By: Guest Blogger, Allison Morgan
I have a new thing that I’ve started doing with some friends of mine. Each week, we make a recipe that is healthy-ish, and then we trade among ourselves, so we get anywhere between 2-4 different lunches for the week, and we only had to make one meal! Doing it this way allows me to not feel guilty for making meals that are mommy-meals. Rather than going the easy route and grabbing some of the snack items that go in my kids’ lunches, I am actively choosing to eat more adult and (usually) more healthy.
The rules of the trade are pretty simple: make a healthy-ish meal, make at least four servings, and provide it in a container that you’re OK if it never makes its way back to you.
We are not very strict on how healthy the meal has to be. It basically means that your lunch has to have a protein (to fill you up), and some combination of veggies and starches. We love making chicken bowls for example – chicken breast cooked on the grill, with quinoa, grilled veggies, a baked sweet potato, and an avocado.
Even though there are five work days in a week, most recipes are not made for five servings, so making it for four is just easier.
Finally, the container is actually a big sore spot for the group – so be sure to set expectations ahead of time on the containers to use for meal prepping. I do not recommend giving your favorite Tupperware container to the friend who always forgets to return things. Most of the time I provide the Tupperware and my friends put their recipe in it, and then they give me my Tupperware back.
You can do this with a group of friends in the area, or you can do this with your coworkers (such an easy trade as you are all eating lunch in the office anyways).
The other option instead of trading with others is to make two recipes for the week and freeze half of both recipes. For me, I can do left overs all day long, but I cannot reheat leftovers from the freezer. So I do the meal trading with coworkers/friends instead.
Since starting the meal trading, my budget has been VERY happy. Instead of spending $7 – $10 – $15 every day during the week buying lunch, I still buy almost the same amount of groceries, but now I’m actually eating the food I’m buying, which is crazy!
Good luck and happy meal planning!