Today, I’m excited to share with you how to organize an easy lunch station at home. I’m teaming up with some of my favorite bloggers for our monthly Back to Basics series and this month we’re talking about all things organization and back to school. I can’t wait for you to see everyone’s ideas. They’re so fun!
I work from home a good portion of the week. Most days, it’s an absolute blessing so I’m not complaining one bit. I personally love having a flexible and constantly changing schedule but I totally get it’s not for everyone. The only drawback (if there is one) is that I started developing some pretty bad eating habits over time.
I found myself grazing on chips instead of making myself lunch or I would grab a piece of fruit instead of making a healthy breakfast because it was easier. We meal plan most of our dinners so we had that covered pretty well but there were times I found myself eating brownies and coffee most of the day. Crazy, right?
We did a detox in late May and you guys, oh my word, it was SO hard to get through. I called my mom constantly just to tell her I was hungry ha ha. I stuck with it though and at the end of the 10 days I was free from sugar, dairy and gluten and I felt great.
While I’m not as strict as I was during those 10 days, we definitely learned a lot about healthy eating habits and the importance of having healthy choices prepared in advance. So, with that in mind and coupled with the fact that school is starting back up, I thought I would share with you how we prep for a grab and go breakfast, simple snacks and healthy lunch choices. Here’s a peek at how to organize a lunch station at home…
I usually take one afternoon a week to meal prep and plan. Our trash pickup is on Thursday which means we clean out our refrigerator every Wednesday. That way, when we’re out grocery shopping on Thursday or Friday we have plenty of room to put food items away immediately. It’s such a time saver. Once the groceries are in place, I check our schedules to see how many meals I need to make.
Next, I start compiling all the necessary ingredients and gather containers. I usually start with breakfast items first. The mornings can be hectic so I’ll make overnight oats (oats + coconut or almond milk + berries + chia seeds + sprinkle of coconut flakes).
I’ll also make something similar with yogurt (yogurt + berries + chia seeds + sprinkle of coconut flakes). I also try to keep a container or baggie of granola on hand as well.
Then, I’ll start making smoothies. We almost always have some sort of smoothie every single day whether it’s for breakfast, snack or as part of lunch. I try to change it up each week but we have a few favorites…banana, almond butter, chia seeds, vanilla protein powder, almond milk
Frozen Triple berries with cherries, bananas, avocado, coconut milk,
Frozen triple berries with cherries, banana, spinach, kale, and almond milk (add a little honey if you want it to be sweet)
Mr. Green is Not Sweet is not usually a crowd favorite unless I mix a bit of pineapple or organic apple juice in with the kale, spinach, avocado, cucumber, celery and ginger. Sometimes, I’ll add a dash of turmeric in there too.
Once I’ve finished all the breakfast containers, they go directly in the baskets we use to keep our refrigerator organized. If you’re wondering if baskets will work for your family, I’ve answered a few of my commonly asked questions here. Don’t forget to label and date the contents! You’ll need to follow and practice proper food safety guidelines based on whatever ingredients you put in your smoothie.
Next, I start working on the snack bags & snack containers. These bags hold prepackaged veggies combinations that can be used with hummus or greek yogurt ranch dipping sauce, chips, cheese and grapes, strawberries, cherries, granola, etc.
After the snack bags are finished, I start creating things that can be used for lunches. We try our very best to either eat or recreate whatever we’ve had for dinner the night before into something else. So, say for example we’ve eaten black bean quesadillas for dinner on Monday night and we have black beans left over. We put the black beans in a salad, add some corn, peppers, avocado, salsa and maybe some shredded chicken, shrimp or quinoa. for Tuesday
Another option is to put the leftover beans into a breakfast burrito. It just depends on how much time we have. I made a chicken power salad, chef salad, pasta salad with shrimp and veggies in mason jars, as well as a turkey roll up which can be paired with other grab and go items from the snack basket.
We also use several other kinds of containers depending on what’s for lunch that day. We like this one because of all the cubbies but also because it’s collapsible which makes it easy to store.
It also holds a lot which is nice.
When we’re trying to pack multiple options into one easy container we use these lock & lock boxes. They make it easy to put wraps, veggies, fruit, granola and yogurt all together.
Consider storing all the items you need to make lunches (sandwich/snack baggies, lock & lock containers, mason jars, napkins, w naps, forks, etc ) together. We use two drawers close to the refrigerator to hold these items as well as the cabinet underneath to hold lunch bags and storage containers.
Keeping everything close to the refrigerator makes packing lunches, snacks or breakfast really convenient. It will also help to keep your refrigerator better organized too.
Likewise, having baskets designated for easy breakfast, snack and other lunch items will keep you organized in the pantry too.
It also helps to keep a compost bowl while you’re at the lunch prep station so counters are kept clutter free. Then when you’re finished prepping you can either compost or throw away.
Whether you’re trying to build healthier eating habits like we are or you’re trying to keep your morning and nightly routines drama free taking an afternoon to meal prep will help you become more organized in other parts of your life, you’ll save money and have extra time to do the things you really enjoy.
Make sure to check out the rest of the fabulous ladies in our Back to Basics series. You won’t be disappointed! I’ll see you guys back here tomorrow. Until next time, I’ll see you on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.