Fall means my daughter is back in college and my husband is back to teaching mathematics (I should take his class)!  That means MY evenings are busier taking time to make lunches for the three of us.  We did the math (pun intended) and the amount we save by bringing our lunch and not buying it every day is HUGE!  But, it can be stressful coming up with variety, keeping the food safe from fridge to lunch table and to make sure we're eating healthy.

It would be so easy to down a candy bar and bag of chips, it would fill the void.  But, we are truly trying to watch what we eat and I want to make it less stressful coming up with a menu the next day.  I already stress on what to make for dinner every dang day!!!!

My Tips:

My husband has to eat standing up while doing lunch duty, so I cut his meat, veggies and fruit in small pieces before I put it in the container.  I know he appreciates it and this is also helpful because knives aren't allowed in most schools.

Don't brown bag it any more, save money by purchasing reusable containers in all sizes.  I like the little ones for my sauces and dressings or Homie's (my husband) sour cream when we have left over Mexican.  Of course, if you don't have a refrigerator you'll want a few of those little freezer packs to help keep your lunch the right temperature. (Remember to re-freeze them overnight for the next day)!

I get up at 3:30 am, so everything I do is timed to the second.  That's why I do as much the night before as possible.  Usually it's grab and go in the morning.  Oh, but one thing to remember (per request from the hubby).  If you're making sandwiches that have lettuce or veggies on it, send them in a baggie and not ON the sandwich.  Let them put it on just before they eat it, otherwise the veggies are limp and the bread is soggy (personal experience).

if we didn't have leftovers from dinner the night before, we'd have such boring lunches.  Peanut butter, bologna or cold cuts.  But, thanks to choices and no limitations on flavor, things have changed.  You can send flavored mustard, mayo or special sauces.  There's different flavors of bread or even kinds of bread.  You could choose a pita, a croissant, a tortilla and make it a wrap, those sandwich thins, be creative and spice up your lunches.

Sometimes, I include a note of encouragement (like if my daughter has a test) or I put in an "I love you" note just because....they tell me it makes them smile, so it's mission accomplished.

With the temps getting cooler, bringing a hot lunch gives you something  to look forward to, especially if you work outside.  If you get a wide-mouth thermos it's possible to enjoy soups or chili.  Just make sure it's super hot when you put it in the thermos in the morning so it has heat to hold.  Don't forget the crackers!!!

Info: Taste of Home