With everyone needing healthy lunch idea inspiration this time of year, I’m glad to partner with Hillshire Farm® on this post with great ideas for winning at meal time
Ideas for quick and easy lunches

I’ll never forget the crazy statement by my mom’s acquaintance when she found out my sister-in-love and I homeschooled our kids. Her first reaction was,”Well, I can see why she (my sister in law) would because can you imagine having to make lunches every day for ten children?”

I remember thinking, “Really? Her first thought was that she home schools because she doesn’t want to pack a lunch, but she’d rather teach them all day (and yet still have to make lunch)?”

It’s funny scenarios like that which has always made me chuckle when it comes to our choice to homeschool, but when we put one of our sons in public high school his junior year, that single comment came rushing back.

Packing a lunch, especially a healthy one, requires commitment, so when we got a letter that the entire school district would receive free lunches this year, I’m pretty sure I pulled out an 8th grade cheer jump and celebrated in ways my muscles hadn’t known for years.

Bringing the restaurant home

But soon, the lunch conversation after school consisted of, “So what did you have for lunch?”

“Chocolate milk and a pop tart.”

“That’s it? You can’t eat just that. You need some protein in that body.” (Our #3 son could easily gain 20 pounds and still need to gain more. He has one of those metabolisms that just can’t gain a pound.)

“Mom, you don’t understand. You should see what they serve.”

Without going into those details, I realized that while I was celebrating the lunch vacation, I needed to get over my holiday mentality and up my game in that area.

If there’s one thing I know about myself, whether I am making a school lunch to go, for work or even those days at home when I’m trying to get a meal on the table, I needed to go back to the #1 meal making tip that revolutionized my dinner time and now apply it to lunch.

Set aside just 30 minutes on Sunday night to prep ahead and set yourself up for a week of healthy lunch ideas.

Wash the veggies and fruit, separate snacks, stock up on healthy lunch meats,  bake oatmeal banana muffins and turkey/ham/egg puffs in bulk. With a few minutes of concentrated time, we can conquer this.

Let’s make this an amazing way to start up a new and successful routine, eat healthier, and save a ton of money (especially for those of us who eat out at lunch).

Come one! Let’s WIN at this thing!! (Que giving myself the necessary pep talk.)

Healthy Prep Ahead inspiration ideas

My inspiring friend, Kasey, got me excited new with her Sunday night routine of dividing up their lunches into containers for quick grab and go snacks/meals. I’m working on an entire post for 20 quick and easy lunch ideas, so I’ll share this routine then, but for our family, my guys need a lot of protein and it’s been a challenge to get enough in them day to day.

I get asked QUITE often how I did it (since our #2 son is now a Division 1, 295 pound Offensive Lineman) and aside from the jar of peanut butter he carried in his backpack for a year, I do have some tricks I’ve learned along the way. One is that our family has enjoyed a TON of Hillshire Farm® Naturals Lunch Meat. (Grab a $1 off coupon here.)

My favorite go to lunch meat is Hillshire Farm Naturals

Five years ago, I had the opportunity to travel to Hillshire Farms headquarters as part of their Most Wanted Sandwich Competition (which I ended up winning). I can’t tell you how much that experience impacted our family, how blessed I was by what an upstanding company they were are and how all five our kids hands down pick Hillshire Farms lunch meat as their favorite (even when it’s not on sale ;)).

When my daughters and I did our No Carb, No Sugar Detox, our 16 year old, who influenced our 12 year old, would ONLY eat Hillshire Farm® Naturals since it contains no artificial ingredients, preservatives, colors or added nitrites/nitrates except those occurring naturally.

Mason Jar Salads are the perfect healthy lunch idea
Mason Jar Salads have been a perfect way to get our greens in regularly. Why do salads always taste better at a restaurant?

It’s because someone else makes them and adds lots of great stuff to it, right? So I’ve started bringing restaurant style salads home since it’s so simple to make up many at one time. Even my teen boys love the chef salads with lots of ham and turkey.
Don't forget to give notes of encouragement in every lunch

We’ve been snowed in the last week and so one day, I brought the “restaurant sandwich” home. I took this sandwich picture and sent it to our two eldest sons away at college reminding them of the comforts of home they were missing. (No, I don’t play nice. ;))

Turkey, ham, carmelized onion sandwich

Soon, I got a text from my high school senior who was sitting in his bunk bed upstairs.
Boys will be boys
I had to chuckle and yes, I still have one picky tomato eater left. 🙂 I served him his Gourmet Turkey, Ham and Pepper Jack Delight anyhow…lunch in bed?

(They weren’t happy when I pulled out my camera unexpectedly.)

Quick and Easy Ideas for Lunch

Gourmet Sandwich for lunch

This is a favorite sandwich in our home. This can be a hot or cold sandwich, but it’s always better hot. For lunch today, I heated it all up, then wrapped it in tin foil, so it will still be warm at noon.

I’m so excited that the  Hillshire Farm® Naturals are available at Food Lion® now because it’s the closest big grocer to us and with country living, that’s important! 🙂

Better yet, you can Save $1.00 on 1 Hillshire Farm® Lunch Meat Item at any Food Lion location. Print these off now because offer expires on 02/06/16.

I’m excited to prioritize lunch time once again and hope you’ll join me.

What are some of your healthy lunch ideas? I’d love to include them in my next meal post. We can encourage each other on the journey.
Hillshire farm Naturals at Food Lion

Hillshire Farm® Naturals are available at Food Lion®!
Save $1.00 on 1 Hillshire Farm® Meat Item at any Food Lion location, offer expires on 02/06/16

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Hillshire Farm®. The opinions and text are all mine.