Pack individually-sized freezer meals for easy lunches to take to work.
My husband often takes a lunch to work. And usually I pack it. But depending on how crazy my days are, I don’t always pack a great lunch. But, it’s a small thing that I can do to make his day easier and help us save money overall.
Lately, the two of us have been giving our diets a closer look and realizing we needed to get a good dose of proportion and perspective when it comes to what we eat. We’ve been tracking our meals on Livestrong this week. It’s been an eye opener!
As I approached my freezer cooking session this week, I went in with the mind to create individual freezer meals to pack into hubby’s lunches. It was his idea, actually, that we stock an array of choices for lunch that he can pick from each morning. That makes it easier for both of us.
This week, I cooked up the following:
- individually-sized Chicken-Bacon Subs (I made them on kaiser rolls)
- Chicken and Onion Wraps (a type of frozen burrito)
- Texas Chili (similar to this one, without the beans)
- Grilled Chicken, sliced and packaged in 4-ounce portions
- Summer Vegetable Beef (recipe coming soon)
You could make meal-sized portions of any number of dishes. Consider one of these:
- Roasted Vegetable Soup
- Mini Pizzas
- Turkey and Black Bean Enchiladas
- Cheddar Cheese Soup
- Meatballs, Mashed Potatoes, and Gravy
When you pack up your lunchtime freezer meals, consider the following:
1. Package them in individual portions.
I used one-cup containers for the chili and stew. The sandwiches and wraps were wrapped individually and stored in one larger bag in the freezer.
2. Label carefully.
Be sure to write the name of the dish across the packaging clearly so that there’s no confusion, especially in the early morning hours. Add the date if you’re not sure how quickly they meals will be eaten up.
Since we’re counting calories (at least for the moment), I marked each package with the calorie count as well, though this step is clearly optional.
That’s all! Pretty easy way to pack lunches for work. I say “work” because my kids do school at home. So, hubby will be taking these lunches. Most of these recipes require a microwave for reheating. If your kids have access to a microwave at school, these would work just as well for school lunches.
These are great ideas. Thank you!! I can’t wait to make them. I always take a lunch to work and most of the time it is left overs, but if we don’t have left overs then usually he won’t make a lunch. We are looking to save money, eat healthier and save time when it comes to work lunches. These recipes and ideas are perfect.
I’ve made similar subs before, using ranch seasoned chicken. They are fantastic!
Can you share what kind of sandwich is in the picture and where the recipe might be? Thanks!
https://lifeasmom.com/freezer-cooking-with-bone-in-chicken-breast/ A big favorite at our house!
What a great idea! I was trying to double and triple my recipes for my husband to bring to work, but then I found out if we have more food in the pan, he will eat it, even if he’s full, haha. Can’t wait to try these, thanks!
@Kate, Kate, when I make double to have leftovers I pack the extra up and put them in the freezer before anyone gets near the food for dinner. This way the excess is not tempting to my husband (or me depending on the meal :)). I especially need to do this with meatballs or we end up eating way more than we should have eaten!
What do you put in your chicken & onion wraps? Just grilled chicken and raw onions? Cooked onions?
There’s lots of seasonings and cheeses mixed in with cooked onion and chicken. Wish the book was here already.
I guess I’ll just be patient then! 🙂
My fitness pal.com is also a good website to track meals. You can scan bar codes for on the spot calorie tracking!!! I am sure it is similar to Livestrong …but in case you end up looking for another option! I have lost 20lbs (yes, 20) since April when I started counting calories!
@Christine A, I noticed you were looking pretty svelte in your instagram pic! Great job!
Thanks for this great post. I’m starting to think about lunches for back-to-school. There isn’t a way to reheat food at school, so it limits taking most leftovers. Would love any further recommendations in this area! Also, if you know of any great thermos containers that don’t leak and work well, that would be helpful, too!
@Tiffani, A great thermos is the key…we bought a Thermos® 16 oz. Vacuum-Insulated Food Jar and so far it’s worked great…including soup…hot and no leaks
I usually make lunch-sized portions and freeze them for quick lunches. I like it because I do not have to pack a freezer pack and I just leave my lunch bag out of the fridge at work. Since I have to be at work at 6:00, it is well on its way to being thawed at noon and it only takes a minute or two in the microwave.
Love this idea! On the chicken bacon subs, did you bake them first then freeze them? I saw on the recipe that it says to wait to bake it until serving day, but that wouldn’t work if you were just wanting to grab it in the morning and eat it at lunch. Thanks!
I didn’t bake them, nor did I add cheese to them. I was counting on their reheating in the microwave, or baking them at home. You make a good point. I’m not sure if this will work. I guess we’ll see.
@Jessica, We just made these for the first time. I made some for now and some for later. The now ones we baked and the later ones we froze without baking. Everyone in the house loved them. Compared them to a restaurant sub we’ve bought. I love it that there are sandwiches in the freezer I can pull out if I need an “emergency meal” or someone can take for a lunch outside of the house. Thanks, Jessica. Another recipe that blesses this family : )
@Melissa, yeah! So glad to hear. Thanks!
I like to freeze left-overs in silicon muffin liners. I find that they are easy to pop out the frozen meals & store them in a large ziploc bag in the freezer. I prepare lunches the evening before, so I simply take-out what we need & put it into lunchboxes. Anything that needs thawing (i.e. meatballs & sauce) can easily be heated in the microwave in a small bowl or custard cup.
I, also, like to make individual serves of jello, yogurt, etc. in half-cup lidded containers. One box of jello makes 4 serves & it takes me only minutes to make up a dozen to have in the fridge. These are great for lunches or for a lighter dessert with fruit. A bit of prep before hand does make it easier (& cheaper) in the long run.
A few years back, I started making larger or double portions of most of our meals. As we clean up, instead of putting the leftovers in the frig, we started dividing them out in lunch size portions. We used masking tape on the container to write the date and menu item. We have saved so much money this way, and never waste leftovers. A more recent change is that we’ve started buying glass containers for anything that needs to be heated in the microwave.
Sounds like you’ve got a great workable plan!
I usually rely on leftovers for my husband to take to work. But lately we haven’t had leftovers for whatever reason so it’d be super helpful if I had some individually stored freezer meals.
@Steph, same thing here.