Thursday, February 07, 2013

Whatever It Takes

My Flash Gordon Lunchbox! One of many lunch supplies left over from when the girls were little. 

I seek variety and am easily bored when it comes to eating the same thing several days in a row. Knowing this I’ve had to trick myself into eating the same thing over the course of the week. Here are my quick tips on how to USE IT UP when it comes to food.

  1. Paraphernalia – I’m talking about lunchboxes, cloth napkins, itty-bitty salt shakers, straws, cool little containers and other such things that make having lunch (even leftovers) fun! I have a drawer full of the stuff and use it all! I could go crazy and buy some fun bento boxes or tiffins but I have enough and will enjoy what I’ve got!
  2. Clean and Pack - As I clean up after dinner I pack one or more lunches for the days that follow. This saves me having to pack lunch every evening or morning and from storing leftovers in containers to just later take them out later to pack it as a lunch. In my fridge are several packed lunch bags with everything  including a snack, drink and main lunch. I like the surprise factor of picking a bag and not really remembering what was in there. My need for variety is assisted by my terrible short term memory.
  3. Plan meals with leftovers and lunches in mind. This means that I may roast a chicken on Monday evening, have chicken salad for lunch Tuesday and then chicken enchiladas for dinner on Wednesday. There might be enough chicken salad to make a sandwich Tuesday and a little left for a snack with crackers on Thursday. I’m eating chicken day after day but it doesn’t feel like it.
  4. Small portions--having a bunch of little portions keeps leftovers interesting to me. This means that I need to keep on hand a bunch of snack items such as fruit, nuts, cheese, rolled up lunch meat. So a typical lunch may be one small portion of a leftover, a few blocks of cheese, a tangerine and a few graham crackers. 
  5. Freeze – yeah, I know it’s obvious but freezing meal sized portions makes it feel like variety when I eat it a few weeks later. Since I travel a lot for work it’s really important to have some dinners readily available for when I come in from out of town and am low on groceries.
  6. Soups, casseroles and quiches are wonderful strategies for transforming leftovers into totally different meals. I do this especially with roasted meats and vegetables, but also with mashed potatoes (making shepherd’s pie or croquettes) – kind of a repeat of #3 but worth a mention.
My goal is to buy the food I need and eat all the food I buy - while staying healthy and not overeating!

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