I start to run really low, I plan a day where I make several meals to restock the freezer. These meals are also very handy when life happens and cooking just isn’t an option.
Vicki Nave says
I’m a stay at home mom to a four year old and a two year old. I find myself making the same things all the time for lunches. I’m trying to get away from the processed, convenience foods like mac n cheese, chicken nuggets, etc. but have to find things to replace them. I have made homemade ravioli that my kids enjoy and am going to try homemade chicken nuggets today. But I need other ideas of what to feed my picky kids. They need some variety.
As a sahm I feel like I’m obligated to eat the leftovers. I feel like I never get anything nice for lunch, something new. I miss the occasional eating out I did when I worked, the nice salads and sandwiches someone else fixed for me! Reheated leftovers in between fixing pbj for the kids…sigh.
So, I love leftovers for lunch! That’s my go-to, and that’s what I eat most of the time. My frustration lies when there aren’t enough leftovers (if there is only one serving, it’s easier to send them with my husband rather than think of something new for him), or when the supper meal doesn’t lend itself to leftovers very well (fish, for instance).
Get your children to help you make lunch into an art form…
#1) Get to spend quality times with your children
#2) Encourage creativeness in your child
#3) Inspire a good hobby or even a profession in your child, maybe the next “Martha Stewart”.
#4) 2 brains is better than one as is 2 hands
#5) Making lunches is no longer boring…
(all it takes is that 1 hr away from the TV after dinner for both the parents & the child)
#6) Teach the child the importance in reusing food, hence no waste; good strategy for the eco-friendly green generation.
#7) Let the lunch “art” speak for itself, start a good “green” trend that pass along visually & inspiration-wise to others;
Make home lunches = no waste = green = no eating out = save $ = save gas = save packaging = endless ++ goodness in a counting…
Just a good deed all in all. 😉
I eat the same thing every weekday (lunch & b’fast since I eat that in the office too), mainly to keep it straightforward, and I know that what I eat is healthy & within my calorie plan. Prep time is the worst, ESPECIALLY when it comes to salads. I try to prep everything on Sunday nights & prepack everything I can, but I can’t do that with salad. The veggies will go bad or get soggy, etc, so I have to prepare that EVERY night. It’s just a pain to take 15 mins every night to make a salad. I try to do it if I have a break while making dinner, but I’m usually busy washing dishes instead. I eat soup in the winter and salad in summer (it’s too hot for soup in the summer). Soup’s easy…pour & go. But I do need to look into making a big crock-pot of veggie soup at home instead of buying those canned soups (which I’m sure aren’t as healthy). (HEY ERIN….that’s a great idea…include a recipe for crock-pot veggie soup for your cookbook. 🙂 )
In order to get all the food groups (except meat…I get that at dinner), I eat a “hodge-podge” of stuff during the day:
-quick oats with cinnamon & brown sugar for breakfast
-salad with various veggies & a cut-up piece of string cheese & vinaigrette (or soup if it’s cold out)
-small pack of chips or pretzels (or other grain-type snack)
-cup of lowfat yogurt
-cup of fruit (usually pineapple)
(PS…salad dressings would be another idea for recipes for your book.)
I always take leftovers, which is never a problem for me. But my husband is always looking for lunch ideas – he never has access to a refrigerator or microwave, and is easily bored. Right now he has a 4-tier tiffin container that he likes, but always seems to be taking the same variation of sandwich, salad, fruit, dessert. He likes experimenting with different flavors – he just needs to know ways to put things together that will keep him out of a rut (and out of expensive restaurants at lunch).
I want things I can make ahead, pull out of the freezer, and pop in a lunchbox in the morning still frozen. I make stromboli with pizza dough, ham and cheese and do this. Works perfectly, and they are perfectly defrosted by lunch time. But I’m bored with just this one recipe–I need more.
repetition and convenience food. 🙁
I have two small ones and another on the way. I hate the prep time for lunch. I want something grab and go and I usually try to keep out some leftovers for that reason. I also hate the cleanup because my girls (and me) are usually ready for a nap after lunch and the dishes usually get left behind. I want easy, fast, and healthy (not prepackaged like hot dogs or spaghetti o’s). Salads are fine for me, but a 2 year old has a hard time eating such things!
