My Duh Moment (or Meal Planning Lunches)

As I was getting things together for the day this morning, I had quite the lightning bolt moment. Actually, it was probably more of a whack to the head, because it was something I should have realized long ago.

I have been a meal planner for as long as I have been a grocery shopper. It was just something that seemed to come naturally to me. (You can read about my process here.) But I have always been a dinner meal planner. I figured as long as we had breakfast and lunch foods in the house I could just wing it on those each day.

Winging it actually works well for breakfast at our house. I am a pretty boring breakfast eater and almost always have some kind of English muffin/bagel/toast, fruit, and a cup of coffee. Sometimes I’ll throw in a yogurt if I’m really hungry. And my kids are a little grumpy in the mornings (I have no idea who they get that from!) so it helps to let them pick what they want for breakfast. I definitely get more buy-in on eating it that way. And they are pretty boring breakfast eaters, as well, so they rotate among the same four or five things with fruit and yogurt.

Winging it for lunch, however, was not working at our house. Well, winging it for lunch was not working for me at our house. The Coach is a fabulous help and makes the kids’ lunches every morning before leaving for work. Since I do the drop-offs at school and daycare, he volunteered to do the lunch and backpack prep before he leaves. And I make sure to have a variety of easily pack-able items on hand and the kids always end up with great lunches.

I, on the other hand, stand in the kitchen looking in the refrigerator and cupboards and hemming and hawing about what to take for lunch each day. This is a huge time waster in my morning and has been frustrating me to no end. Part of the problem is I am tired and grumpy in the morning and have trouble getting focused. So, like a lightning bolt this morning, I realized I should plan my lunches for the week and, thus, eliminate the frustrating decision making in the morning each day.

The more I thought about this, the more I wondered why I had been such an idiot for so long! It would be so simple, while I am meal planning dinners and making my grocery list, to jot down lunches for the week, too. Then I can plan when I will have leftovers to take and what to take on the other days. Anything that needs prep can even be done the night before for even less stress in the mornings.

So I now have a plan for the rest of this week, and am going to start meal planning my lunches when I plan our dinners. I’ll let you know how it goes!

Anyone else meal plan lunches? How does it work?

Comments

  1. I find that planning lunches works well for us. I pack Baby Eli’s breakfast and lunch for nursery school. If I don’t plan ahead, he ends up with too many grains or no veggies or all fruit….I’m not good at throwing in the lunch bag on the fly.

    Many times I will just plan the night before and pack it up for both of us. It genuinely can save a good 15 minutes in the morning, even though it doesn’t take 15 minutes at night to pack it up. There is something about a decision-making morning fog that drags the process out.

    • When my husband first took over packing the lunches for our boys he had me make a list so he wouldn’t end up with too much or not enough of something. But now he pretty much has it down – he knows how many fruits, grains, proteins, etc. to throw in there. Sometimes if I peek in the lunch box it is an odd mix, but I don’t care because I didn’t have to do it! :)
      So far, planning my lunch is helping a TON in the morning! A couple times in the last week or so I have even had time to sit down with my coffee and a book for a few minutes!

  2. I’ve always pakecd a lunch for Kristen :) I use one of those ice pack thingie’s? I don’t know what you’d call them, the ones that are a block of hard plastic and has a cute pic on the front? We have a Blue’s Clue’s one and a frog one! These are cute for a $1 :)

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