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?