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I take my lunch to work and have been buying tubs of Hillshire Farms lunch meat. Once the tub was emptied, I had a bright idea that it could store a sandwich instead of using a baggie. The sandwich fits perfectly and does not get crushed or moist from other contents in my lunch bucket. I have even put my potato chips and cut veggies in them for lunch.
I cannot remember the last time I bought baggies. When I used to use baggies, either the baggie would not zip close right or the size was bad and I had to force my sandwich in. So I am very pleased with these tubs.
I also am a big time composter, wish everyone would also recycle, we do both.
The small lemon shaped plastic juice containers can be reused for a small ice pack. This is a guide about using lemon juice containers as an ice pack.
When having a salad, put the dressing on only the portion served. The remaining salad can kept fresh by wrapping soda crackers in a paper towel and placing them in the bowl. Cling wrap the container to seal out the moisture. This trick will extend the life of the remaining salad.
By Dave from Oshawa, Ontario
Sounds good. I will try it!
To save paper and money, I take my lunch to work every day in a cloth tote bag that I bought at the Dollar Store. It is about 10x10 inch square and has a nice handle. When I come home, I just put my lunch bag in the fridge so I can find it fast in the morning. I never run out of paper bags, I save money, and it's a good way to reduce waste.
By Laurie from Portland, OR
I have a lot of cloth bags, handmade from home dec fabric samples which were headed for the dump. They make great lunch bags, library bags, light marketing bags, and excursion bags (like a trip to the beach, or cafe when on vacation)
Look at www.wyncia.ETSY.com for a few. Loads more, just contact me! Here is a collage of these wonderful bags.
As hard as I looked, I couldn't find cold packs small enough to fit inside a lunch bag or lunch box. I finally picked up a few heart shaped baby teething rings and I keep them in the freezer. They're just small enough to keep in a lunch bag, but not so big that they take up all of the room.
Recently, at my work, I have been on a committee that is looking at strategic planning for the next year, 5 years, and 10 years into the future. One of the issues we have been looking at is sustainability.
If you have a thermos, you have a very thrifty money-saver at your fingertips! Instead of spending money by eating at restaurants during trips, take your meals with you! A good quality, well-insulated thermos can keep food hot for hours.
The prices of school lunches, like most other things, are rising. Yet, parents need to question whether these lunches are providing their children with healthy lunch options and whether or not the lunches are worth the money.
If you take your lunch to work, put in a pocket-sized hand sanitizer. It's great if you can't wash up before lunch.
Tips on school lunches from a pre-K teacher: Invest in cold packs. You can get these at dollar stores. Paired with a thermal bag, the foods you send to school with your child will be protected.
I make my lunch the night before I have classes each day. Usually I bring for lunch whatever I have leftover from my dinner. If it doesn't sound appealing, I use Pita bread pockets cut in four quarters and get inventive.
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.
I pack a lunchbox for my husband and have been having an issue with condensations. To solve this problem I am using kuzies. I have been saving kuzies from different promotions around town that are giving them away free.
Save Naked or Odwalla juice bottles and fill with water and freeze. These are just the right size for a child's lunch box. When they thaw, you can have cold water to drink. These are also useful for placing in a larger cooler.
My husband puts my 6 or 8 oz. yogurt cup in a coolie cup which is normally used for cans or bottles. It fits right into the cup, and makes a handy way to keep it chilled until lunch.
I am always looking for ideas for my kids lunches since they don't like to eat at school. When I go to various restaurants to eat we usually have leftover "ranch" of any dipping containers.
This is a guide about packing salad for lunch. Many delicious combinations of vegetables, fruits, cheeses and/or meats can create a fresh healthy lunch.
Freeze a week's worth of lunchmeat sandwiches for your children on Sunday night. Place in ziplock bags or plastic sandwich containers. Freeze and take out the next day right before your children leave for school. Pack in lunches.
My daughter has an old-fashioned type lunch box with a thermos. Putting in one of those hard ice substitutes took up too much room, so instead I use frozen bread to make her sandwich. The bread thaws in time for lunch while keeping the lunch meat cold enough to prevent bacteria from forming.
put plastic cutlery in my husband's lunches for work. After him losing a couple of my "good" forks on the job site, he's gotten plastic ever since. Those I don't care if he loses.
