LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Beat the lunch-prep crunch and save money too!
Whether you are packing lunch for yourself or the whole household, these streamlining strategies from Weight Watchers will get you out of the kitchen faster and save money as well.
When you are pressed for time, making a bagged lunch to bring to work or school is often the first thing that falls off the radar. Sure, you could send the kids off with a few dollars for the cafeteria, or pick up soup at the local deli during your lunch break. However, a home-packed lunch is almost always more nutritious, tasty (it is customized for you, by you), and cheaper than anything you would purchase. Try one or more of these time-saving and money saving ideas:
1. Prep like a professional. After a long day, the last thing you want to do is get back in the kitchen and prepare tomorrow's lunch. But the more you get ready for the day - or week - ahead, the less hectic your mornings will be. Wash, cut, and create zipper baggies full of fruit, veggies, or other snacks. Shake it up and try different veggies and fruits to keep it interesting.
2. Multitask during mealtime. Try packing lunches while you are making dinner - use the downtime while the water is boiling or the chicken is under the broiler. That way even though you are making two meals, you only have one clean-up. Or take it further and make a little extra dinner, and then pack leftovers into lunch containers.
3. Take every shortcut. The more shortcuts you can find, the quicker it will be done. Line up lunch boxes and pack them assembly-line style. Use cooking scissors to cut up fruits or vegetables instead of a knife and cutting board so there is less to clean up. Fill a reusable water bottle mostly with ice - it will help keep lunch cold, and eliminates the need to add an ice pack.
4. Put the kids to work. Keep two bins - one in your fridge and the other in you pantry - stocked with items for lunch. That way, it is easy for the kids to quickly assemble their own lunches - and less likely they will trade their food away. Let the kids pick what they want from the box and make their own lunches. If they do it while you are making dinner you can supervise and have company!
Lets take a look at some easy recipes that anyone will love:
Stoplight Pita Sandwiches: Serves: 3 Prep:10 minutes Kids love miniatures and this spread makes a delicious sandwich packed with protein and veggies.
1 cup farmer cheese
½ red bell pepper, diced
½ yellow bell pepper, diced
¼ cup shredded, reduced fat cheddar cheese
2 scallions, trimmed and diced
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
3 mini whole wheat pita breads, halved
Stir the farmer cheese, bell peppers, cheddar, scallions, and black pepper together in a medium bowl. Divide the mixture among the pita halves.
Per serving (2 pita halves) : 251 cal.
Turkey and Cheddar Wrap
PointsPlus Value 7
Prep time: 10 min Cook time: 0 min Serves: 2
1 1/2 Tsp reduced-calorie mayonnaise
2 tsp mustard, coarse-grain
2 medium whole wheat tortilla(s), warmed according to package directions
4 oz cooked turkey breast with skin, chopped
1/4 tsp table salt
1/8 tsp black pepper, freshly ground (or to taste)
1/2 cup(s) fresh tomato(es), diced
2 Tbsp uncooked red onion(s), diced
1 cup(s) fresh lettuce
3 Tbsp low-fat shredded Cheddar cheese, sharp-variety
In a small cup, combine mayonnaise and mustard. Lay tortillas on a cutting board; spread with mustard mixture. Top tortillas with turkey, placing it about 1-inch from edges; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top turkey with tomatoes, onion, lettuce and cheese. Tuck in sides of tortilla and then roll it up tightly; cut in half on a diagonal. Yields 2 halves per serving
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