One of the questions I get asked all the time revolves around Mr. How Sweet and his lunches. I’ve mentioned countless times that I make his lunches ahead of time… and they must be composed of real food. In case you didn’t get the memo, for Mr. How Sweet a sandwich just does not suffice. He doesn’t consider a sandwich with an apple to be lunch. Well, unless of course it is a giant meatball sub or something of the sort.

Here’s the good news: Mr. How Sweet has never been one to go out to lunch during the workweek. Neither have I. We don’t blow money on workweek lunches or coffee shop trips or anything of the sort. We prefer to throw money away on shoes instead. Oh, and there is more good news: Mr. How Sweet eats super healthy. As in, sometimes I can make an entire batch of cookies and for the 3 days they sit in the jar, he won’t even be tempted to touch one.

(Though that is totally a lie – cookies never last 3 days in our house with me around.)

The bad news? Mr. How Sweet eats full on manly meals for lunch. Lots of meat, lots of starch, and some veggies. And that’s just one meal that he eats during the day. He tends to have about 5 other mini meals before even making it home. Don’t ask.

So it’s not really bad news, it just means that his lunches take a lot of prep work. And a lot of FOOD.

But more good news? The guy can eat the exact same thing over and over and over and over… and over again. Makes it easier on me.

In case you’re wondering, Mr. How Sweet doesn’t expect me to make his lunches. In fact, I wish he did expect it of me because it would probably get my rump off the couch sometimes. And I love being all domestic and pretending that I’m a 1950s housewife. Mr. How Sweet would probably love if I acted like a 1950s housewife, however I don’t clean the bathrooms and he could never pry me away from my XXXL sweatpants. But I still love taking care of him because it reminds me of my grandma taking care of my grandpa.

So back to the lunches. I’ve developed somewhat of a system after 2 years. I’ve found that making 3 lunches is the key. This allows some wiggle room in case he has a work meeting or something comes up over lunch. It also allows some room for variety – something Mr. How Sweet isn’t familiar with, but something that is necessary in my life.

The biggest secrets to packing his lunches? Ease.

If you saw our pantry, you would think we have stock in Uncle Ben’s 90 minute brown rice. No joke.

This is my game plan:

1. I choose a meat for his lunches. Sometimes I ask him, but he usually just responds with “chicken.” So now I just do what I want. Trust me, when you make a man a full meal for lunch, he doesn’t really complain. I usually choose leaner meats like chicken or ground turkey breast and cook them in bulk – such as throwing them all in the crock pot or baking them.

2. I choose a flavor. Many times it’s BBQ sauce, sometimes it’s buffalo wing, sometimes it’s ranch, sometimes it’s Mexican inspired – it just depends on the dish. For instance, I buy ground turkey for his lunches, brown it and mix it with red sauce. I don’t know what that flavor is, but I’m gonna go with Italian.

3. I choose a starch. More often than not this is brown rice, since it is his favorite. But we also rotate whole wheat pasta, roasted potatoes, sweet potato fries, quinoa, etc. Mr. How Sweet is not picky about what goes with what. For example – sometimes he eats ground turkey with tomato sauce and brown rice. Not my idea of deliciousness, but it floats his boat.

4. Throw in a veggie. Usually, this is of the frozen variety that can be made in minutes.

And then we pack up 3 containers, looking like this:

All that I see when I look at this? Boring. Total snoozefest. Please, for the love of all that is good, give me some FLAVOR. But it makes my guy happy.

Sometimes I make one-pot dishes for his lunches, which are by far the easiest. These consist of chili, healthified enchiladas, or a big pasta bake with chicken and vegetables. Mr. How Sweet deems those full meals.

For the remaining 2 meals of the week, he eats leftovers from dinner. This could be anything, and also includes a different choice of meat too – or at least meat that is prepared differently from what he is eating. It breaks up the monotonous lunches and makes me feel better on the inside.

The whole process of making 3 lunches for the week only takes about an hour or less, because the meals are exactly the same. I have tried to spice things up or make them more fancy, and this just leaves me with a whiney Mr. How Sweet.

Ha! And you guys thought I was high maintenance.

