packing a lunch.

My blogging hiatus is finally over!
I blame my Spring semester (Biology and Chemistry) and being all-around busier than normal the past few months.

Even though my semester is over and I am in full SUMMER BREAK mode, I thought I’d share my food prep for my long days on campus. On Monday’s and Wednesday’s I would arrive at 7:45am and wouldnt leave campus until around 4pm. Considering I dont eat from the school cafeteria (unhealthy! eww!) I would prep a full days worth of food to keep me from getting hangry (hungry+angry) while I was on campus and then while I fought traffic on the way home at the end of the long day.

My breakfast was usually one of 2 things:
1. An Arbonne protein shake, or
2. a jar of refrigerator oatmeal

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My lunch was usually a Chickpea-of-the-Sea sandwich or some quinoa with tomatoes & avocado topped with Bragg’s Healthy Vinaigrette; a bag of Smart Puffs, some freeze-dried fruit, and a small bar of organic chocolate.

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I would also pack snacks for throughout the day. Things like: a banana, a Kind bar, organic baby carrots, and ginger chews.

IMG_2866Its a common misconception that packing your own lunch is hard and time consuming. Yes, it IS time consuming… but after a time or two of doing it you learn the tricks and you learn what works best for you.

For example, for my lunch I have learned:
1. That I need a good sized, insulated lunch box. My favorite one is this one from the Neiman Marcus + Target collection (also available here).  Aaron’s mom gave it to me for Christmas last year and I absolutely love it. Its a great size and the insulation works very well to keep things chilled until you need them. I also really like this one from reuseit.com (its great if you have smoothies or bottles of kombucha that need to stand upright).

2. That I need a variety of small glass jars and containers. I love using mason jars (both the tiny ones and the pint sized ones), but I also keep a few of these and these on hand; they are great for keeping oils/dressings from leaking all over your lunch bag.

3. Reusable napkins (these are my absolute favorite) & silverware (I use a set like this or these) are a must.

4. Reusable & nontoxic ice packs are essential.

5. It also helps to buy lunch items in bulk. For instance, at my local Whole Foods I can buy a 6pk bag of the Smart Puffs and a 6pk bag of the freeze-dried apples. I also purchase a whole box of Kind bars at a time. Having items on hand makes prepping my lunch even easier. If you dont have a Whole Foods nearby, Amazon.com is another great resource for purchasing things in bulk.

6. and last but not least: prep your lunch (or at least the majority of it) the night before. Have the containers stacked up on the top shelf of the refrigerator waiting for you and have your lunch bag with napkin and cutlery sitting on the counter or dining room table just waiting for the chilled items & ice packs to be put in it the next morning. If you prep ahead of time, the morning of will be a breeze. And trust me, you will thank yourself for the extra effort when you’re eating a yummy homemade lunch while your coworkers or classmates are eating nasty & chemical ridden food from the cafeteria or a nearby fast-food place.

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