I agree with everyone else so far: for the kids, my frustration is getting lunch packed that they will actually eat (not bring home again in the lunch bag) or getting something fast that we can come home & eat! If we’re out in the mornings, it’s hard to come home & be creative on the spot. Having a meal plan has helped – I haven’t done lunches yet, but it’s helping for dinners. Maybe by the fall I’ll get it in gear to do lunches. 🙂
For myself & my hubby, it’s variety. I can eat the same things every day, it doesn’t trouble me; but if I pack last night’s leftovers for DH he doesn’t want them – “we just had this” is a familiar lament. So it would be nice to stagger things by a few days, and have more ideas on meals that freeze well, or keep well.
For us all, it’s about a fairly healthy, balanced meal that you can eat fast! The kids’ lunch at school is 20 minutes tops, and DH works in sales so he’s often called away while eating. I’d also like it to be filling, with room for additions/subtractions (like adding pickles or removing mushrooms) and something I enjoy is always good. 🙂 Not like asking for the moon… Some of my kids’ favorite foods are highly processed (pizza rolls, hot dogs) and while it doesn’t worry me too much, I’d like to prepare fresher foods for them.
In summary, I think preparation is key and we all need more of it! Darn it that so many parents have to work 2-3 jobs in a household to support everyone. 🙁
My lunch dilemma is this: two of my kids are gone at school and I’m home with a 2 yr old and a baby. So, I have to pack a lunch for my olders and then feed myself and the toddler. The olders are so frustrating because it seems like I always send the same four things (main dish, grain, fruit, cookies) and I always hear complaints about how boring it is. BUT, when I try to send something different, more often than not, it comes home again. I hate packing lunches.
Then, for myself and the toddler, it’s so much easier to grab something while we are out and about, or hit the drivethru down the street, so we eat out too much. But, hubby usually takes the leftovers and I don’t want to cook for myself only, so…unless I’ve just gone shopping and there is sandwich stuff, well, here I go again.
Lunch is the bane of my cooking existence.
My husband & I are boring when it comes to lunch & that is OK.
Every day that I go to work I have 2 servings of fruit (one for a snack) and 1 serving of vegetables (carrots & celery) with hummus.
My husband is not a fan of hummus so he has some meat instead.
Changes to this plan are rare & few & far between. So we pack everything up on Sunday for the whole week. Then on each morning, we pull each piece & pack it.
Luckily, our daycare provides food for our son, but I do send in a serving of fruit for him to have as an afternoon snack.
[email protected] says
No matter what I bring for lunch, even if it’s leftovers of a scrumptious wonderful dinner or a wonderful homemade salad – I rarely feel like I’m eating and appreciating my food properly. There’s something lacking in presentation or atmosphere when I’m eating out of Tupperware, no matter how delicious the food is. For this reason I eat lunch out way too often – even at the cheap Mexican joint, at least they bring me a real glass for my drink and real plates/silverware.
I also suffer from either boredom – or I go to the other extreme and spend too much time to make lunch or make too much of a mess.
Christina D says
I never have enough time in the morning for putting together a lunch.
Julie Kieras says
Yes! I thought I was the only one who stared into the fridge, opened and closed it about 8 times, and then went out to buy a donut and ice coffee instead of fixing something. So I guess my biggest problem is that I lack the motivation and creativity to make a good lunch “just for me” now that I am a SAHM. Okay, I don’t always buy a donut but otherwise I usually just eat another bowl of cereal or a granola bar. Nothing exciting. Please share more posts about what you do to improve your lunchtime! 🙂
Beth Danielsen says
I am a SAHM and I home school, we live on one very small income. So my issue is money. I cook 3 meals a day 7 days a week for 6 people (2 adults, 2 teenagers and twin 6 year olds). My 17 year old son has FMS and food allergies. I also saw and read Food,INC. by Micael Pollen, so buying ‘cheap’ non organic food is not permissable. We follow a rotation diet, and I cook everything, and I do mean everything from scratch. Still the price on such items as spelt flour and organic chicken is killing us : ( So, trying our best to grow what we can in our garden and eat cheaper proties such as lentils and beans.
I do have your cook book and look forword to the next one. I still can’t keep dinner under $7.50 and lunch under $6. I try to figure about $15 a day on food.
