Source: I found this great tip in a magazine. Can't remember which one.
By coville123 from Brockville, Ontario
Anyway, I had a lot of trouble coming up with how I could further contribute to sustainability in my workplace. Then, one day I was sitting and eating my lunch and looked at the plastic spoon I was using. We had plastic spoons on hand for eating our lunch, stirring our morning coffee, etc. I realized that if every single day, I were to bring my own spoon or fork for eating lunch with me to work, we could actually save money in our department's budget. If enough people in the department did it, we could save some serious money over a year. So, the next day, I started doing just that. Then, someone noticed and commented on it. I told them why I was bringing my own flatware. They thought it was such a good idea and started doing it, too. As far as I know, there are at least 4 people besides myself doing this now. I think it's a terrific idea.
By crazyliblady from Pittsburg, KS
If you do go out for lunch or dinner, always ask for a doggie bag/box and save leftovers for tomorrow's lunch. Any food left on the table is money wasted.
By Faylee from Kingsport, TN
A good quality, well-insulated thermos can keep food hot for hours. For use with food, you will need a thermos with a wider mouth than those which are used just for coffee. These are often sold in the sporting goods section of department stores as "insulated food jars" and they commonly come in two sizes, a small size which is perfect for an individual meal and a larger size which can hold a very ample meal for two or more people. Some popular and commonly available brands cost between $15 and $30 or so, but they will quickly pay for themselves if used even a small number of times. The cap doubles as a serving bowl, and one popular brand of small food jar comes with a nifty folding spoon which fits in the lid. A cheap plastic thermos is fine for holding food for a few hours, but for an extended trip the metal ones are best and they are also easiest to clean and less prone to leak. Pre-heating your thermos by adding hot water for several minutes before you add your food will extend its holding time considerably, as will adding your food while it is very hot.
Often, when people think of a thermos, they think of soup. Yes, soup works perfectly in a thermos and I often take soup with us on outings, as well as chili or stew. But they are not just for soup! Consider using your thermos to carry a hot sandwich filling such as shredded barbecue meat or sloppy joes... bring along a pack of buns and you have your meal. Try using a thermos for hotdogs... either boiled hotdogs kept hot in their cooking water or cooked hotdogs suspended in hot chili. We have also used our thermos jars for spaghetti, ravioli, chicken and dumplings, Swedish meatballs, thin-sliced roast beef in au jus, skilled pasta meals such as Hamburger Helper, gumbo with rice, baked beans, small meat patties in gravy, little smokies in barbecue sauce and more. If the food has any sort of spoonable consistency to it, I will put it in a thermos jar.
Once a week, my child and I attend a homeschool co-op group. We always bring our lunch, and we often bring it in our own individual thermos. But again, not just soup. I have taken some unusual things, such as beef ravioli in homemade alfredo sauce. Last week I brought blackened tilapia fish in cheesy grits. Even these meals which can often be tricky to keep at a proper consistency tend to do well in a good thermos. I will often use a thermos at home for keeping those 'tricky' foods like alfredo sauce or cheese dip at a just-right temperature until it is time to serve them, and I have also brought such foods to family gatherings in a thermos. Once, we were asked to bring a dish to a family breakfast and I came with the sausage milk gravy, ready to serve. Everyone was surprised when I set a thermos on the counter beside the biscuits!
When we go tent camping, I will often cook meals in a Dutch oven. Leftovers go into a thermos while they're still very hot, and we can eat them later. Two of our large thermos jars will keep food steaming hot from supper time until lunch (or even later) the next day. This is great when your only other way to make a meal is to kindle a fire or charcoal! Cook once, eat twice, even when away from home.
Now that we have been using our insulated food jars in this way for several years, I can't imagine going back to just a baggie with a cold lunchmeat sandwich. And I also can't imagine what it would be like to spend money on fast food every trip!
Source: My own experimentation in an attempt to eat well and save money!
By Shawna from TN, USA
Many people already enjoy this food tip, I hope you will too! Some foods you can heat up and insulate in a Thermos (besides soup). I added more ideas to the magazine I found this in:
Be sure to pack a utensil!
