Easy Work Week Lunches
Honestly, I really enjoy packing lunch! Perhaps that is obvious by the name of this blog? The thought of spending a whole hour going some place to get and eat lunch seems like such a waste to me. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy going out with my colleagues for a social lunch but just not every day. I just don’t want to designate a whole hour to this for so many reasons:
- Obviously it costs money to eat out!
- It is harder to make a healthy choice when faced with that big menu.
- I could be doing an errand – time is so valuable to a busy parent!
- I could be sneaking in a walk or jog – again time is valuable to a busy parent!
- Do you know how hard it is to get alone time when you have children? I think you do! Lunch time is a prime opportunity for a mental break!
Have I convinced you yet? Maybe you need that social aspect? Well you can always pull up a spot in the company cafeteria with your lunch. Perhaps convince your coworkers to bring lunch and join you at a picnic table outside? Maybe you like the variety of choices you have when you go out? You just need some lunch ideas! I can help with that! This post features enough easy lunch ideas to get you through a whole work week!
One (pictured at top of post): Pita Pizza
I had a bunch of whole wheat pita pockets hanging around so I got creative and made my own pita pizza. This was super simple! I actually sliced the whole pita round like a pizza first. I then sprayed a cookie sheet with cooking spray and slid my pita right onto the pan. I spread pizza sauce on the pita, topped with mozzarella and baked at 350 degrees for oh maybe 10 minutes (maybe less). When I pulled the “pizza” out I sprinkled on some black pepper and some fresh basil (from my garden). You could actually top the pita with whatever you wish! Perhaps pesto and tomatoes? Perhaps BBQ sauce and chicken? Actually this would be the start of a make your own pizza family meal night. I also added blueberries, Rainier cherries and a cup full of nuts for extra protein. The blue silicon cup adds a pop of color and helps me maintain the portion of nuts. The cup makes that compartment look more full.
Two (pictured above): Tuna Salad w/Pita Crisps
Since I had a number of pitas left I decided I would make pita crisps. I sliced the pita like a pizza and sprayed both sides with cooking spray. I slid the pita onto a cookie sheets and seasoned with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. I crisped in a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes or so (until I could “smell” the pitas crisping). I served with tuna salad on lettuce which also could have been served in half of a bell pepper (if I had any). I added strawberries, blackberries, celery and Plentil chips.
Three (pictured above): Nectarine Salad
I had the opportunity to visit a local farmer’s market so I was inspired to make a creative salad. I first layered some chopped green leaf lettuce in the bottom of my Easylunchboxes container. I really let the compartment judge the portion for me. I added blanched green beans, chopped heirloom cherry tomatoes, Perdue Chicken shortcuts and sliced grilled nectarine. The nectarine was grilled with the previous night’s dinner and the green beans were leftover from that meal as well. I added Late July Organics Dude Ranch Chips, sliced cheese and one strawberry filled with a chocolate fruit dip (Nutella and greek yogurt mix). I used a bit of lettuce to hold the strawberry in place but threw it in the salad when I ate so no waste! The filled strawberry may not be a good option if you cannot keep your lunchbox up straight or to keep it simple just add sliced strawberries no filling. Don’t forget a dressing! I served with a Rosemary Balsamic Vinaigrette (not pictured).
Four (pictured above): Breakfast Sandwich
This lunch was built on the brunch concept… breakfast combined with lunch. I lightly toasted a bagel while I microwaved an egg in a round bowl sprayed with cooking spray. I topped the cooked egg with a slice of cheese. I then spread my bagel with a bit of mayo, layered on lettuce, tomato, the cooked egg with cheese and a slice of turkey (but swap out for ham if you like). This sandwich is meant to be eaten cold but you could pop it in the microwave for a few seconds at lunch time if you like. Orange slices, strawberries and Late July Organics Dude Ranch Chips are served alongside.
Five (pictured above): Chicken Salad
Today was a clean up day! Time to use up some of what I have left. The blackberries and celery make another appearance here because I am almost out and want to finish them off. The oranges I have plenty of since I purchased a large bag. I still had Perdue Chicken Shortcuts leftover from the nectarine salad so I made chicken salad and threw it on a bagel. If I had pita pockets left I would have used that! I included just half of the bagel. The other half could go into another lunch for another day or for someone else if you pack for multiple people. To keep this lunch from feeling like a rehash I added tortilla chips and salsa in the mini dipper container. Sometimes just adding one new thing keeps the feeling of variety. I could also have thrown in strawberries.
Now I have a large family and therefore often have a good variety of food in the house. You could certainly scale back to a couple of fruits and veggies to cut costs. I do believe however that a variety of produce is good for you! All lunches shown in Easylunchboxes containers.
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