I also cook almost everything from scratch and am also cooking for 6 people. 2 adults and 4 kids( 8,8,6,3 yrs old) most weeks 7 days a week and 5 of the six of us have “food sensitivities”. I most days I don’t come close to the $5 dinners, but more like 7-10 dollars. Most of the time there is enough for leftovers for lunch either the next day or later in the week. Everyones situtation is different, you have to figure out what is the least amount you make a meal for and then use that for your goal. Mine will almost never be $5. I am hoping to get closer to this number since we have a pretty good sized garden this year.
Susie's Homemade says
The most frustrating thing about lunch is time. I need something quick and easy or it will be PBJ.
Becky L. says
I never know what to cook when we are home all together, especially on a Monday. It’s usually mac and cheese, from scratch or leftovers. We don’t have sandwich meat or we make tuna egg salad sandwich. Mid week, it’s leftovers to take to work for me, tuna egg salad sandwich, hubby eats at Costco 2x a week (polish sausage and a pop). Fridays we usually go to Subway, since I’m off and it’s a time for us, before he heads to work.
It’s hard to be creative for lunches and i don’t know why. I’m glad I’m not the only one. I’m sure if I’d plan it better, then there would be better lunches.
Atlanta Nutritionist says
What frustrates me about lunch is having to actually cook. That means 3 times a day chopping and cleaning. I want lunch to be easy.
I HATE LUNCH! IT feels like the most frustrating thing about the day. It would be easy if it was just me and the kids but most days my hubby is home and he won’t really eat leftovers. So we really end up eating pizza or mac and cheese and nuggets… it gets old… but at the same time I don’t want to be in the kitchen cooking up a big lunch!
Hey! I’m just tired of the same old thing. Would love some EASY and Quick suggestions that would be good for the adults as well as our almost 10 year old son. Give me some new ideas. 🙂
Amy's Stocking Stuffers says
I mostly enjoy bringing lunch to work, but I admit there are times when what I thought I would want when I packed it is not really what I want when it’s time to eat, and I end up feeling dissatisfied. Usually I like having lots of small portions of different things, to keep things interesting. But I don’t always succeed at that!
There are a lot of things that are frustrating at lunch.
I try only to each meat with my supper so that makes it especially frustrating. If I have something yummy like pasta, I eat too much and find myself tired and sluggish. If I eat only PB&J or a HM bean burrito, I’m really too hungry and end up snacking too much while cooking supper.
Also, I hate using plastic baggies and I can never seem to have the right takeout dish available for packing.
Carrie Moore says
I hate the fact that regardless of what I packed, going out to eat like everyone else does sounds so much better.
My lunch frustration is….ideas…what in the world can be made for lunch that is quick and interesting?!
I end up taking the same boring lunch to work everyday because it’s easy and I don’t have to think on it: yogurt, granola bar, fruit.
The kids are easy. I can make them a simple lunch. I am the difficult one and with my son being in school in the afternoon the last couple of years (preschool last year and young five’s this year) I find I make them a quick lunch, we run out the door and so often I hit a drive through for myself.
The hardest thing for me is that nothing sounds good in the morning! I am not a morning person and its hard enough to think about breakfast. I don’t usually like left overs although I will eat them and as a teacher we only get 30 minutes for lunch so it has to be quick. Throw the whole healthy thing into the mix (which I try to be) and it makes for a fustrating way to start the day!
My biggest problem is packing lunches that are yummy and nutritious, are varied (I don’t like to eat the same thing every day) and are QUICK to mak and pack.
My picky, picky, picky husband doesn’t mind eating the same thing everyday though so lately I’ve been getting bread on sale and making the whole loaf into peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I individually bag them and then put them back in the bread bag and stash them in the freezer. That works great because then I can just grab one out for his lunches.
The first thing that came to my mind was that my kids won’t stay seated during lunch. They feel the need get up and go play and when they come back I have cleared their place(s) and they aren’t too happy. I always tell them that they must not be too hungry if they got up from the table before they were done. Oh, well sooner or later they will learn. I just included this as an entertaining tidbit. After my initial thought I knew what you were asking.
You can always take your food and go on a picinic or let the kids eat outside especially in the summer and even thought it is the same food, its somehow different for them. My love to eat fruit especially watermelon outiside where they can spit the seeds and mom doesn’t say a word. Sometimes just a lot of little tidbits of food. We will do lots of little bits of fruit, maybe some veggies, maybe some pretzels all together with a smoothie. Our smooties consist of mostly, banana, mango and strawberry with a tad bit of raw baby spinach thrown in, but not enough for the kids to tell some agave nectar and water, blend and serve.