To save time in the mornings, make sandwiches and freeze them on the weekend. The sandwich turns out best if you start with frozen bread. Make the sandwich on the frozen bread, then pop it back into the freezer again.
A great way to take a salad to work for lunch is to put all of the ingredients in a reusable glass jar. This guide contains mason jar salad ideas.
I buy canned fruit & spoon into small bowls with lids (allow room for the food expanding when freezing) for my husband's lunches. Frozen cups of canned fruits and frozen sandwiches will be thawed in time for my husband's lunches. He works construction.
When I pack lunch for my school age children, I pack one for my younger child as well that way he gets a kick out of using his lunch box and we have lunch prepared if we are on the go at lunchtime.
Slip "I love you" notes into lunches, pockets, or between pages of school books for your children or spouse. Costs nothing but means everything! But be careful!
I live too far away from work to go home to eat and I can't afford $3-$4 per day that it takes to go to fast food restaurants. Since I live alone, I only cook 1 day a week, usually on Sunday afternoons.
This is a tip that will help anyone who packs lunches! These days, we all need to tighten our belts and packing lunches is an excellent way to not only save money, but also to eat healthier!
Making Lunch a Little Different. My DH brown bags his lunch. To make his sandwiches more interesting and to save time, I took three large frozen chicken tenders, greased them top and bottom with extra virgin olive oil. . .
Avoid Juice Box mix-ups by placing a different sticker on each child's juice box or juice bag. Everyone can pick their favorite sticker and no leftover juices!
Put tomatoes and lettuce in a separate container and place in your sandwich later to avoid mushy bread. Also, keep your mustard, etc. in the lounge kitchen (also to avoid mushy bread). By Crystal Podvin
Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.
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 get bored with lunch, I need thrifty ideas and variety.
Lucy from West Covina
Someone just posted the same thing a couple of days ago. You can probably find the info. in the archives.
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
ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.
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! We do make sandwiches occasionally, but he eventually gets tired of eating the same thing. Thanks for the input!
Juls from Edmond, OK
Salad packed in one ziplock bag and the dressing in another smaller one, cheese and crackers, thermos of soup or chili, veggies and dip (done like the salad and dressing), cold cuts and buns, chicken salad wrapped in a tortilla or put in pita pockets,-(or tuna or salmon, or peanut butter,banana and jam, or deviled egg filling), leftover pizza, are just a few ideas that come to mind. (06/23/2006)
Something my husband likes is peanut butter spread on a tortilla, then sprinkled with raisins and cinnamon sugar before rolling it up.
I pack lunches every day of the school year. Some favorites of my crew:
Fluffernutters (Peanut butter and marshmallow fluff)
cheese and crackers (real stuff--not the packaged ones)
"regular" sandwiches (you know, the ordinary ones)
pepperoni sticks paired with mozzarella sticks
fruit/nut bread with cream cheese
bagels with cream cheese
hummus with cut pita bread
Tortillas are a great vehicle to be creative with, as are pitas.
If he doesn't have access to refrigerators, freeze a water bottle, then wrap it in a paper towel (prevents the condensation from wetting everything, and put it in a cooler or cooler bag. (Or use the purchased freeze packs--but have a few spares, as they invariably don't get put back into the freezer on time).
I do purchase the small bags of chips at the warehouse store--if there is an open bag of chips at home, it either gets eaten too soon, or goes stale!
Fresh Fruit is great for lunches. Even Dried Fruit
How about a handful of peanuts still in their shells.
Fresh Tomatoes, Peanut Butter on celery. Baby Carrots..
Now the Meat portion which every man has to have to show his face.
Leftover Meatloaf. Friend Chicken, Turkey, Maybe a Spaghetti Salad. Some men like me enjoy Sardines right out of the tin with a few regular crackers.
You know you can just put hot water in his Thermos so he can make instant coffee and also have a Cup of soup.
If the truth be known your homemade lunches by far will outshine any fast food restaurant. In fact when other of his co workers see his different menu everyday they will get their wives to do the same.
One important thing. Your Man needs a Lunch box. The little cooler type so he looks like he has a six pack cooler. His Thermos at least a quart even Half gallon. His coffee that you can get a small jar first then keep filling it up from a larger jar.
While you are at it you might stick a few emergency Tums a couple and a couple of aspirin. Hey ever try to by them at a convenience store.