Note: Little did I know, now available are neat "vacuum insulated food jars" in pretty stainless steel designs and some with a folding spoon! Wow! Designs at: www.thermos.com
Source: Parents magazine, page 262 from September 2007 (I clipped this and still have this magazine page!)
By Erin from Seffner, FL
A solution is to pack healthy and fun alternatives that will have kids anxiously opening their lunch packs. It will save money and allow you to better keep track of your child's eating habits. The only cost is a little bit of your time, but by inviting your children to help pack the lunches the night before it will become a family affair. Don't forget to pack the same for Mom and Dad, and save all around.
Tortillas are also helpful when leftover chicken, turkey, or beef is in the fridge.
Add slices of cold roast beef or poultry to a tortilla, add shredded cheese, some red peppers, spinach, and a dollop of ranch dressing and you have a sandwich with zest.
Of course, the traditional chicken or beef with some salsa, sour creme, and shredded cheese is a welcome option, too.
For one dollar at the Dollar Store or Famly Dollar or Walmart, you can purchase a three piece plastic place setting that comes with a plastic glass that has a top on it. Carry this for lunch. You already bought the food at the grocery, use it.
REMEMBER: machine soft drinks add up too. If you buy sodas at the grocery store, grab one or two and put it in your lunch tote. Don't forget to grab the snack food you already bought also. Chips can fit in a baggie and an English muffin can too. Happy breakfast, snacks, and lunches!
By Jane from Paducah, KY
To better organize our mornings, we decided that it would be best to have the kids pre-plan their lunches for the week. I bought a dry erase board that had the days of the week on it. Since we have two kids, I decided to use different colored stickers for each of them. I put a matching sticker at the bottom next to their names, so we would know who was who.
Each weekend we ask the kids what the want for lunches that week. We list what they want, that way its not an argument in the mornings when everyone is tired. Plus they can't complain about what they get because it was their choice. :)
I love salads and will divide those into containers as well. Cutting up fruit (melon, strawberries, etc.) is good when in season. I buy the baby carrots and divide into several zippered bags along with cauliflower, broccoli, celery, pepper sticks, or whatever sounds good. If I make biscuits or muffins, I bag them individually and freeze. I then pull my choices for the day from the smorgasbord in my refrigerator. No day's lunch is the same. This also helps to regulate my portion sizes. This would work for anyone who has access to a microwave oven at lunch.
By Sue H
Source: Husband's idea. :)
By Gooby from Straughn, IN
By Linda from Fort Smith, AR
I am looking for lunch ideas for hubby working on forestry gang. I have a tight budget, and he is sick of sandwiches. Any thoughts? Thank you.
This is a variation of a sandwich, but my hubby likes it, toasted frozen waffles, spread with peanut butter. Dot one side with raisins, and put apple slices in the middle. He also likes homemade tuna or chicken salad, and I send big leaves of lettuce, then he makes a 'wrap' with the lettuce leaves.
I am looking for receipes for cold salads, such as pasta, egg salad, and such.
My husband travels for his work and he takes a cooler and I am running out of ideas for cold salads for him to take along.
Any resources would be greatly appreciated.
Easy Italian Pasta Salad
1 box any pasta product-cooked according to directions-al dente
one pkg pepperoni slices-cut smaller
1/2 onion chopped,optional
1 celery stalk optional
1 medium container Italian dressing (I use 7 seas)
salt and pepper to taste
mix all in large covered bowl (I use lock and lock)
better after sitting in fridge overnight but great as soon as its done!
keeps 5 days
Does anyone have any suggestions on what to pack for my ten kids' lunches? Two of them can't have anything with added sugar or food dyes and one of them can't drink normal milk and has to drink soy or almond and my oldest is allergic to mushrooms. What can I do? My kids are sick of the same old tuna fish sandwiches, with an apple, and a low fat sugar free juice and maybe some crackers. Suggestions?
By mc4lifes from Sydney, NSW
At the office, many of my colleagues buy their lunch at the local take-out, spending $4-6 a day! I remind myself that I would rather eat lunch out on vacation with the money I save by brown bagging it--I'd rather have lunch in Venice, Italy than at the takeout in town!
Does anyone have any ideas for lunches that do not require heating. My husband works outdoors and away from home all day and has a habit of constantly grabbing fast food. This can get really expensive!