Thursday, March 03, 2016

Lunchboxes for The Man

When The Man and I were contemplating my transition from full-time employee to full-time homemaker, one of the things he was most excited about was not having to make his own lunch. He never really enjoyed that task, and I prepare the rest of the meals anyway, so it was a logical request to ask me to take over for him.

When I was in my teens, I discovered my love of what I called "mixed plates." (Not to be confused with the Hawaiian mixed plate, although similar and also delicious.) I liked to have a wide variety of food on my plate, a little bit of everything. Rather than a big sandwich, a pile of chips, and a drink, I preferred a smaller sandwich, a few chips, a few crackers, half an apple, a small cookie, a bit of cheese, and an ice water. Even today, if we go to a fast food joint, I'll pick five items off the value menu instead of one bigger burger and wad of fries.

The Man? He's a convert to my mixed plates.

I started making him lunches right from the start, but it took a few weeks to get into a good rhythm and really nail down his preferences. Here are the details for today's lunch:

We use EasyLunchboxes and EasyLunchbox bento containers. Switching to these has been a lifesaver! While I try to keep our food out of plastic (thus the wax paper sandwich bag), I'm fine using the bento containers since we never ever heat food in them. The oatmeal usually goes into a Pyrex 2-cup bowl, but mine were all in use when I was making The Man's lunch last night.

I should probably start with breakfast. The Man takes his breakfast with him each day and makes it at work. He eats 2/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oatmeal with a tablespoon of dried blueberries (both from Costco). When he gets to work, he adds somen creamer (hazelnut seems to be a favorite) and hot water from their instant hot water tap. If I'm on the ball, I'll make two week's worth of these oatmeal packets and empty the baggie into a glass bowl each night. (I can reuse a bag for the same dry ingredients once or twice without worry, right?)

Sandwich: Oroweat bread, usually a wheatier type but buttermilk this week; Boar's Head All Natural Roasted Turkey from Fred Meyer (at $14 per pound, this is a treat, but it is SO good--PB&J on rotation every other week to keep costs down and change things up); Tillamook swiss cheese; and leaf lettuce. No spreads, no sauces, no spices, and no other veggies. We're easy, folks!

Fruit and Veg: Tree Top organic no-sugar-added applesauce (from Costco), baby carrots, and an Ambrosia apple--The Man's favorite kind of apple (both from Fred Meyer).

Sides and Sweets: Ritz crackers (Costco), Sargento colby-jack cheese stick (on rotation with regular string cheese and Tillamoos, from Costco or FM), and three small peanut butter fudge cookies (from Safeway, I think). The Quaker bar (from Costco) is for his afternoon snack or whenever he wants to eat it.

Drink: Diet Dr. Pepper (from wherever is cheapest). You don't have to agree with his choice of beverage, but he's an adult. Sometimes this is a flavored water, sometimes this is an orange juice, and sometimes he doesn't take a drink with him.

After some rough calculations via, breakfast and lunch together add up to 1200 calories, 40 grams of fat, 20 grams of fiber, 50 grams of protein, and 38 grams of sugar. The estimated glycemic load is under 80 (target under 100 per day). While we could cut out the cheese stick to help eliminate the fat, we'd also be slashing the protein and cause The Man to be hangry by the time he gets home. We could also cut out the applesauce, apple, or granola bar to chop out some sugar, but then we'd lose valuable fiber. Ditch the cookies you say? You be cray cray!

What do you like or dislike about The Man's lunchtime preferences, and how would you change his lunch to make it your own?

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