Happy Dining To Your Hubby
From Mr. Thrifty
By Mr. Thrifty
I make brown bag lunches for my husband and I every day. We both get tired of the same old, same old...
I make chicken wraps with grilled chicken, sliced, romaine, shredded cojack and honey mustard in a tortilla.
Make tuna salad with salsa instead of mayo. Pack the tuna salad in a small container and put wheat thins, tortilla chips or a pita in a baggie.
Bagel sandwiches are a big hit. Toast the bagel, allow to cool. Then add turkey, ham, lettuce, etc. I save condiment packets from restaurants and send those with the sandwich. If you put them on the sandwich the night before the bread/bagel/bun gets soggy. If you don't have packets, put the condiment in a tiny container or baggie.
Pizza wraps: spread the middle of a tortilla with pizza or spaghetti sauce or tomato sauce with some Italian seasoning, layer on pepperoni and shredded cheese. Eat cold or hot.
Bean wraps: spread the middle of a tortilla with refried beans, layer on olives, tomatoes, lettuce, shredded cheese, chopped onions, guacamole, etc. Eat hot or cold.
Nacho cheese and tortilla chips make an easy "ballpark-style" lunch or snack. Add some fruit and used baked chips to make it healthier.
"Man Salad": a salad made with sturdy greens such as romaine, red leaf and spinach. Add other veggies as desired, such as grape tomatoes, cucumber slices, shredded carrot, etc. In separate containers/baggies pack chopped ham/turkey/roast beef, shredded cheese, croutons, bacon bits, and dressing. (06/25/2006)
I've packed my husband's lunch everyday for years. It saves so much money and he can eat healthier food too. The ideas above are great, but don't forget the fried (in our case baked) chicken that tastes great cold too. And I make pepperoni rolls that my husband loves. Make bread, roll it out thin, cut into smaller rectangles, layer pepperoni and cheese, fold over and seal, and bake. No need to let rise first, cause they'll rise plenty during baking. You can also make these with ham and cheese, turkey and cheese, etc, or add peppers, onions, mushrooms, a little spaghetti sauce, a container of something for dip. Whatever you choose.
I make iced tea, juice, etc, and pour into plastic bottles and put those in the cooler too. They are much more refreshing than overly sweetened pop. By the way, you can fill these up part way, put lids on LOOSELY, and freeze them. In the morning, finish filling and use in place of the ice packs. They'll keep the food cold, defrost by lunchtime, and provide a nice cold drink.
Pack crackers, sliced or chunks of cheese, pieces of meat (ham, pepperoni, etc). Goes great with iced tea and grapes.
My husband loves homemade trail mixes for his daily snacks. I mix a variety of nuts, dried fruits, chocolate chips (or MandMs that I get on clearance after holidays), and sometimes some cereal or sesame sticks in a large lidded container. I put this into reusable small plastic food containers.
He also likes raw vegetable sticks with a small container of ranch or any type of dip.
Make your own peanut butter/almond butter crackers at home for a snack.
Get a wide-mouth thermos, fill with boiling water, set aside for at least 10 minutes to warm, drain, then fill with something hot during cold months. By warming the container first, it'll keep the food warmer longer--but don't put this into his cooler with an ice-pack.
And yes, the insulated cooler with ice packs is a must. My husband's still using his after 20+ years. It was a great investment. And won't his co-workers be jealous when he takes strawberry shortcake from his lunchbox for dessert. (06/27/2006)
Most people eat fast food for the choices more than the taste. My husband would eat sandwiches every day as long as i would send something different as a side every day. potato salad, macaroni salad, veggies and dip. chips and salsa, and of course a desert. desert could be anything from pie or cake to fruit or cookies. The trick is to have the right containers and coolers/insulators. check out solar cooking sites for ideas on hot foods. (closed cars make great solar heaters, just for reheating not cooking) (06/27/2006)
By carla bledsoe
When my husband was farming and we had 3 sons who frequently had to go to the field to work after school, I made my own buns, bought/prepared a variety of sandwich fillings, baked 3-4-5 different kinds of cookies - all this took at least a day of preparation. Then I made lunches for the freezer. Each one had 2 different sandwiches and 2 different kind of cookies. Then, as they went out the door, they could grab a bag from the freezer and each one was different. I also made 5-6 different casseroles that we all like and froze them in styrofoam soup bowls.