We mostly do leftovers, with PB J, but we are usually happy with it. Occassionally, my kids will ask for hot cereal for lunch or pancakes for lunch. I am also intersted in different options, than listed. I wouldn’t say we are tired of what we eat, but to have options is great.
Package issues & preparation woes…
I have 4 kids (7th grade, 2nd grade, 2 yrs & 4 mos). I work full time outside of the home M-Th. My hubby works full time outside of the home during the school year as a jr high teacher. Oh and it’s hot where we live in Phoenix.
We struggle to provide portable options that don’t go bad. Things that DON’T work include lunch meat, mayo, hard boiled eggs, cheese, cream cheese, fruit slices. The kids can’t take nuts (allergy free zone). (My struggles are circumvented by breakfasts heavy on proteins with lunches about carbs & whole fruits. Yes, ice packs are options but 1st graders lose EVERYTHING! and ice in ziplocs melt…
I struggle to eat enough as a nursing mom. That means lots of fresh fruits, veggies, protein, etc. Lunches are exhaustive with the prep involved. (My struggles are circumvented by prep on Sunday or in the evening and assembly when at work.)
My hubby struggles with temptations of the school volunteer room. there are too many treats around so instead of eating a healthy lunch, he’s swayed by the crap, I mean the lovely sweets provided by the parents to say thank you. 🙂
The biggest problem I have is with my husband’s lunches. I get in a rut, and always default to making him sandwiches, because he doesn’t have access to a microwave. Sadly, one day he said, “Honey, if I have to eat one more cold sandwich for lunch I am going to throw up!”. He meant it in love, but I just don’t know what else to make that is interesting and grown-up man friendly!
karen l says
I HATE cold bread sandwiches. I work outside the home part time as a substitute teacher often at different schools and so toasting bread for sandwiches or reheating food isn’t always an option. I struggle to find things that are quick for me to eat when I am at home too. My two girls ages 4 and 2 love PBJ and other quick food. I often feed them and then sit down with them. My oldest one always wants to know what mommy is going to eat. I never know. I dread going to the frig and seeing left overs from the night before. And yet I don’t have the energy to create something new and delish. I would love a quick, easy, and cheap way to enjoy lunch again.
I hate lunchmeat sandwiches and salads never fill me up. I’ve been eating alot of pita bread with hummus and fruit but that’s not enough and I’m starving by the time I get home.
Wow! I feel much better after reading all of the comments. I really thought I was the only one in a lunch rut. I used to work and got these great subsidized lunches at my corporation. You couldn’t beat the variety or the price.
When I became a WAHM coming up with ideas was so frustrating. My husband brings the leftovers to work and he likes it and is used to it. But the kids and I are in a rut. PB&J, Grilled Cheese and Cottage Cheese. Many days I don’t eat lunch because I can’t be bothered. Which really isn’t good.
I’d love some ideas!
I end up taking leftovers most of the time…and I’m ok with that. I also have a stash in the freezer of single serve soups and stews that I make every one in a while for those no leftover days. Cheese, crackers, fruit and veggies are also good for those non-inspired days.
My hubby eats out often as he travels for work and things get too warm or smushed in the vehicle. Every once in a while he goes on a packed lunch binge…when he starts to think about wasted money…but then goes back to buying lunch. Hmmm…
Our son gets fed at daycare so that’s ok…my dilema will be when he starts school in the fall and we have to start packing food for him. So many restrictions on what is allowed because of other children’s allergies as well as how it is packaged for the playground and disposability. Crazy that in this “green” aware culture school requires sandwich bags etc. so that they aren’t responsible for the reusable containers…..
My most frustrating thing about lunch is that I work in childcare, and here in Canada, most childcare centres are Nut/Peanut free. I find this very limiting, as my favourite lunch leftovers are thai food, and I do actually enjoy PB&J.
My lunches need to be easy to pack, easy to eat at my desk while pumping, and I need to include more vegetables. If I’ve got leftovers, I will eat them. Hubby won’t eat leftovers so he goes out most days – not too good for the diet or budget. It becomes too easy to eat processed food – Lean Cuisine meals, granola bars, oatmeal packets, yogurt, popcorn…
Erin D. says
The worst part about lunch is the preparation….I always think I should do it the night before, but then with everything else I never do. Plus lunch always seems to sneak up on me and the kids are hungry and I’m scrabbling to get it out on the table. So for me I would love to see some make ahead ideas with variety.
