By Wanda Bingaman
Happy Fall y’all!! Right??? School has been in session for about a month, we’ve had a hurricane come ashore, football games are being played in earnest, and we experienced three days with really nice, cool, where it didn’t feel like we were on the surface of the sun weather- it MUST be fall!!! Sigh. Just kidding- the calendar and my Weather Channel app says summer is still here for a bit longer. Bummer. But, you know- Pumpkin Spice Lattes over ice are quite enjoyable!
Best thing so far about school this year for me? Lunch Bunch hands down! Lunch bunch is the BEST idea EVER!!
What is this miraculous thing?!?!
The premises- there is a group of us (nine this year) that takes turns making lunch for the rest of the group. The only rule, the meal needs to be under 400 calories or really, really close to it! Since there are so many of us, we end up making lunch three out of the four weeks each month- score!!! Do you know how nice it is to show up at work and be handed a lunch? HEAVEN!! Do you know how amazing it is to only make lunch 3 days a month??
I know you are asking yourself- what happens if you don’t like something? Well, I am the pickiest person in the bunch- no fruit or avocado. Yes, I don’t know what’s wrong with me. Yes, I do know know what I’m missing. I have tried all kinds of new foods I never would have tried without the wonderful cooks of lunch bunch. Quinoa (hot and cold), cauliflower mashed and riced, sweet potatoes riced (who knew that was even a thing??) just to name a few!
Now some of you are probably hung up on the whole 400 calorie thing. I have to admit, at first that was a bit daunting. How was I going to figure that out? Well, thanks to the power of the mighty internet- turns out, that’s the easy part! Pinterest is amazing and the app My Fitness Pal is a wonderful resource to find calories out. I also use a scale on occasion to weigh out food. And measuring out food is important.
When I joined, I told them I was not a cook. I mean I cook- every single night (WHY does my family want to eat EVERY single night?!?!?) My kids are fed and eat well- not that you can tell since both are considered extremely underweight. Sigh, oh to have a metabolism again! I tell my boys that they will tell their future wives and kids that “grandma” was not a great cook, but everything was edible. I am a firm believer in the meat and potatoes diet- my guys don’t complain. I am a one trick pony for lunch bunch- there will be some kind of chicken, veggies, and a starch- jasmine rice or potatoes. Thankfully, people seem to enjoy it. I have my “fake Hibachi” meal- oven roasted chicken, oven roasted veggies (a mixture of squash, zucchini, red onion, and red peppers), and jasmine rice. My “grilled” meal- grilled chicken, oven roasted potatoes, parmesan crusted baked squash, and a choice of sauce for the chicken. Lastly, I do a chicken fajita salad- peppers, onions, and chicken- all with fajita seasoning, lettuce, cheese and salsa. All these meals come in right under 400 calories. I have found a little seasoning makes a world of difference. As do using fresh veggies- two out of 3 of my guys will not eat my lunch bunch veggie leftovers- my youngest goes to town on them!!
Find yourself a group- at work or maybe just in your neighborhood- meal plan and prep, then share- boom- you have yourself a Lunch Bunch and are as happy as I am!!