My 2010 Lunch Accountability/Meal Plan Thread
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  1. #1
    Registered User MomToTwoBoys's Avatar
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    Default My 2010 Lunch Accountability/Meal Plan Thread

    My largest weakness has always been lunches. I never ever plan properly for them because I spend all of my planning time with dinners.

    2010 is a different year where that's concerned!

    Since I discovered in 2009 that I was horrible with sticking to a meal plan that was set on days of the week, I decided to throw that out of the window for this year. It was pointless because we always had something happen. This year, we're sticking to just seven meals a week with enough for leftovers.

    I will also be cutting back on my own fast food by planning lunches for home. DS11's lunches will be strictly leftovers since trying to make GF lunches that didn't revolve around bread products was impossible. He really seems to like leftovers anyways, so dinners will increase in size to feed six people (leftovers for DH and DS11, plus 4 servings for us to eat that night). DS6 will continue to bring sandwiches, a drink and two snacks with him to school. DH will still bring leftovers with him. As far as I am concerned, I will be eating things that can be made strictly at home. No more microwave meals (which I really do love, but are really unhealthy for me) in the house, so I'll be making the following meals for lunch:

    baked macaroni and cheese
    chicken tikka masala with basmati rice
    chicken salad sandwiches
    chef salads
    bologna and cheese sandwiches (this is my junk food lunch)

    Five lunches for five days of the week that I'm by myself seems pretty good. DS6 has half days on Fridays, so he's pretty good with whatever choices I offer him. Weekend lunches will be leftovers for DS11 on Saturdays and Sundays. Once I figure out what to make for the rest of us, I'll make note of that here.

    This is mainly an accountability thread for me, as well as a way to show people how the food budget can be zapped even further by emphasizing homemade meals that are healthier and more filling.

    I'd like to also emphasize that this is mostly a GF diet. A lot of what I make for meals is utilizing items like rice flour, corn meal, etc that are substitutes for everyday scratch items like bread crumbs and AP flour. As of December 27th 2009, we are at a $300 every two weeks budget. I'd like to cut that by $25 a week for the first goal and then further reduce it to help us save more money.

    I will also be keeping track of the cost of the items needed to make these lunches a possibility. Please remember that the cost of living here is higher, thus the higher prices on the items.

  2. #2
    Moderator aka AmyBob AmyBoz's Avatar
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    Good for you! We save so much money by having everyone (dh and I included) bring our lunches from home. I look forward to reading your thread and following your progress!

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    Moderator mauimagic's Avatar
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    Sounds like a great plan to me!! Looking forward to reading your posts and learning something new too!! Mahalo!!
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    While our daughter was visiting for Christmas, she pulled a basket out of the freezer and asked what all those tiny containers and "blobs" stacked in FoodSaver bags were? They were lunches (hubby takes his lunch, but I also use them for lunch at home).

    There are frozen cubes of bbq beef, ground roast beef or ground chicken for sandwich meat (add relish and mayo), Sloppy Joe for one, bbq hamburgers or bean burgers (always homemade multi-grain burger buns in the freezer), 1-cup amounts of homemade soup.

    He takes a small potato and a 1/2 c. portion of chili (from the freezer) and bakes the potato in the microwave, heats the chili and tops the potato with it. He also uses the chili as a topping for a Wendy's-like taco salad.

    There are small portions of leftover Mexican Rice. He tops it with some spicy shredded chicken (also in single-serving amounts in the freezer). Or he rolls the spicy shredded chicken in a tortilla and zaps that, then adds lettuce and a little shredded cheese, tomato, salsa. There is also taco meat made from ground beef, and he makes it into several kinds of things (hard taco shell or flour tortillas...)

    I make several cans of tuna into tuna patties and stack them in the freezer. They go well with mac and cheese or some rice side dishes.

    Homemade dinner rolls are converted into Ham Buns.

    My favorite no-cook lunch is a small portion of almonds, a chunk of good cheese, stalk of celery, and an apple.

    Our problem comes from all those choices...

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    Registered User Debbie-cat's Avatar
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    You are really prepared Grainlady with lunches! I am going to have to try doing some of the same.

    Good luck MomToTwoBoys! I will follow along with your progress and steal some ideas from you.
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  6. #6
    Registered User MomToTwoBoys's Avatar
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    Those are some awesome lunch ideas.

    We run into issues with DS11 because of his texture issues and vegetables. His taste buds are extremely sensitive, so even if I sauteed the onions in butter and salt to mask the odor, he still knows it is there and won't touch it.

