Category Archives: Healthy

Lunches made simple

I am NOT a morning person.  Which doesn’t really mesh well with the whole teacher gig.  So, I work really hard to make my mornings as easy as possible for myself.  If I wake up around 9, I can be showered and out the door by 9:45.  If I wake up at 5:30, I’m lucky to be out the door by 7.

So, about 3 years into teaching and waking up way before the crack of dawn, I decided I needed to stop attempting to throw a lunch together in the morning.  I started planning a bit in advance and now spend about 20-30 minutes on Sunday prepping lunches for the week, which literally makes it a “grab-and-go.”  Oh, and they are healthy AND delicious! Win!

All you need to get started are these Ziploc (or any brand) plastic containers (with 3 sections):

Click to find them on Amazon!

These are surprisingly durable and last a long time.  And they do not leak! (As long as you make sure to press the seal down tightly and they aren’t too old, sometimes they warp slightly after a while.)  I put them in my bag on their sides every day and have never had a problem!  I do hand wash them, so that probably helps.  We bought enough so we have one for each day of the week, that way we don’t have to make more lunches mid-week.

Ingredients:

  • Spinach
  • Broccoli, Cauliflower, Carrot mix (or whatever your veggies of preference are)
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Dressing
  • Lunch meat of choice
  • Fruit (we typically go with grapes or oranges, something that will last the week without browning or going bad).
  • Optional: hard boiled eggs

The key to simplicity is to buy the bag of pre-cut broccoli, cauliflower and carrots.  We used to chop stuff ourselves but when we found this bag at Sam’s Club for about $6, it was just as expensive and PRE-CUT! Whew.

We lay out our 10 lunch containers and start throwing stuff in!

We put the main salad in the large part – I put the lunch meat in the smaller section and then the fruit in the larger section.  My hubs does the opposite because he wants more protein.  We used to add hard-boiled eggs (with the shell on, peel them when you are ready to eat) but found we didn’t have time to eat them during our 20 minutes of *sometimes* uninterrupted lunch and we weren’t really that hungry after eating everything else.  We also used to use cherry tomatoes but they got super expensive so we decided to just load up on everything else.  But obviously, you can use any veggies here.

Finally, once they are all stuffed to the brim with food, we add a small fork.  These cheap-o forks are from Sam’s Club as well.  Yes, we bought 800 of them because they fit so nicely into our containers:

Slap the lids on them, and voila! Lunches are made for the week.  The hard part, is now finding room in the fridge.  We save one crisper drawer for some and then manage to squeeze the rest elsewhere.

So, in the morning, I grab my lunch, put dressing on, and go.  If you work somewhere with a fridge, keep dressing there and you can skip that step as well!

I cannot tell you how much this process has made my life easier! No more complaining about lunches in the morning! No more grabbing a granola bar or PB&J to hope it lasts me through the day. These are healthy, filling, and delicious!

The total cost to make 10 lunches is:

  • Spinach = $5
  • Veggie mix = $6
  • Lunch meat = $12
  • Fruit = $4-6
  • Total = $29 /2 people / 5 days a week = $2.90/lunch.  Throw dressing in there and make it an even $3.00. Worth it.
  • *We buy all of our produce at Sam’s Club. You may be able to find it cheaper (well, not buy as MUCH anyway) but it’s just easier for us.  Then we use the extra spinach and veggies as sides with our dinner during the week.

I dare you to try it for a week, you’ll be hooked.  And when you get tired of salad, there are a ton of other things you can try.  Sometimes we do stuffed pitas, chicken salad, or just regular sandwiches.

If you try it, let me know what you think! (And don’t be too jealous of my amazing green counters. )

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New Year’s Detox

Happy 2014!

Happy 2014!  Who doesn’t start off January 1st saying they are going to do all of these wonderful things – eat healthier! – exercise more! – be a better wife/friend/sister… whatever.

Personally, I think New Year’s Resolutions are crap.  I’ve never done them and honestly – with being a teacher – find it easier to start “End of the school year” resolutions because I am significantly less stressed in June than in January.

Well, back in October I read about Dr. Oz’s 3 day cleanse and thought I wanted to try it. Not so much because I wanted to lose weight (although that would be a perk!) but I feel totally addicted to sugar.   Especially around the holidays, I have been eating so many sugary products that I just crave it constantly.  The only problem is it is 3 days and because they revolve around having 4 smoothies a day, I can’t exactly do that at school.  So, I kept waiting for a 3 day weekend – Thanksgiving wouldn’t cut it, so I decided after Christmas would be a good time to do it.  I just put it off until January 2nd.

Because my husband keeps complaining he needs to lose weight I convinced him this is a great way to kick start.  I went to the store and bought all of the ingredients – total of $90.00.  Which means it is about $15/day per person.  I did take some shortcuts (which I will describe) but overall stuck to the list.  Dr. Oz makes it pretty idiot proof because he makes a great checklist:

Dr Oz’s 3 Day Detox Cleanse

So, I am half way through day one.  The breakfast shake was amazing.  I usually drink a fruit smoothie for breakfast so it wasn’t much of a change from my normal.  The changes I made were:

  1.  Sub Blueberries for Raspberries: I bought a large 6 lb bag of frozen blueberries at Sam’s Club because the fresh ones weren’t looking so great, being January and all.
  2. I am going to cut way back on the Stevia – I used the 1 tsp  in the breakfast detox tea but could probably get away with using none.
  3. Sub Limes for Lemons: At Sam’s it was $6 for a bag of lemons and $3 for a bag of limes.  So, being cheap, I just bought a big bag of Limes, I didn’t need both, and am subbing lime for anywhere that it says “lemon” in the ingredients. Had I done my shopping at a normal grocery store, buying both wouldn’t be an issue.

After the breakfast shake, I got hungry about 3 hours later.  The lunch shake reminds me of gazpacho without tomatoes.  It is pretty much like a salad smoothie, but it isn’t horrible.   Definitely less exciting than the breakfast smoothie!  I stuck to the recipe but instead of plain pineapple I used another frozen blend of Blueberries, Strawberries and Pineapple.  The nice part about frozen fruits is it makes the smoothie colder – since you aren’t adding any ice.  Plus its easier to prep – and I’m all about easy and quick! Here is a picture of the Lunch smoothie – I forgot to take a picture of the breakfast one – I will do that tomorrow!

Lunch smoothie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, that’s where I stand right now!   I am pretty sure I can handle this for 3 days, but I’ll keep you posted… 🙂