The boys would come home from school, put a bowl of their choice in the microwave, run upstairs to change to work clothes, pour a glass of milk and butter a slice or 2 of bread and they had a complete meal before going out to work. Then I didn't have to worry about them being hungry and they could have a snack when they got home. It worked very well for us for many years. Economical and tasty! (06/27/2006)
Wraps made with tortillas can be so much more creative for lunches. Try them with peanut butter and jelly, grilled chicken with salad dressing and cheese, assorted deli meats and cucumbers, tomatoes, and so many other interesting ideas. Roll them up and then roll them in tin foil. In a lunch bag with an ice-pack-they will stay all day. You may want to place the wrap also in a zip lock so water does not leak through the tin foil! (06/27/2006)
Make meat turnovers! They are so good and filling, and you can put whatever you like in them! I use an easy pizza dough recipe from an old Betty Crocker cookbook for the crust. It takes 15 minutes, and makes six nice, big turnovers. About 1/2 to 3/4 pound of your appropriate meat plus veggies and maybe some cheese and salt and pepper are all it takes.
I've made hamburger with jack cheese and green peppers, ham with bell peppers and cheese, leftover roast beef with potatoes and freshly ground pepper. In other words, clean out the refrigerator. Right now we've got beet greens, and if you haven't tried greens, you're missing a lot. Have fun! (06/27/2006)
Why are all these women making lunch for their husbands! how about some role reversal! (04/26/2007)
I fix my husbands because it is a nice things to do. Not because i have too. He gets up at 3:30 am and gets home about 5:30 or 6:00 pm eats supper and has to go to bed at 8. He is beat. So why not do something for him? (04/26/2007)
My DH works some 70+ hours per week. If I can fix his lunch, dinner, breakfast...I'll do so gladly. (04/26/2007)
I like to make my husband's lunches but he gets tired of the same thing every day. I read some of what was written here and it helped a lot.
Just wanted to say thanks Ladies.
Wow, This is all the info I was looking for. I am a stay at home mom with one baby boy who is 1. My husband works from 5am to 7pm all week long. I make his lunch and I just needed some new ideas. He says he doesn't mind sandwiches everyday but I know he must get sick of them. Just wanted to say thank you for the ideas. Jesica (10/20/2008)
My husband is very picky and is sick of sandwiches. he works outside and is always between job sites. warm weather is not an issue for us, a few ice packs keeps his lunch cool enough. during the winter we have 0-20 below weather and there is no way to keep his lunch warm. this is when he opts for fast food. It's hot. Otherwise I pack tuna stuff, like you would make in a sandwich, with a roll of ritz, chicken packets, these are crescent rolls where two are pinched together to form a rectangle, then you place a chicken mixture of cream cheese, shredded cheddar, cottage cheese, mozzarella cheese, chicken and seasonings one one end. fold over the other end and bake.
My hubby likes them cold too. make a pizza crust and do the same thing, but put pizza stuff in it, or ham and cheese. you could put Alfredo sauce, diced chicken, bacon, tomatoes, and mozzarella to create a chicken Alfredo pocket. these are hardy and filling. my hubby works 50-60 hours a week and needs something that will fill him.
I did get a few ideas from you other ladies. Thanks for the tips. Whatever I can do to make his week go smoother I will. I am very thankful for all he does for our family. (12/14/2009)
My grandmother used to do this for my grandfather, and now I do it for my husband ( he loves it )
Cook a couple of hot dogs in the micro, or pan or whatever, and then put them in super hot water in a thermos. Pack a couple of buns with packets of condiments or a tupperware filled with relish/slaw/whatever. He can put together his steaming hot hot dogs for lunch!
I love to make lunches/dinner for my hard-working husband. It's just one little way I can help him out and show him how much I love him. That's what a partnership is all about.... (01/15/2010)
To be completely honest, I love to pack my husband's lunch so other people in his office think I'm a good wife. I make is sandwich on special bread, wrap the two pieces separately so he can eat them at different part of the day without causing a mess, and give him sliced tomatoes, lettuce and onion in separate baggies so his bread stays dry.
Although I do like to send him off with a nice packed lunch for his benefit, I don't think I would go through all that trouble if he sat in his car and ate alone. Everyday he gets home and thanks me for his lunch I ask if anyone was jealous of it. Just my little goal for the day. (02/18/2010)
I have always loved packing my husband's lunch. He has always worked so hard. I try to make each day different because I know eating the same thing over and over can get old fast. Here are some of my ideas. I don't use ice packs, instead I fill 10 water bottles 3/4 of the way full (five with lemonade and five with water) and freeze them at the beginning of the week.