    I've tried him with homemade baked mac n cheese that's gluten free, but he doesn't really care for it. I did get him to eat a new gluten free lasanga I made (and I snuck onions in with some of the bites) but he saw me put the onions in it and refused to eat it at first). The next time I make the lasanga, I'll omit the onions.

    It'd be a lot easier to get him to eat lunches with veggies in them if it wasn't for this issue in particular.

    Quote Originally Posted by Grainlady View Post
    While our daughter was visiting for Christmas, she pulled a basket out of the freezer and asked what all those tiny containers and "blobs" stacked in FoodSaver bags were? They were lunches (hubby takes his lunch, but I also use them for lunch at home).

    There are frozen cubes of bbq beef, ground roast beef or ground chicken for sandwich meat (add relish and mayo), Sloppy Joe for one, bbq hamburgers or bean burgers (always homemade multi-grain burger buns in the freezer), 1-cup amounts of homemade soup.

    He takes a small potato and a 1/2 c. portion of chili (from the freezer) and bakes the potato in the microwave, heats the chili and tops the potato with it. He also uses the chili as a topping for a Wendy's-like taco salad.

    There are small portions of leftover Mexican Rice. He tops it with some spicy shredded chicken (also in single-serving amounts in the freezer). Or he rolls the spicy shredded chicken in a tortilla and zaps that, then adds lettuce and a little shredded cheese, tomato, salsa. There is also taco meat made from ground beef, and he makes it into several kinds of things (hard taco shell or flour tortillas...)

    I make several cans of tuna into tuna patties and stack them in the freezer. They go well with mac and cheese or some rice side dishes.

    Homemade dinner rolls are converted into Ham Buns.

    My favorite no-cook lunch is a small portion of almonds, a chunk of good cheese, stalk of celery, and an apple.

    Our problem comes from all those choices...

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    Registered User kettel6's Avatar
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    I really need to watch my spending this year and packing my lunch is a big help. I have already bought some small containers and several are in the freezer with soups, etc. I'm single so I usually fix a large amount of whatever I'm in the mood for and eat on that for a few days and freeze leftovers. I will also be student teaching this spring and starting at least one, possibly two, part-time jobs so having something already prepared to grab and go with be a major benefit and hopefully keep me away from the fastfood drive-thru.

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    Registered User rowdy35's Avatar
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    i have been packing lunches for years. i try and keep it simple though without too much nuking because it can be a hassle to use the microwave at work.

    it really comes down to being organized and having some type of plan.

    if the child doesn't like certain textures then i would definitely go with things he does like and try to figure out what works for him. if you are home during the day, you will save a lot of money cooking from scratch and eating bologna sandwiches rather than the microwave meals. (even on sale they are expensive) good luck and i am sure you can save some serious money or groceries if you really map it out and figure out what types of meals you can cook that work for your family and replace the convenience foods with them.

    i try and stock the freezer with packs of meat that I can put in the crockpot in the morning so dinner is ready when I get home from work. i also make my own bread but we are not on a GF diet so i'm not sure how that works. anyway, there are always ways to save you just have to really be organized i think.

    good luck to you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MomToTwoBoys View Post
    Those are some awesome lunch ideas.

    We run into issues with DS11 because of his texture issues and vegetables. His taste buds are extremely sensitive, so even if I sauteed the onions in butter and salt to mask the odor, he still knows it is there and won't touch it.

    I've tried him with homemade baked mac n cheese that's gluten free, but he doesn't really care for it. I did get him to eat a new gluten free lasanga I made (and I snuck onions in with some of the bites) but he saw me put the onions in it and refused to eat it at first). The next time I make the lasanga, I'll omit the onions.

    It'd be a lot easier to get him to eat lunches with veggies in them if it wasn't for this issue in particular.
    I'm sensitive to sulfur, which is a key compound in onions (and garlic), and I wonder if your son has a similar sensitivity. I find I can use chives (I grow them in a flower pot inside in the winter and outside the rest of the year) or dried onions much easier than raw onions (although I dearly love raw onions).

    You might give liquid onion seasoning a try.
    http://www.durkee.com/homeuse/101-on...ing-liquid.php

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    Registered User MomToTwoBoys's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grainlady View Post
    I'm sensitive to sulfur, which is a key compound in onions (and garlic), and I wonder if your son has a similar sensitivity. I find I can use chives (I grow them in a flower pot inside in the winter and outside the rest of the year) or dried onions much easier than raw onions (although I dearly love raw onions).