I am a home health hospice nurse which means majority of my lunches are eaten in the car while going from patient A to patient B. Try to pack interesting meals and not go through drive thru. Gets difficulty to have something besides sandwiches day after day, since I am driving I need one hand meals. Also, it is now summer in Oklahoma, very difficult to keep food cold even with a good cooler to store the food.
My biggest challenge is that I get bored eating the same thing over and over. But with my budget and limited time I often throw my food budget more to dinner than to lunch. For my kids they are so picky that they eat the same 3 things in rotation.
thats disgusting! and that is bad parenting! you suck
try these friendly ideas:
Lunches used to be easy meaning leftovers. But with a husband, 14, 10 year old and a one year old, we no longer have leftovers, not a big deal in the school year. In the summer I need quick ideas that both a teenager and a one year old can eat.
This is a great discussion! I am working on having my children (13 and 10) pre-pack most of their lunch the night before. One child has a favorite sandwich and sometimes I will make it the night before. My other child goes for more variety – yogurt, bagel with PBJ, or PBJ. In the winter I will give them soup or leftover spaghetti in a thermos. They seem to enjoy that. I tend to run out of time when it comes to me. I am content with PBJ, fruit and something else. Sometimes I will pack a few snacks. My DH is now at home and fends for himself. However summer is coming and I will need to have more options that don’t require cooking or thinking. Lunches on the weekend are just much work and I really don’t want to be in the kitchen. My creativity goes out the window when it comes to lunch so any thoughts are welcomed!
about 2-4 days a week I am a substitute teacher so I pack myself a lunch the night before. i need it to be portable, quick and convenient. i don’t always have access to a fridge or a microwave, so i stay away from those meals. i have been eating deli meat for the last, probably 6 months straight, gross. I am sick of deli meat- i hate it- i do not want to eat it all summer. plus, i have been reading about the benefits of being a flexitarian (part-time vegetarian) and about how the chemicals (nitrates, also in some hot dogs!) increase your risk of colon cancer 21% for every 1.7 ounces eaten daily. YUCK! And with cancer running rapid in my family, the last thing I need is to increase my risk of anything!
So HELP! I need something HEALTHY, quick and yummy to eat on my 20-25 minute lunch breaks! I know you can do it!!
I have to have a hot lunch. Even if I am going to have a salad like your pretty picture, I want hot chicken. I don’t have time with a little one running around to make a hot lunch for myself unless it is a lean cusine that I microwave. I also hate making the kitchen a mess because that is another thing that I have to clean up while it is nap time because I have to be ready for dinner. We gave up on eating out after having a little one to save on the budget and to try to be more healthy but it causes more time in the kitchen doing dishes and other food prep stuff. I would love something healthy and hot for lunch 🙂
Well, the LC are expensive and uninspiring. Eating out takes too long and it crazy expensive. I’ve had my lunch eaten by someone else (group fridge/freezer). Generally, it’s just that I don’t plan ahead and figure out something good and nutritious the night before so I’m left coming up with it on the fly–not a good plan for the diet or the budget. Ideally, this would be the best meal of the day, but w/o DS and DH I just don’t make the effort–that and I know I’m eating big at dinner b/c I have my boys with me then. Much more fun to eat with others.
Lunch-time is also rife with running errands (sans DS), getting haircuts, trying to crochet a moment in peace, trying to read something entertaining in peace…it’s just a loaded time, and not just food-wise.
I’m a SAHM, and my biggest frustration I think is preparing lunch. It seems like it sneaks up on me. By the time I start making lunch, we’re already starving!
I love homemade leftovers but I need my lunch to be “lighter” than our dinners generally are (my kids and DH do not care how many calories are in their dinner, they just want it to taste good). I am a full time work outside the house Mom and do not want to waste my food budget eating out every day. I do eat Lean Cuisine and Healthy Choice when I can get them for less than $1.00, but the sodium levels keep me from eating them every day. I would love to eat for less than $1.00 a day on foods I can pre-prepare when I’m home on the weekends and have it keep in the freezer or fridge for me to grab on my way out the door. Even though I work full time, I like to eat as frugally and healthy as I can for lunch!
This question got me thinking and realize that during the summer, I rely too much on canned pastas or frozen meals (we do love Lean Cuisines). Lunches need to be fast but don’t want to feed my girls too many sandwiches during the summer since they eat cold lunch 99% the time during he school year.