So tell me – what is your lunch game plan?

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57 Responses to “Making Mr. How Sweet’s Lunches.”

  1. #
    Eliana — November 8, 2010 @ 2:44 pm

    Awww – you’re such a good wife :)


  2. #
    Rachel @ The Avid Appetite — November 8, 2010 @ 2:52 pm

    My husband will actually pack my lunch a lot of the time! I never leave myself enough time in the morning and am usually busy making dinner at night, so premade lunch falls by the wayside. This week I made a big batch of tomato soup (yum yum yum!) so we will have that. Shaun is way less picky that I am and will happily eat turkey and cheese 5 days a week. For me? No thanks!


    • Jessica — November 8th, 2010 @ 2:55 pm

      I’m envious!


  3. #
    Monica — November 8, 2010 @ 2:55 pm

    We do our best to roll with leftovers. I usually make something big in the slow cooker on Sunday and that’ll get us through Monday and Tuesday. I have a “meat and potatoes” guy myself, so it’s fairly easy to make extra.

    I’m kinda lucky because Dear Fiance really isn’t picky. Plus he’s a seriously skinny dude, so he doesn’t eat all that much. :)


  4. #
    Paige @ Running Around Normal — November 8, 2010 @ 3:01 pm

    Are Mr. How Sweet and my husband related? Seriously, Shane would love it if I sent him to work with this. Instead, I make pbj’s…. heh


    • Jessica — November 8th, 2010 @ 3:06 pm

      If I made PB & J’s we would go broke because Mr. How Sweet would have to go out and get 3 more meals throughout the day.


  5. #
    Kristina @ spabettie — November 8, 2010 @ 3:02 pm

    once again, Mr How Sweet’s preferences remind me of how I ate in college, teaching a step & weights class and eating plain chicken + rice + broccoli.



  6. #
    MelissaNibbles — November 8, 2010 @ 3:03 pm

    I think it looks yummy. Then again, I’m a pretty boring gal.


  7. #
    Erika @ Food.Fitness.Fun — November 8, 2010 @ 3:04 pm

    This reminds me of the lunches my Mom packs for my dad. He loves his brown rice (We use the 90 second kind too!) and don’t even think of giving him tofu. He likes his meat! LOL What guy doesn’t?


  8. #
    Stephanie — November 8, 2010 @ 3:06 pm

    Great game plan for your guy, love how you pack him lunches and definitely do that for my man too! Makes me feel so domesticated haha. I try to make sure that I cook enough the night before to serve 4, that way we have dinner plus lunch leftovers. Most of the time this works out, but if not then I make do with any frozen leftovers we may have on hand. And in some cases, it means a trip to Whole Foods during lunch if not ;)


  9. #
    Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen) — November 8, 2010 @ 3:07 pm

    Since we work at home, we do whatever. Mostly leftovers or salads or both!


  10. #
    Christy Kelly — November 8, 2010 @ 3:08 pm

    I’m so glad you posted this. I do the same thing for my husband! He requires a meat, starch and veggie in his tupperware lunch. His biggest complaint is that what I’ve made is “too dry,” so I’m always trying to find ways of adding sauce without making it unhealthy. (For a while, my go-to was adding Velveeta to everything to make sure it wasn’t too dry. Three pounds later, he complained.)

    I’m a big supporter of canned veggies or canned beans. Also, the pasta and rice pouches from Lipton. I’m going to check out the Uncle Ben’s rices now… Your stock just went up! ;)


    • Jessica — November 8th, 2010 @ 3:18 pm

      Try throwing a bunch of chicken breasts in the crock pot with some stock or salsa, sauce, etc. They will be very moist! Or, I also sear the chicken breasts first then bake for about 30 minutes.


  11. #
    barefootgirl27 — November 8, 2010 @ 3:14 pm

    ahh.. the life of a 50’s housewife SOOO overrated….

    sweatpants however are the BOMB!

    My hubby’s meals are similar to yours. I usually make a double batch of dinner ( I eat a small portion with a big salad for me)

    But I INTEND to have leftovers~ because I not only have my husband, but my 17 yr old son who also eats leftovers the next day. Twice.

