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April 26, 2017

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When I am successful at it, it's in warmer weather with lots of fresh things cut up ahead of time. I do better with a snacky lunch than a meal lunch. I like microwaveable leftovers in the winter. The key to them is to pack up lunch portions the night before to make them grab and go. Same goes for other things I want to take in. Packaged pieces of cheese are a mainstay. There is more out there now besides string cheese. In the summer I use leftover grilled chicken on a salad. I own thermosese, but I have never once heated soup or anything else for one in the morning. Sandwiches bore me so I don't make myself take them. I never do salad 2 days in a row to avoid a rut. I'm not a fan of cold pizza, but it's my daughter's favorite lunch.it hells me to pack more often rather than say I will go in a strict daily packing plan.

If I have to pack a lunch, I bring bread + cheese + apple.

I never get tired of it if the bread is good and the cheese is good.

Snack lunch was my favorite when I was working not-from-my-home. Crudites/pickled veggies, cheese, nuts, crackers/bread, fruit. Some chocolate if I felt indulgent. I would throw it together the night before, after dishes were done and put it in the fridge with a note of anything else I needed to remember to do in the morning. I found I usually didn't have to worry about refrigeration. (But I'm lax like that.) If you get a compartment box you can eat parts of it throughout the day or sit down at lunch and feel like you're having a feast.

I love salad. I have a container that has spaces for things, a salad dressing container, and lettuce goes in the bottom. I tend to bring almonds or chopped up cheese. sometimes chicken. or hard boiled eggs. I don't like my salad to get soggy so having parts separate is something I like. I also love snack lunches. sometimes tuna salad or chicken salad with nice crackers.

My most successful lunch packing times are when I scheduled into my weekly plan an extra meal that was immediately packed into lunch-sized portions.

Pasta dishes are good for this; thai noodle things, pasta bakes, whatever. For emergencies I also will make rice and mix it with black beans (probably canned, but if I was planning this I'd use my crock pot) and some extras (spoonful of salsa, onions, spice).

Leftovers, ideally packed into the lunch container when cleaning up from supper. When I was a kid, I usually preferred leftovers to sandwiches, so using leftovers is my default and I offer sandwiches when we don't happen to have leftovers. If there's not a microwave available (when I'm packing lunch for my kindergartener, for example), I'll pack the lunch in the thermos the night before, then dump it into a bowl to heat up in the morning before returning it to the thermos to be packed in the lunchbox. Right now, my kindergartener's lunchbox often consists of either leftovers, bread and cheese, or a peanut butter sandwich; a fruit or two; and at least one vegetable. Variations of which make a good lunch for an adult. :)

I went through a phase of salad with cottage cheese, chopped up meat (left over from a previous meal), or tuna fish in it. Another phase was plain yogurt with lots of fruit (and often chocolate chips) in it. Apples and carrots dipped in peanut butter are good, too (yes, even for an adult :) ).

But, really, I'm most successful at packing lunch when I either pack it the night before or, at the very least, know exactly what I'll be packing so that I don't have to think about it in the morning.

We cook an entree on the weekend and put it in lunch sized containers. I also take protein snacks such as cheese, nuts and hummus/carrots and have them at work. I bring a big bag of food in on Monday so I don't have to think about it.

Nearly every weekend I try to make a simple soup, like butternut squash (I use frozen squash) or tomato (canned diced tomatoes). I love my immersion blender. Or just a vegetable soup with whatever I have - this week I added sliced chicken sausage and black beans. I buy boxes of broth/stock every week so I have it on-hand. Finished soup goes right from the stove to pre-portioned containers for the week. Sometimes I grab rice crackers/cheese or guac to go with it. It's been really easy for me and I like it better than salads or sandwiches.

I'm most successful when I can grab one or more leftover containers from the fridge. I do use the microwave at work (I don't microwave things at home, though we do have one), because the heating and thermos-ing always seems like one more thing.

We buy fruit in bulk from Sam's or Costco and parcel it out. I do sandwiches in the summer but in teh winter I like something warm. Sometimes I'll dump something into the crockpot, like a bunch of chicken breasts with some sort of sauce, and then have that all week. Lately I've been buying Special K flatbread sandwiches and they are yummy. A yogurt and a canned drink round it out. We typically pack lunches right after dinner. Mornings are a no-go for doing stuff like that.

I've gone through phases when I have the energy on Sundays to make a bunch of lunches for myself for the week. My favourites are salads in a jar, and snack lunches. Otherwise I never have time to do it in the mornings or on weekday evenings. The other thing I've done is have a grocery delivery service bring lunch and snack type foods directly to my office on Mondays.

I like to eat something nice and warm for lunch, and it works best if I prep something on the weekend and divvy it up in containers for the week. Often it's a Weight Watchers or Cooking Light thing; sometimes it's something I wouldn't make us all for dinner -- my husband can't eat dairy, for instance -- but enjoy myself. I'm a sucker for a good soup, or a one-dish baked something. I ate a frittata this week: they reheat nicely. (That also works for breakfast, if I make one other thing for lunches, then I can switch things around, so I'm not doing the EXACT same thing all week.)

I also try to make sure I have apples, cheese sticks, and yogurt to throw in the lunch bag with whatever I've prepped.

If I haven't prepped on the weekend, this gets a lot harder. So I have a couple of frozen things on hand in a pinch. Easter week was great for that, even though I had no time to prep food: a couple of colleagues and I were all about Variations on the Easter Egg at lunch!

The weekend prep is really really key, for me. The morning has to really be grab, toss, and go.

I'm boring. I make a wrap of Black Forest ham (nitrate-free), provolone or muenster, spinach, and apple slivers (not mealy).

I dislike variety because it involves thinking - which I often find overwhelming for things like lunch...and pants.

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