Life in hospitals and surgery centers is chaotic at best. You run from the moment you walk in the door until the moment you walk back out. Sometimes, you get to stop for lunch. And if you didn’t pack a lunch, that means you’re hitting the vending machines or cafeteria. Both options are hard on your waistline and your wallet.
Many people take those less healthy options because they don’t think they have the time to pack a good, healthy lunch. But, with a little planning, you’ll be well on your way to a slimmer waistline and a fatter wallet!
Planning ahead is the most important aspect of packing lunches. Keep the pantry stocked with healthy lunch options at all times. And keep your lunch supplies in mind when making your shopping list.
If you want to take the planning a step further, make a lunch plan for the week. That takes the guess work out of the whole process. Not planning ahead will leave you susceptible to the temptation of just grabbing fast food instead.
When you’re in a rush to get off to work, it’s not the time to be thinking about and packing a lunch. Pack the night before and save yourself the hassle and opportunity to forget in the morning.
When you get home of an evening, make the next day’s lunch part of your evening routine. When you get home from work, clean out your lunch bag and containers and leave them setting out on the counter to be filled after dinner. Out of sight, out of mind is your worst enemy.
You should make an investment in good, useful containers. Containers with dividers will be your best friend! Keeping foods separated will help your lunch not turn to a big blob by the time you’re ready to eat it. You’ll also need a supply of good quality ice packs.
The Internet is full of tips on keeping your lunches from becoming soggy messes. For example, to keep peanut butter and jelly sandwiches from getting soggy, put peanut butter on both pieces of bread and keep the jelly in the middle. Do some Googling and see what helpful tips you can find.
Plan for leftovers
Leftovers make a great, easy lunch the next day, if you have them that is. So make sure you will have leftovers. When you’re cooking dinner, cook an extra chicken breast or pork chop for your lunch. Set it aside before dinner to ensure it’s not eaten.
If you’re having casserole, freeze a small portion for an easy, grab-and-go lunch later in the week.
Put your plans on ice
Not only can adding frozen items to your lunch help the ice pack keep everything chilled, but there is no shortage of tasty options that come from the freezer! For example, make a smoothie the night before and throw it in the freezer. By the time your lunch break rolls around, it should be melted to the perfect smoothie consistency and be a nice, healthy addition to your lunch.
Here’s another area where you can look to the Internet for more tips. Here’s one: Throw your bread into the freezer the night before. It’ll help keep your lunch meat cold until lunch time.
Plan to forget
In the morning, when everything is rushed, you’ll have a lot on your mind. Having just eaten breakfast, lunch will probably not be one of them. So, plan to forget. Leave yourself reminders to grab your already-packed lunch out of the fridge. Put a Post-It note on the door, leave your keys by the fridge, whatever it takes.
If your lunch is packed in the fridge minus the smoothie in the freezer, put a note on the bag to remind you to grab the smoothie, too.
A final word
Plan, plan, plan. Planning is the only way you’re going to have success with making a habit of brown-bagging it. It may seem overwhelming at first, but you’ll get the hang of it and wonder why you ever ate at the cafeteria.
Thanks for reading,