    I always have a protein..

    I rotate through rice, pasta & taters..

    I also use frozen veggies for their lunch ( I pack them the night before in the fridge, so there is no need to defrost the veggies) ( I also use store brand)

    and stuff it all into tupperware with each food in it’s proper corner. Voila! lunch!

    Like right now,, the ginormas batch of chicken & dumplings simmering on the stove… dinner tonight, lunch for them for 2 days.

    and I wonder why I struggle with my weight *gheeze*


  12. #
    Talia @ Texas Gunslinger — November 8, 2010 @ 3:16 pm

    I love how Mr. How Sweet Eats! It reminds me of how I eat, actually. I can eat the same thing over and over and over (competition or not) and never get sick of it..ever. I don’t really enjoy eating gourmet-type foods with special sauces, etc. and like simple meals. I guess that makes me a simpleton when it comes to main meals…

    Desserts, though, bring it on! Every single dessert you’ve posted makes my mouth water and I can definitely go for gourmet and fancy schmancy dessert ideas anyday:)


  13. #
    Chelsea — November 8, 2010 @ 3:22 pm

    I do the same thing for my boyfriend- but instead of work, it’s long days of class. He never makes himself one and then gets all whiny so I’d rather plan ahead and make sure he’s feeling good through out the day! I also enjoy taking care of him, like you. My lunches are usually sandwiches, though, he’s not as lucky as Mr. How Sweet. Not to mention, my boyfriend can’t heat his stuff up! Cute post :)


  14. #
    Chicago Cuisine Critique — November 8, 2010 @ 3:24 pm

    You are definitely a good wife, but based on his birthday post to seems he’s a good hubby. :)


  15. #
    janae — November 8, 2010 @ 3:32 pm

    I am the same way as Mr. Sweet. First, I prep all of my lunches on Sunday. I eat the same thing for lunch everyday because usually I am too busy to even be able to notice what I am eating. For dinner I always have something exciting to counteract my lunch ha! You are a good wife to pack for him!!


  16. #
    Cilla — November 8, 2010 @ 3:34 pm

    That looks very familiar! My work lunch is also typically a starch + lean protein + frozen veg or salad. Mr. Sweet’s lunch sort of looks yum, except I don’t do the corn and peas combo. I go for frozen beans :) Sometimes, if I’m feeling like something uber bland, I go for brown rice and kidney beans with frozen veggies. There’s something so simplistically earthy about the combination. My Mr. prefers a tin of tuna/salmon and wholewheat crackers with some fruit, although he will never say no to leftovers from dinner.


  17. #
    Sara — November 8, 2010 @ 3:45 pm

    Many of my friends can’t believe I pack my husband’s lunches. He is also the envy of many of his coworkers. He’s a lot like Mr. How Sweet–doesn’t require a whole lot of variety. Most weeks I whip up a big batch of my fancy chicken salad and send a big bin of it to work with him, along with a loaf of bread and whatever sides (chips, carrots, fruit, etc.) I happen to have on hand. That way I only have to pack his lunch on Monday and he is set for the week. For me, I typically take dinner leftovers. We both try not to eat lunch out more than one day a week, but some weeks are better than others…


  18. #
    Patty — November 8, 2010 @ 3:52 pm

    I feel envious. My hubby comes home every day for lunch. I make his lunch every day, along with supper. He does make his own breakfast, and lets me sleep. He has to be to work at 7 A.M. Usually it is leftovers(planned-overs) because he doesn’t really like sandwiches.


  19. #
    Chrissy — November 8, 2010 @ 3:56 pm

    I grew tired of sandwiches as well, and am trying to incorporate dinner-type foods for lunch. Pasta and turkeyballs, Greek pasta, chili, and lately minestrone have been my go-tos.


  20. #
    Katie @ Healthy Heddleston — November 8, 2010 @ 4:15 pm

    We make enough at dinner time for John to have enough food for lunch. He likes to have a meal meal where I can just piece odds and ends together to create a “meal.”


