On Pinterest: “BYOL” (Bring Your Own Lunch)

We’ve all carried a lunch box at least once in our lifetime. Maybe for some of us, though, the last time we likely got into the routine of bringing a lunch from home dated back to grade school.

Taking lunch to work for me has been hit-or-miss. Sometimes I remember, and other times my lunch ends up forgotten in the fridge or on the kitchen counter as I’m rushing out the door. Some of these ideas, though, just may inspire me to plan ahead to bring lunch more often.

See ideas for easy lunches to make, pack, and take to work curated from Pinterest.

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Meal Prep Week Challenge to Eat Better

Want to see more posts from Meal Prep Week? Search for #MealPrepWeek or see a recap of all of the posts here.

For the past 8 years, the passing of the Labor Day weekend was a sign that the start of the fall semester was just a few days away. It was time to order my books, get my things together, and get back into the swing of commuting to class a few nights each week. Since I always made it home late on school nights, close to midnight at times, the start of school, unfortunately, also marked the start of eating poorly again.

Packing snacks from home was easy and something I’d aim to do (I’d try to keep granola bars and non-perishable things in my car), but packing dinner wasn’t usually worth the effort. It was a challenge to keep it cold in a lunch box on my drive there, then find a place to heat it up before class. As a result, I’d often stop for take-out and have a “car picnic” or eat at a restaurant, just to make things easy.

Fortunately, I graduated with my MBA in May and can finally have more time to myself, without worrying about papers to write or classes to attend after work. Feeling rushed during the weeknight to come home and make dinner at a reasonable hour? That challenge won’t be going away any time soon, though.

In challenging myself and my family to eat healthier, this week I’m dedicating posts to meal prepping and quick meals that can be made ahead to make weeknight dinners a little easier.

Got a suggestion for something you’d like to see featured? I’d love to hear from you! Feel free to drop me a line or leave a comment below. 

Posts Featured This Week:

A Feast Inspired by the 50 States

Summer is admittedly not my favorite season, but I’m sure everyone who knows me has realized that by now. I’ve complained enough about the heat and humidity, sunburn (thanks a lot, fair skin and a desk job, for making the sun an enemy), allergies, and bees enough in my time to prove that point to anyone.

As with everything, though, there are trade-offs. The end of summer will mean that local, fresh produce will start to trickle away and outdoors farmers markets will close for the season. It’s still possible to eat seasonally in the fall and winter, but to buy outside of a conventional grocery store, options are limited to hearty greens and root vegetables.

And as much as I love kale and rainbow Swiss chard, it’s hard to beat a good Caprese salad. The taste of slightly acidic, fresh heirloom tomatoes nestled together with buratta or mozzarella cheese, drizzled with good olive oil and balsamic, some salt and fresh pepper, and fresh basil… that is pure bliss.

My undying love for Caprese aside, it’s true: I can’t wait for the end of summer so my favorite season, fall, can begin. Before that happens, though, many of us will likely be spending our Labor Day weekend hosting or attending one last party of the season. If you’re looking for ideas for what to serve and are getting tired of hamburgers and hot dogs by now, try a themed menu of favorite foods from across America.

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On Pinterest: Stars and Stripes

If you took a day off from work today (like me) to get a jump-start on your holiday weekend plans, then I hope you’re not battling too much traffic right now to get where you need to be. Better yet, maybe you’ve already arrived or opted to skip the crowds and stay home, and with a drink in hand are currently catching up on a good book or TV series. Either way, I hope you enjoy. 🙂

I certainly hope to have a relaxing extended weekend, myself. My plans for the actual holiday will likely include throwing something on the grill and kicking back with a few cocktails, but tomorrow I’m looking forward to a day in the city with my mom. We have tickets for a matinee performance of Jersey Boys and are planning to go for dinner after the show. (P.S., if you have any suggestions for me on where to eat in NYC, I’d love some new ideas. Let me know in a comment or DM me on Twitter @fromannakitchen.)

If you’re planning a big bash to celebrate the holiday, check out these red, white, and blue food and entertaining ideas curated from Pinterest and have a safe and happy holiday weekend!

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