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I try my hardest to make as many meals as I can that my police officer can take to work with him. IT. IS. NOT. EASY. He tires easily of sandwiches, salads aren’t “enough”, and he often can’t eat his meal in one setting if he has to go to a call. I got tired of opening his lunch box at the end of a shift and STILL SEEING IT FULL. So I had to change it up a bit and my girls LOVE to get involved in packing daddy’s lunch! I also encourage him to make his own lunch from time to time because I run out of time and hands on some days. 😉
Let me just say, I don’t succeed everyday at sending my hubby off with a delicious, healthy meal. Life gets in the way. However, I certainly try. I try because I don’t want to spend an arm and leg every week on him eating out. I also want him to be healthy but have a full stomach. With this line of work, it is important for our officer’s to stay healthy. I want him to eat a nutritious, yet good tasting lunch each day. Over the years I have learned a few helpful tips just by trial and error.
Here is how you can MEAL PREP for your law enforcement officer:
Meal Plan: Meal planning for the whole week is a huge time/money saver. I know exactly what I am making for dinner for the week and what I am sending him off with (unless he prefers something different, of course). I normally do my shopping on a day that he is off for a week in advance. We recently started buying meats from our local butcher. Believe it or not, it runs about 10 bucks cheaper than the supermarket, it is local meat, and mostly organic. Not to mention delicious. I will buy a large, whole chicken and cook it on Sunday. We use that chicken for meals throughout the week, like chicken rice bowls or chicken salad. Or use the only law enforcement meal planning system that I made.
Meal Planning/Food Delivery Service: My family recently started using Once a Month Meals. It is an amazing meal planning service that allows you to plan meals a month in advance. You can choose from a variety of menus that fit your family best, swap meals if needed, then they give you a shopping list and tell you exactly how to prepare each meal in advance so you can freeze it and use it when you are ready! This is a homerun for law enforcement families! I love this service because it is low cost, it saves me money in the grocery store because I am not buying unnecessary food items, it helps me meal plan and it gives our family great menu items that are not normally in our rotation! I love that I can just pull out a meal when my husband is working and have it ready in no time- the stress of dinner is gone! The same goes for my husband. When he gets off shift he just pulls out a pre-prepared meal and his dinner is done, no junk food late at night or fast food on the way home! I seriously love Once a Month Meals!
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Packing food in advance: I start to pack hubby’s lunch about an hour before he leaves, if the girls and I are home. I leave so much time because I have 2 extra sets of hands that like to do most of the work for me. You can also prepare meals the night or day before. If my husband is having sandwiches then I find they get soggy, so I wait until the morning of. Being prepared and packing food in advance cuts out wanting to go through a drive-thru. It also leaves time to prepare more healthful meals.
Use kitchen appliances: Small kitchen appliances like the Crockpot or Instant Pot are extremely helpful and time-saving. Most often, I make a crockpot meal in the morning then it’s ready by the time he is ready to leave. Dinner is done for everyone! We make sure to pack an EXTRA LARGE ice pack because his food could be packed for HOURS before he actually gets to eat. You have to take the extra help where you can get it. This is one way to get meal planning done!
Snacks: While I do pack a “dinner-like” meal, I also pack a lot of snacks! He is gone at least 12 hours at a time, so hearty snacks are a must for my law enforcement officer. Some healthy snack ideas are: carrot sticks, yogurt, cheese sticks, apples and oranges, [easyazon_link identifier=”B007NMDY38″ locale=”US” tag=”proudpolice09-20″]LĒABAR 16-Flavor Variety (Pack of 16)[/easyazon_link] (Larabars) or other fruit and nut bars, nuts like almonds or pistachios, yogurt parfaits, just to name a few.
Meal prep can really save time, money and stress. It helps me to stay organized, which is needed when your officer works those long shifts and you are in charge of the household. Put your energy elsewhere and plan ahead. Also, be sure to pack enough food to last a super long shift. The last thing you want is for your hubby to get hungry at the end of his shift and grab food on the ride home! I know the trickiest part is finding meals that can last in your husband’s lunchbox and/or where he can reheat them. When you find the perfect solution for that, let me know! I am still searching! 😉
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