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Want to start packing lunches for your kids, your spouse, or yourself to take to school or work each day? Here are three strategies to help you simplify and streamline the process:
1. Have a Plan
I know that this sounds so simple, but your success in actually following through with your good ideas and ambitions all hinges on actually having a plan. Just as you need to plan a menu for the week and buy the groceries to make those meals if you want to, you know, eat at home, you also need to have a plan for lunches you want to pack if you actually want them to be able to get packed!
Think ahead of time how many lunches you’ll be packing that week, what you’ll be packing, and what groceries you need to purchase. I recommend keeping it as simple as possible.
Don’t feel pressured by Pinterest pictures to think you need to come up with fancy new meal ideas every single day. Really, you don’t. Trust me on this.
Instead, rotate a few different sandwich options and side options throughout the week. It really won’t hurt anyone to eat the same thing a few times each week!
Write this list of lunch ideas down, write down the ingredients you need to buy, and then you can use this plan over and over again. I recommend typing it up and laminating it or keeping it in an app on your phone so that you never have do the planning work again.
If the thought of making the same thing over and over and over again just won’t work for you or your family, try a 4-week or 6-week rotating lunch menu. This is more work to plan and follow through with, but once you’ve made the plan and created a grocery list based upon the plan, again, your planning work is done.
Need some motivation to put forth the effort to plan and make lunches? How about considering how much money you’ll save by doing so.
Over the past 12 and a half years of our marriage, I’ve packed countless lunches, not only for when Jesse was in law school and then working outside the home, but also for myself and/or the kids when we are out and about for the day or on a field trip.
One time a few years ago, I sat down and did the math. And it astounded me!
I figured out that most of the lunches I’ve packed cost anywhere between $0.75 to $1.50 each (remember, that’s mostly because I’ve shop the sales, used coupons, and stocked up on items when they are at their lowest prices!). A lunch at a fast food restaurant is likely going to cost at least $4-$5 at a minimum.
Based upon these calculations, it is very safe to say that packing a lunch has saved us at least $3 each and every time. Over the course of the year, that could add up to as much as $750 saved — just for packing a lunch for one person!
And that could be a low figure. You see, if someone is eating out at nicer restaurants most days and spending $7-$12 per lunch, the savings would be significantly higher! In addition to the savings, there’s also the added benefit of homemade lunches also often being much more healthful for you as well–especially when compared with fast food meals.
2. Prep Ahead
Part of the drawback to packing a lunch is the part where you have to pack it. If only lunches just magically packed themselves, eh?
One of the best ways to make things simpler is to prep things in bulk. When you get back from the grocery store, wash and chop all the carrots and celery and store them in a little water in an airtight container in the fridge. Slice the cheese. Cut up the melon. Wash off the berries. Hard boil the eggs. Bake the chicken.
Have everything as ready to stick into a lunchbox as you possibly can. This will make packing a lunch a breeze and will give you little excuse not to actually make it happen.
I’ve also found that doing sack lunch prep the night before makes it so much easier. For some reason, I’m much more motivated and creative at nighttime than I am most mornings. Take a few minutes after dinner to figure out what you’ll be packing the next morning and even get as much as possible ready. You’ll never regret this in the morning!
A few of our favorite Make Ahead Lunch Ideas:
- Hard-Boiled Eggs
- Sliced Cheese & Crackers
- Homemade Soup — especially great for the colder months!
- Homemade Instant Oatmeal Packets (these are great if you have access to a microwave at work
3. Use Your Freezer
One thing that helped me in packing lunches was to divvy up serving-size portions of muffins and cookies in baggies and stick them in the freezer. Then, when I’m packing lunches, I can just pull a few of these baggies out to add to the lunch and round things out.
Baggies of muffins and cookies are also great to have on hand for when we’ll be out and about running errands. Being prepared with our own food means we divert the urge to make a quick stop through the drive thru!
A few of our favorite Freezer-Friendly Lunch Ideas:
- Freezer-Friendly Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches
- Freezer-Friendly Banana Bread
- Easy Morning Glory Muffins
- Homemade Energy Bites
- Brown Bag Burritos
- Homemade Pizza Pockets
- Southwest Roll-ups
- Best Ever Chocolate Oatmeal Bars
Looking for more make-ahead sack lunch ideas? Check out my Lunchbox Freezer Cooking series. And speaking of prepping ahead of time, you might also want to check out my post on 8 Make Ahead Breakfast Ideas.
Try the MightyFix Service for Just $5 For the First Month!
This post is brought to you by MightyFix — a monthly subscription service dedicated to help you start living a healthier life one step at a time, one month at a time. When you sign up for MightyFix, you’ll pay $10 each month and you’ll receive one full-sized product in the mail each month worth at least $10 and designed to make it easier to live more mindfully and make healthy choices. Plus, you can also add anything else from their site to your order and get it shipped for free.
