Packing lunch (and breakfast) for school

I have to make a huge disclaimer here: I am almost embarrassed to post these photographs because my packed breakfast definitely does not look as good as it tastes. And the horrible flourescant lighting in my classroom definitely does not help. Neither does the fact that I was in a hurry to snap some pictures so that I could actually EAT before my students arrived.

I teach at my old high school. Yeah, I know, it’s pretty glamorous. I definitely never, ever pictured myself doing this when I was a high school student back in the 90s.

I teach digital photography. I’ve been doing it for seven years, three of which were spent teaching darkroom photography before we converted everything over to digital. In those seven years, we have moved out of one building into a temporary (new) school for two years while our school was smashed to bits. A brand new school was built on the original grounds and we all moved into the new building just over a year ago. It’s nice- we have state-of-the art equipment and everything is brand new. My classroom in an enormous PC lab, which is nice, but would be a lot nicer if it was full of Macs. Unfortunately our school system is anti-Mac.

So, being a teacher, you must be: a morning person, very prepared and always organized. I’ve learned to adapt all three of those qualities pretty well over the last seven years.

And for me, the biggest part of being prepared is making sure I have a delicious and healthy breakfast, lunch, and snacks available for me to eat each day. If I don’t, I either have to eat cafeteria food (barf) or not eat at all. I can’t run out and get something on my “break” (what’s a lunch break??) or order something to be delivered. Nope- I’ve got to pack my lunch, breakfast and snacks every evening for the next day. I keep some staples at work all the time and replenish as needed such as salt & pepper, tea/coffee, almond milk cartons, stone-ground mustard, salad dressing, stevia, cinnamon and a few emergency protein bars. I have a mini-fridge, toaster oven, microwave and mini-french press in my classroom.  My motto is that there is no excuse to ever have a sub-par meal. Having a great lunch to look forward to can make a crappy day just a little better. I am not one to ever just “grab something” without any thought to it. Most of my co-workers have a stack of Lean Cuisine frozen entrees for the week and just choose one to eat each day.

I’d rather die. 🙂

I will take the extra 15 minutes each night to prepare a delicious meal for the next day, no matter what. It’s always, always worth it.


My breakfast every day looks something like this:

We have a bowl of (a little less than 1 cup of) peanut flour sauce (peanut flour and almond milk) to last throughout the week, a container with toppings (Nature’s path Smart Bran and a walnut), and overnight oats with a dab of  sunflower butter and Fruits of the Forest jam (from Whole Foods) on top.

And then all mixed up and ready to eat (in front of the computer, while reading blogs, of course):

I got these handy BPA-free plastic containers from BB&B over the weekend to replace my old ones. They are very handy, but in my opinion, oatmeal just tastes better when it’s served in a pretty ceramic bowl. I might just have to keep a pretty bowl at work and transfer my oats in there when I’m ready to eat!

Because I took so long to just try to get a photo that was in focus this morning, I had to wolf this down in under 10 minutes. Not cool- I definitely like to take my time and enjoy each bite. I actually arrive at work about 25 minutes early (I have to be here at 7:15 and school starts at 7:30) so that I can sit in my classroom and quietly enjoy my breakfast and relax before it’s time to face the day. My commute is only about 20 minutes, so leaving at 6:30 isn’t so bad.

Lunch is standard, and at 11:40. I’m usually starving by then. I get 30 minutes for lunch (while my students go eat theirs), which really ends up being about 22 minutes, if I’m lucky. But, I make every moment count! This is pretty much what I eat for lunch every day, weekday or weekend (though my weekend lunch is MUCH later in the afternoon!). It typically consists of a huge lettuce salad with various veggies, some kind of healthy fat (avocado, goat cheese, nuts, etc.) and a source of protein. Today’s salad included a mix of romaine and mixed greens, red bell pepper, red onion, various heirloom tomatoes, cucumber, avocado, and black beans and  sprouted tofu (Caribbean flavor- whatever that means) for protein. I topped off with some flower pepper, balsamic vinegar and a touch of Seeds of Change balsamic vinaigrette dressing. Served with a TJ’s multi-grain sandwich thin on the side (toasted, of course).

I have to have a bite of something sweet after lunch, and today it was a ginger chew (I’m addicted to these!!):


After work I meet with my trainer, Ken for our weekly-torture session. I love/hate our Tuesday workouts so much- they are so hard, but make me feel so strong!


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