  21. #
    Tiffany — November 8, 2010 @ 4:37 pm

    I totally know what you are dealing with. My man’s #1 requirement? A huge bag of veggies. I take about 2 hours every Sunday prepping veggies. It’s insanity. In addition to the full lunches. He likes leftovers, so for the 2 of us, I make 6 servings of everything to make sure he has enough to take. Tons of food!


  22. #
    Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat — November 8, 2010 @ 4:46 pm

    Mr How Sweet is a very lucky man!! That’s so nice of you to make his lunches every day – I hope he says thank you!


  23. #
    Victoria (District Chocoholic) — November 8, 2010 @ 5:30 pm

    One-pot dishes are totally the way to go. Chili with extra veggies, veggie-chicken bakes…Less containers to carry to work and wash at the end of the day=win.


  24. #
    Mackenzie@The Caramel Cookie — November 8, 2010 @ 5:30 pm

    Wow! My husband would love this! Unfortunately I pack him a turkey sandwich everyday….


  25. #
    Rachel — November 8, 2010 @ 5:33 pm

    I don’t always make lunches for hubs but he doesn’t mind eating the same thing day after day which is helpful – so occasionally I’ll make a big batch of something over the weekend or early in the week for him to share w/his coworker. Usually the stuff I make is slow cooker type items or other manly meals… meat meat meat lol. I know how you feel but at least here I can play around with things to a degree. The only thing I can’t use for his food is bbq sauce.


  26. #
    Kathy — November 8, 2010 @ 5:53 pm

    Humph. I can’t let my husband see what I’m looking at right. He may show up on your doorstep! We usually just eat a Lean Cuisine or something of the like. We’ve both been trying to count calories and loose some weight, but I stink at it and never count when I get home from work.


  27. #
    Wei-Wei — November 8, 2010 @ 5:59 pm

    Such manly lunches; it does seem to take a lot of preparation, though!


  28. #
    Lauren at KeepItSweet — November 8, 2010 @ 6:11 pm

    you are such a good wife:-) my husband actually makes his own lunch- he bought a meat slicer (yes, a meat slicer) and cooks his own turkey for sandwiches. he also eats the same thing every day!


    • Jessica — November 8th, 2010 @ 6:29 pm

      Now THAT is impressive.


  29. #
    the blissful baker — November 8, 2010 @ 8:43 pm

    aww its so sweet that you make his lunches!


  30. #
    Kristy — November 9, 2010 @ 6:00 am

    I also pack the Mr’s lunch! Good for me he also can eat his same favs over and over. Bad things is I get tired of packing him sub and chips :-) I would love to pack him something more exciting – but his diet is meat, potato, rice and baked goods.


  31. #
    Sherrie — November 9, 2010 @ 6:32 am

    I seriously, can hardly wait to see what you will one day pack in your kids’ lunchboxes! We’ll have to be faithful followers and look forward to that post. ;)


  32. #
    Kim in MD — November 9, 2010 @ 7:13 am

    Aaawww…you are so sweet to pack lunch for Mr. How Sweet! I think that looks like a very healthy, balanced lunch. I bet his co-workers are jealous! :-)


  33. #
    Kat — November 9, 2010 @ 7:15 am

    You’re too cute. I have to pack Jon’s lunches too because if I don’t he will either just not eat or go out. I have no idea how he can do that but he manages to go the whole day without barely even eating some days. It’s totally BAD. So I try to stay on top of lunches. Most days I make dinner with leftovers so I can pack lunches. Other days I’ll freeze the extra and pack it into a lunch a week or two later so we have some variety. I do like your super healthy lunches though- they look good! I might have to try that.


  34. #
    MrsABC1016 — November 9, 2010 @ 7:21 am

    I’m totally with you on the 1950s wifey thing. (c: I know that things will probably change whenever we have kids, but for now, I like making his dinner and packing his lunch. (c: I feel like it shows him that I appreciate the things he does for me. And like you.. it totally reminds me of how my grandma took care of my grandpa! (c: She made eggs, biscuits, bacon, sausage, gravy, and an array of homemade jams and preserves every morning for the whole time they were married until he passed away around their 60th anniversary. Whenever I want to complain about housework or anything else I always think about all the things she’s always done without complaint and feel guilty! ha! She’s almost 85 now and still takes care of her own house along with her great great great grandchildren!