If you’re interested in trying out the MightyFix service, fill out the form above with your email address and you’ll get a code via email to get $5 off your first month + one reusable Lunchkin sandwich bag and one reusable Lunchkin snack bag added to your first month for free! Read more about the MightFix service here.
Note: MightyNest sent us some products to try out. Here are the products featured in the pictures in this post: Blue Lunchbox, Green Ice Pack, Neon Green Container, Divided Container, Black Lunchbots Rounds, Silver Insulated Bottle, and Green Din-din Spoon and Fork Set.
Who wants to win a $250 Shopping Spree to Cents of Style? I’m giving away one $250 Shopping Spree EVERY DAY for the next 5 days!
Just fill out the form below to enter to win*:
And then come back tomorrow to enter to win again!
Yesterday’s winner was: Monika (Monikatodorovic86@) — you should have received an email with your code.
*Note: By filling out the form, you are agreeing to be added to the Cents of Style email list to be notified of sales they run. However, you are more than welcome to unsubscribe from their list at any time if you are not interested.
I am SO excited to be bringing you another Dressing Your Truth Giveaway! The last Dressing Your Truth giveaway was one of the most popular and most-talked-about giveaways I’ve ever done.
In fact, since then, I’ve had reader after reader come to me and thank me for recommending this course and tell me how much it’s transformed their life and how they think about what they wear.
For those of you who missed my first review, here it is:
I first heard about the Dressing Your Truth® Course from a reader who highly recommended it to me and suggested that I look into it.
At first, I didn’t really think it was something for me. After all, I’m the girl with the minimalist wardrobe. The girl who only wore a few colors. The girl who would happily wear the same thing over and over and over again.
But as more and more people recommended it, I decided to just at least take a peek at it. I was intrigued enough that when the folks at Dressing Your Truth asked if I’d write a review of their program, I told them I’d consider it.
However, I said I would only write a review on two conditions: 1) That I loved the program and found it to be very helpful and 2) if they’d do a giveaway for my readers.
In all honesty, I didn’t think I’d like the program. I thought I’d probably watch one or two of the lessons and decide it just wasn’t worth my time or your time. So I doubted I’ll actually end up even writing a review or running a giveaway.
Boy, was I ever wrong!
I actually ended up finding the entire course utterly fascinating! And many, many of you who have been with me in person over the past few months have not only heard me passionately sharing about it, you’ve also probably noticed that I’m gradually shifting over to wearing much more bold and bright colors.
Why? Because going through the course helped me to really solidify what type of person I am and what colors and styles really mesh with my inner personality and bents. It’s been amazing to me to realize that when I dress in accordance to the type of personality I have, I feel much more confident and energetic.
What is the Dressing Your Truth Course?
In the Dressing Your Truth course you’ll discover which of the 4 Types of beauty you express, plus learn the tools for how to express your true beauty through your clothes, accessories, makeup and hair.
This 3-hour course teaches you about the 5 elements of style—color, fabrication, texture, design lines, and pattern—and how to determine what type of person you are and how you should dress for that type. It shares in-depth suggestions for not only clothes, but also accessories, makeup, and hair.
By helping you learn exactly what looks best on you, the Dressing Your Truth course not only transforms your outward appearance to match your inner true personality, but it also saves you a lot of time and effort because you’ll be able to streamline your wardrobe down to those styles and colors and patterns that look best on you and fit your personality type.
Caveat: Some of the parts of the course are a little “out there” and borderline weird. But overall, I found the course to be very interesting and engaging, very thought-provoking, and very eye-opening to me. In fact, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to approach clothes and how I dress in the same way again as a result of going through this course.
It’s been close to 10 months since I’ve gone through the course. Since then, I’ve slowly weeded out the items from my wardrobe that aren’t my type. I’ve found that knowing exactly what works for me makes getting dressed and shopping for clothes so much easier. I can almost instantly spot what will and won’t work, I have much more confidence about putting outfits together, and more and more, people are asking ME for input and ideas on their clothes and outfits!!
Let me tell you, that completely surprises me each and every time it happens. But I’m always more than happy to share what I’ve learned! If I can help someone else have the same experience I’ve had in discovering what styles and colors best suit their personality, I’m all about that!
Since I last ran a giveaway, the course has been updated to include new information, more transformations and a member’s area called DYT Life that helps you apply the information beyond your outer appearance.
Want to Go Through the Dressing Your Truth Course for FREE?
One reader will win both the Dressing Your Truth online course and a $200 shopping spree to spend in the Dressing Your Truth online store! This life-changing course also includes hours of personal style training, DYT Club Membership, outfit guides, monthly online events, and much more. The Dressing Your Truth online store features customized apparel, jewelry, accessories and makeup—all handpicked for each of the 4 Types of beauty.
To enter, click on the graphic below and type in your name and email address. One winner will be chosen and posted next week. This giveaway ends Thursday, July 30, at 11:59 pm, CST.