Like many, more time and thought goes into what t make for dinner…..we don’t “do” hot or bologna type food…..we are not into leftovers much so choices tend to be limited.
This is a great question and I realize I need to put more thought into what to make for lunches once school is out….something much more healthy than what I had previously thrown together.
Lunches can definitely be over complicated, but with a full time career and as a full time mom, mornings can get a little hectic. Leftovers work, if there are any; – there are sandwiches, if we have lunch meat; frozen entrees (but those get old) and sometimes you aren’t even hungry when you are leaving that lunch is the last thing on your mind and you just decide to “wing” it. (Always the wrong move!!!)
My biggest frustration is trying to come up with something new and different to pack for my husband and the children who are in school. The boys (9, 7, 5) usually end up with PBJ, raisins, chips or pretzels and a cookie. My husband doesn’t take a lunch break (if he’s not working, he’s not getting paid) so he eats on the job site or in the work van while driving to another site, and needs something that’s easily popped in while multi-tasking. The youngest, who’s 3, and I end up with more variety because she and I are home during the day. Some easy, tasty and fun ideas to put into lunch boxes would be a blessing 🙂
I’m a Part-time WAHM, work at clients/SAHM, I eat breakfast around 8:00 and we eat dinner between 5:30/6:00. I’m don’t get hungry for lunch until about 1:30/2:00, so I just end up snacking on cheese and peanuts because I’m afraid if I eat a full meal I won’t eat dinner with the family. We almost always have leftovers, but they hardly ever appeal to me (and besides, those are my hubby’s lunch!). Now with the kids home for the summer (ages 10 & 12), I don’t want the usual chicken nuggets, frozen pizza junk for any of us. They are the usual picky kids. Fruit always works, but we have difficulties agreeing on the rest of the meal.
Karen Schwabenland says
The most frustrating part for me of packing three lunches is the packing part. I pack three lunches every morning, one for myself (a full time teacher), and one for each of my two children. I have been keeping this ordeal going now for almost 18 years! Our lunches get so uninspiring that I look for inspiration in the packaging of the lunches. In my pantry right now there are about ten different styles and varieties of lunch boxes. I buy them whenever they are on sale, or when weeks of the sheer boredom of it all have set in. The lunch boxes are all unisex, meaning that any one of us can take any of the lunch boxes on any given day. It also helps to have back ups as they tend to get left at school.
So my delmia is always size & weight. Especially since i use ice packs. I do this for several reasons. Its more efficient to just have my lunch at my desk & avoid wasting time with questions being asked in the break room. My job has me offering a lot of feed back & so whenever i leave my area i get bombarded w/ questions. So this makes its simpler & i don’t have to worry about my food getting taken. The down side is that i have to make all my lunch plus my ice packs fit. 🙁 & at first i questioned my amount of food, but it was really just the containers i was using. I have purchased smaller containers & use mostly baggies for everything else. So between more waste & wishing my lunch box itself was an icepack too that i could just empty n toss in the freezer at the end of the day, I’m just left hoping i can make it lighter & less bulky.
I work at an office 8am-5pm Mon-Fri. My biggest frustration with lunch is making time in the morning to pack something. If I don’t bring something with me, I end up eating out and I hate having to do that…both for health and budget. I sometimes make time the evening before to pack something but usually I’m too busy or tired or stressed to want to think about it so I end up either rushing out the door with no lunch or spending maybe 2 minutes throwing in some leftovers, a fruit, string cheese, etc whatever is quick and easy. I know I should get up earlier so I have time to pack a salad or something a bit healthier but I can never seem to stick to it.
Before I got married I used to have interesting lunches–homemade salads, etc. I miss those so much! Now I always have leftovers and sometimes I have the same leftovers a couple of days in a row! Lunch can be so boring sometimes.
The most frustrating thing about lunch is what to feed me and the kids (i have 4, 5, 3, 2, and 2 months). I don’t want to spend a TON of time in the kitchen, but need something quick and nutritious that isn’t’ PB & J. I send the leftovers with my husband and my mom…that way i know they get a decent meal without eating out.
I just did a post today, with 43 different suggestions for new, creative lunches! I was bored with my old lunch standby (turkey sandwiches), so some research and some brainstorming… check them out and feel free to copy galore!