    You might give liquid onion seasoning a try.
    http://www.durkee.com/homeuse/101-on...ing-liquid.php
    I have lots of dried onions. I might toss them in and see if he notices a difference. I usually eat minced dried onion on food because I also can't stomach chopped onions. Perhaps with them being dehydrated, it might work.

  11. #11
    Registered User MomToTwoBoys's Avatar
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    I've been doing some soul searching as far as keeping the lunch menu both frugal and gluten free, and I think I've come to the following conclusion:

    Expensive lunches are out!

    I think leftovers and things like scrambled eggs, oatmeal, apples, etc are the options that we have if we want to keep the gluten free diet within our financial means. DS11 loves oatmeal and eggs, plus he's extremely keen on leftover, so we're going with that.

    The following list is the list of items that will be served as lunches for all of us. I got tired of trying to come up with a separate list of lunches for DH, the kids and I:

    Scrambled eggs and turkey bacon
    Oatmeal (for DS6 and 11)/Ramen noodles (for DH and I)
    Lasanga
    White rice spaghetti with pasta sauce (I like to melt havarti cheese on mine, which I buy in the club pack but it's about $9 per club pack and lasts me two weeks... so I'll have to re-evaluate that cost)
    Baked macaroni and cheese (this uses brown rice macaroni, rice flour, butter, milk, salt, pepper and cheddar cheese - I can get the cheddar cheese for about $9 per block and it's a 2lb block, so it'd be $4.50 per batch and one batch feeds DH and I twice... so it's $2.25 for two people each time)
    Pancakes and eggs (I can get a package of GF pancake batter for about $6 and it makes three batches of pancakes, then make us separate pancakes with mix that's about $1.99 at the most expensive times)

    That's three weeks worth of lunches for us all. I can rotate that list every three weeks and we won't get bored of eating it.

    As for me, I have a list of items that I'd be perfectly happy with eating:

    Bologna and cheese sandwich
    Cheese tortellini with mushrooms and onions soup (this is sooo good - I add sriracha hot sauce and sour creme to it as my special treat)
    Rice vermicelli (soaked in water and then sauteed - it's great by itself, but I like to add in some spaghetti sauce on top of it)
    Baked macaroni and cheese (I never ever get tired of it... never.)

    The tortellini and the mac n cheese are also convertible into lunch leftovers, so I can make it that day and then reheat it the next day. I'm picking three of the four meals for my lunches (the bologna and cheese sandwiches, rice vermicelli with sauce and either the mac n cheese or the tortellini) for my weekly lunch menu.

    We're not keeping more than two loaves of bread in the house per week. The bread is for both me and DS6 because he takes sandwiches to school for his lunch, plus DS11 (who the diet is made for) eats lunch at school anyways. DH eats the leftovers. We cleaned out at least one freezer and will clean out the other one to cleanse the house of any glutenous bread products. I will also be eating anything else that's in the freezer that cannot be eaten by DS11 (like the bag of perogies, leftover bags of french fries, hot dogs, etc.) until the freezers are all purged of items that I'd bought before but couldn't prepare for the entire family.

    So there's the list. I'll be breaking down each dish and putting the cost in the post as a way to help me keep track of how much I'm spending to make lunch a reality for us without going into a frugal meltdown.

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    MomToTwoBoys -

    I recently ran across this web site that might help you out for some new ideas....

    http://www.greenbeltmd.gov/seniors/E...Book%20_2_.pdf

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    Registered User MomToTwoBoys's Avatar
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    I got my crockpot gluten free recipes book today and I am just over the moon about it!

    I glanced at quite a few pages of it and it has tons and tons of recipes that I really want to make. It even has a take-out section.

    The book is called Make It Fast, Cook It Slow if anyone is interested in it.

    I'm going to go through the recipes and make a list of what DS11 will eat and what I can make for lunches. I am just elated.

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    Registered User MomToTwoBoys's Avatar
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    So we tried some new meals over the last two weeks, and the kids really didn't seem to care for them too much. I think a lot of it was that they were meals DH and I liked, but the kids didn't care for because they were new.

    We're gonna try some new recipes that are more kid-friendly and don't scare them off with new ingredients (like ground cloves, ground ginger, etc.).

    I'm combing through my crockpot cookbook again for more recipes today and I'll see how much of an impact this change in meals has on both our paletes and our wallets.

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