    • Jessica — November 9th, 2010 @ 7:22 am

      I think of the same thing! They are such amazing women.


  35. #
    megan @ whatmegansmaking — November 9, 2010 @ 7:42 am

    You are an incredible wife. I also pack my husband’s lunches but he’s so much easier than your husband. pb&j every day! with a fruit, a veggie (if I remember to wash and cut it), a snack (usually a homemade muffin or granola bar), a yogurt, and sometimes a dessert. Easy :)


  36. #
    Kacy — November 9, 2010 @ 7:52 am

    I think I would enjoy packing the lunches as well. I like to make people feel loved :)

    My lunches are usually leftovers or some kind of sandwich/wrap thing.


  37. #
    Anne @ Food Loving Polar Bear — November 9, 2010 @ 9:28 am

    I wish you would make my lunches too :D :D


  38. #
    tabs — November 9, 2010 @ 9:54 am

    Oh my word! My husband is JUST LIKE YOURS! And I enjoy making his lunches…but I also have to make mine (plus packable dinners a couple nights a week). This post could not have come at a better time!


  39. #
    Casper — November 9, 2010 @ 10:09 am

    My husband makes his own meals right now because we have to get to work at different time so he gets up a lot earlier than me. On nights we have leftovers I will pack those up for him, otherwise he just makes a sandwich. However, in a couple months when I have the baby, I will be quitting my job. I will start making his lunches so he can have some good, healthy, and tasty meals. I try to make dinners that will make a good lunch for the next day. Easier than trying to think of good lunches that are totally different. He loves leftovers so it works out for me!


    • Jessica — November 9th, 2010 @ 10:39 am

      Mine loves leftovers too – sometimes more than the original meal!


  40. #
    Cara — November 9, 2010 @ 11:24 am

    I love this idea! I might just do it for my own meals since I never have to make my husbands lunch- He’s a chef and eats at work and about once a week I go to eat with him at his restaurant which is a nice break — but I totally agree on the not wasting money part on lunches too! It can get really expensive!


  41. #
    Mary (A Merry Life) — November 9, 2010 @ 2:50 pm

    Interesting! I need/want to start making Kepa’s lunches so this was actually pretty helpful for ideas… with more flavor hopefully. ;)


  42. #
    stephchows — November 10, 2010 @ 7:30 am

    this sounds like what I do for John.. except for the veggies… he hates veggies… I need to work on that :)


  43. #
    Valerie — November 11, 2010 @ 2:26 pm

    Envious chick here. I wish my boyfriend would eat leftovers for lunch. I make him breakfast most days (made the night before), but leftovers… pffftt, forget it.

    Although, we’re having leftovers for dinner. He just doesn’t know it yet. Oh yes, he’ll complain. But he can’t cook. And I’m the kitchen Nazi. So I’ll just respond to his whine with, “suck it up.”

    Love, love, love your blog :)


    • Jessica — November 11th, 2010 @ 2:35 pm

      Hahahah you are awesome. Thank you!


  44. #
    Ash @ Good Taste. Healthy Me — November 14, 2010 @ 1:19 am

    Lunches always consist of leftovers from the previous nights dinner. I don’t think it’s anything amazing but his coworkers commented on how delicious it looks everyday. Score! :D


  45. #
    One Healthy Apple — November 15, 2010 @ 3:53 am

    I do the same.exact.thing. Veggie, lots of meat, and starch. It’s so easy and my husband will eat the same thing over and over again.


  46. #
    Liz — September 27, 2011 @ 8:15 pm

    I also do the same thing! But, I should own stock in frozen vegetables–my husband can consume at least a pound a day, I swear. I love and use my slow cooker, rice cooker and the microwave (meat, starch, veg) every week to make large quantities of man lunches. (One of his coworkers is always envious and sometimes I send extras…!)


  47. #
    Cailin V — June 11, 2013 @ 9:03 pm

    My husband works mids- so I just make extra dinner and pack it up to go! Haha, luckily he doesn’t usually mind eating the same thing twice in one night!



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