Tight Wad in Utah: Quick Healthy Lunches

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Quick Healthy Lunches

One thing I've been doing for ages, but more regularly now, is make lots of sandwiches at once and then freeze them for easy grab and go lunches.  When I was a school teacher this was critical for those days when I didn't have a lot of time in the morning.  Now that I'm taking care of my husband, I like to have all the components of a quick and healthy lunch ready so that he or I can throw it together before he heads out the door.  I used to do this when my loaf of bread was getting old.  Now I make my own bread and keep loaves in the freezer since, let's face it, the 50 pound tubs of whole wheat are a super cheap food storage and what good is the food storage if it's not used?

So every Tuesday I check the supply of frozen sandwiches, carrot sticks, apples, and if he's lucky, frozen blobs of cookie dough.  If I'm out, I make more or put the item on my shopping list.  I also check my supply of bread and if I'm out I make more - usually I only have to do one or the other.

This may be the time and money saving tip most of my friends have asked about and even adopted themselves.  I lay out all my bread in twos to know how many sandwiches I can make.

Then I take out my peanut butter and my choice of jellies - lately I've been using up my failed apricot freezer jam (too syrupy) - and scoop out the amount I think I'll need.

I mix it all together.  I think this helps the jelly from making your bread soggy, plus when the jelly is too syrupy it helps it from oozing out.

I slop the mixture on half the pieces of bread and then close them up.  Sometimes I have extra mixture, but I don't mind eating that straight - the bowl needs to be licked anyway - or I try to just divide it out evenly.

I wrap them all up individually in plastic wrap (cheaper than Ziplocs and I can get a monster roll at Costco that lasts FOREVER) and then bag them, either in the bread bag the loaf came in, or the Ziploc I had my bread in when it was in the freezer.  By the way, I reuse Ziplocs all the time, since usually I have things portioned in plastic wrap inside the Ziploc anyway.  I usually get enough sandwiches to get me through another week or two and I feel best when I get ahead of myself anyway.  Like savings in the bank, I've got sandwiches in the freezer.  So handy!

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Dan & Nicole Saldivar said...

This is a great idea because my biggest problem is that I forget to make lunch at night and I run out of time in the morning. My only it dry from being in the freezer? And do you usually take them out of the freezer the night before or the same day you plan to eat it?

Anonymous said...

Have you ever done this with lunch meat sandwiches? Are they soggy or fresh the next day?

plainoldsarah said...

Oh such good questions! I totally meant to address them in the post and then forgot - so thank you for asking.
1) They aren't dry - at least not noticeably, and I've left them in the freezer for a couple months - remember they're in plastic wrap and then in a large gallon sized freezer ziploc. I take it out in the morning (frozen) and by lunch it's thawed. My husband puts his lunch in the fridge and its thawed by the time he eats it - maybe 5 hours? I used to just put my sandwich in a lunch box (the kind they sell everywhere) and by lunch it was thawed just fine.
2) Meat sandwiches work fine - at least for me they did. I think it may be trickier with the thawing process, you know to get the timing right, so you may want to put it in the fridge the night before and then just keep your lunch in the fridge all day - or do like I used to do and put the frozen meat sandwich in my lunch box and allow it to thaw during the day. If I occasionally hit an ice spot it didn't bother me. I did it with egg salad sandwiches too, although I've heard egg doesn't freeze - maybe the mayonnaise froze and that was good enough - I don't know but I loved them. It's hard to add extra toppings like lettuce to a frozen sandwich - if that matters to you. For a long time I would use hummus for my spread (saving on calories and fat) instead of mayonnaise and then a few deli slices of meat and that was a great sandwich by my standards.

Try it! See what you think. Your lunch schedule and where you store your lunch can make a difference. My husband prefers PB&J and it's cheap and I don't have to worry about it getting too warm so it makes us happy.

Kellie said...

I am wondering what your bread recipe is? I have a whole bunch of wheat, and I need some good recipes to use.

plainoldsarah said...

I use one I got from my sister. It makes three loaves - so it's a little weird for some people who just want one loaf. Also, you need a good sized bread mixer. I'll have to write a post about it soon.