Don’t you just hate it when a well meaning friend comes up to you and says “Oh. I plan out my lunches the week before. I prep EVERYTHING on Sundays, including dinners, and breakfast. I put it all in clear containers that fit perfectly into my refrigerator, and I have nothing to do but eat it during the week. You know darling, I’m much too busy to be dealing with that during the work week.”
And then I’m like. . .
But what I really want to say is, “Ooooooohhhh, such a smarty pants! Don’t you think the rest of us think of doing that!!!???? But why don’t we do it????? Because it’s freaking impossible, thats why! Maybe I want something yummy to eat, and if I make it on my lazy Sunday afternoon . . .A) there goes my lazy afternoon, and B.) What in the world is that going to taste like on Friday. . .SIX DAYS LATER???? Fresh and amazing? More like Gross and Guns Blazing. Bluck. And also, yes! My containers don’t fit perfectly into my fridge. And I don’t have matching tops! And some are round and some are square! Sorry! We can’t all be perfect!!!”
Yup. That’s what I want to say.
But I don’t.
I just purse my lips, give a nod, and say “Wow. What a great idea. I should do that.”
Knowing damn well, there ain’t no way in he**.
But. . .I’ll tell you what I do. . .DO!
How I organize my week’s lunches!
On Friday or Saturday, during leisure time (i.e. car rider line, on the couch watching TV), I come up with lunch ideas for the next week. It’s an excuse to watch YouTube videos and scour Instagram/Pinterest, all for the love of family, wink, wink.
On Sunday, I order groceries (through a delivery service), but ONLY for LUNCHES.
- 1.) It’s a Pandemic, so it’s helpful on that note. It prevents me from running into the store more than I need to.
- 2.) Grocery shopping can be tiring, so I’m saving my energy and putting it into places that I enjoy more.
- 3.) It’s a major help for the shopper to bring my groceries to me, and all I have to do is put them away, saves me time! All that going back and forth from the car and loading groceries takes up A LOT OF TIME.
Making a Special Grocery Run for ONLY Lunches helps me. . .
- FOCUS on THE LUNCH-MAKING task . If I’m also purchasing for dinner and breakfasts during this time, I will quickly get overwhelmed and no longer enjoy the process of lunch prep. Also, I make multiple smaller visits to the grocery during the week, so I can grab those things then!
I break down my weekly meals into 5 basic Categories (trying to choose a different one for each day of the week) . . .
- Big Salad
- Rice Dish
- Sandwich Meal
- Protein Box/Little Bites Meal (think crackers & cheese)
- Pasta or sometimes. . .
FINALLY, I decide which meal will be served on which day. Thinking about the week ahead . . .will the weather be cold or hot? Will the kids have sports or after school activities? On the days that I know they won’t come home until late, I make sure the lunch is hearty. Also, I might not send a sandwich for lunch, if I know they have a late night basketball game, and I’ll be sending a sandwich for them to eat as an after school snack/dinner.
I try not to see making lunches as a chore. I want to infuse a love of food and nutrition into my kids and their meals. For me, the experience should be mindful and not rushed. If it should become a burden, I take a step back and simplify. Eating and good nutrition should work seamlessly in our lives. That’s my goal. . .I haven’t gotten there, but I’m on my way.
Want to see my morning hustle, while I make this beautiful Roasted Chickpea Caesar Salad? View my YouTube Video here, or keep scrolling for all the recipe details!
Double “CHICK” Caesar Salad with Roasted Chickpeas and Chicken
Traditionally, a Caesar Salad is made with Romaine Lettuce. Today, I’m making mine with a mix of Iceberg and Spinach because I always have those two lying around the house. Iceberg stays wonderfully crisp and fresh in the fridge all week long, and spinach with it’s vibrant green color is a powerhouse in nutrition.
Ingredients: (listed per individual salad)
- Lettuce (Iceberg/Spinach mix)
- 1/2 cup Canned Chickpeas/Garbanzo Beans
- Olive Oil
- Garlic Powder
- Onion Powder
- 2 heaping TB Parmesan or Italian Blend Cheese
- 1/2 Avocado Sliced
- 1/2 cup of pre-cooked grilled Chicken or “Chickenless” vegan nuggets, cut into bite size pieces
- Amazon Brand – Happy Belly Creamy Caesar Dressing, 16 Fl Oz“>Creamy Caesar Salad Dressing
1. Preheat oven to 425.
2. Drain and rinse chickpeas. Place them in a kitchen towel to dry off. Removing the majority of the moisture will ensure that they get nice and crispy when they are roasted. Onto a baking sheet, lined with parchment or a Silpat, pour your beans on top.
3. Drizzle with olive oil, and give a gentle dusting of garlic powder, onion powder, and salt. Spread out evenly onto baking sheet and place in oven for 25 minutes.
4. While your chickpeas are cooking, microwave frozen pre-cooked chicken according to package directions. Set aside.
5. Once the meat has cooled enough to handle, into a large personal sized salad bowl add Lettuce mix. Top with, parmesan, avocado, chicken, and a generous portion of roasted chickpeas/garbanzo beans!