Each morning, I take one water and one lemonade and fill them the rest of the way up and place them in the bottom of his lunch cooler to keep everything fresh. Each weekend, I make at least 3 different deserts, usually brownies, an apple pie, and cookies of some sort. I pack individual packets and keep them in the freezer and just choose a different one each day. By the time he eats them, they have defrosted but are still nice and fresh.
I make all different kinds of sandwiches on different kinds of breads and buns each day. I rarely buy lunch meat, but I have a deli slicer, so i like to take leftover pot roast, pork, or chicken breast and slice it a couple hours after dinner (after I have chilled the leftovers in the fridge). It's way healthier and tastier than deli versions according to my hubby. I always pack a tiny ziplock with a couple advils because he does back breaking work all day, and I know he is going to need them at least once or twice a week.
For sides, I usually cut up fresh fruit (his favorites are watermelon, grapes, strawberries, and clementine tangerines) and put them in little plastic containers. He also like carrot sticks with ranch dressing for dipping. One of his favorite treats his homemade salsa and multigrain tostitos, so I try to give him that once or twice a week.
I also like to tuck little notes or cards into his lunchbox to let him know I am thinking about him. (Not everyday of course because then it wouldn't be as meaningful, but any time there is a holiday, a special event coming up, or just to remind him that I am looking forward to our golf trip or camping trip or whatever is current). I think it is extremely important to make hubby's lunch (and dinner) extra special every day. It works for me, he treats me like a princess in return. :o) (07/13/2010)
I pack my husband's lunch everyday too. Everyone's ideas are great! This summer I have put Yoplait yogurt which I have frozen in his cooler. He loves that, just like ice cream. Also, I get raw nuts by the pound from Nutsonline, almonds, cashews, etc. I spray them with Pam and sprinkle them with Smokey Seasoned Salt or Chicago Steak Seasoning from Penzeys online. Just bake at 250 for about 15 minutes. Good and cheaper than buying canned seasoned nuts. (07/29/2010)
These ideas are so useful! I'm a newlywed, and I get very little time with my husband each day (maybe an hour) so feeding him is how I tell him I love him. He works evening shift at a coalmine, so his food is susceptible to the heat and cold (and it's usually twenty degrees hotter or colder in the mine!). He usually skips out on dinner, so these ideas are great for me to get him to eat!
Usually when I make him food, I will pack sandwiches in different pieces, trying to put "fun" sauces containers to make things interesting. I also make pasta salad, chicken salad, macaroni salad, or tuna salad for on or off sandwiches. When I'm able to keep the food warm, casseroles work decently in his thermos (depends on the casserole). Also, I will put pepperoncinis or pickles in a container for a more grownup vegetable. For dessert, I have a pan that makes mini bread loaves. I'll make a set of banana nut, zucchini, or orange bread and freeze them. I'll defrost them the night before and put them in. He has been complimented on these.
For the woman who has a problem with others fixing their husbands lunch, I would recommend you let people handle their own marriages. I'm sure most of the women here have husbands who work hard and that it is part of our job to support them in what they do. I personally enjoy the opportunity to make his day a little easier and to have him think of me when he opens his cooler. It's the least I can do for his 70+ hours a week of back breaking work that allows me to go to school. (10/03/2010)
I've found a great site for single packaged mayo and other condiments for lunches. No need to keep cold and packs easily. Had to share it! www.rvcampstuff.com They ship fast and are reliable. We usually get free samples from them with our order. (12/30/2010)
JoJoShops, I love your post! Great ideas for really healthy lunches, and the note is a great idea too! I sometimes send my hubby a text during the day, but I'm always a little worried he'll be with a client or something (he's a traveling salesman), and get embarrassed. A lunchbox note is the perfect solution :).
Way to go, ladies, for being precious, wives! Incidentally, I actually work 30 hours/week, and when things get really crazy around our happy house, my hubby will make everyone's lunches without being asked. I just usually make all the lunches because I like to do it for him and for our baby boy! (03/14/2011)
At the office, many of my colleagues buy their lunch at the local take-out, spending $4-6 a day!