OK, now prepared to be really astounded. Not only do we eat the same meal all week for our dinner, we actually have eaten the same EXACT meal for lunch 75-80% of ALL weekdays for the past several years (i.e. pre-kids and I think even pre-marriage, I remember us working on making these lunches in our own respective apartments and driving them over to each others' place!)
This is our lunch:
Grilled chicken salad: Chicken rubbed with G's special spice blend & cooked on the grill (we used to cook on a pan when we lived in an apartment, but this is WAY easier), romaine hearts chopped up and spun in the salad spinner, red bell peppers, shredded carrots or celery pieces, feta cheese (a more recent addition that we now cannot live without), cherry tomatoes (when in season, no gross winter tomatoes!), and chickpeas. The salads are pre-made on Sunday and put into those square ziplock plastic containers (yes they stay fresh until Friday). We put our dressing of choice in 2 oz tupperware containers directly in there too. There is a separate little container with crunchies as needed (croutons, toasted nuts).
Before we get groceries we run through our schedule and decide how many salads we want that week. The default is 4, so we have 1 day to eat something different. Some weeks we have lunch meetings or special occasions and we only take 3 salads. G makes the salads---he has it down to an exact science and the whole process takes less than an hour including the chicken prep.
I eat mine with Blue Cheese dressing. I also have 2 fruits to go with it
and some water. It is extremely filling volume-wise and the low-carb
nature keeps me from the post-lunch crash. This was actually why we
started eating this....G always got sleepy after his sandwich for lunch,
and we were also jumping on the low-carb bandwagon that was so popular
at the time.
If we travel or somehow can't make the lunches on the weekend, we just buy food all week and it sucks. There were occasional times when we've been tired of the salads & we alternate other meals (chunky curry chicken salad with bread; tofu/veggie stir fry with quinoa) but that hasn't happened in a couple of years. When I was pregnant with B I could not stand the thought of chicken or salad or anything other than white carbs so I ate white pasta salad---basically pasta with salad dressing and minimal veggies that I also couldn't stand the thought of). I've given the salads away when I haven't felt like eating them and all my friends think they are delish.
The boys also have a boring lunch routine. This is their 3 meal rotation---one meal per week, Monday-Thursday (on Friday they get pizza at school for $1 a slice).
Week 1: Veggie Hummus Sandwich---one cup peas (or other), one cup chickpeas, 1 T tahini, lemon & salt to taste. Spread on one slice of bread and fold/cut as needed.
Week 2: Veggie Chicken Salad---one poached chicken breast, 1 cup lima beans/peas or one avacado, mayo/yogurt, salt to taste all blended to smoothness. Spread on one slice bread.
Week 3: Pasta & Chicken---whole grain or veggie pasta with cubes of grilled chicken breast tossed with pasta sauce (tomato sauce +/- alfredo)
Other than the Friday pizza, we have to provide ALL meals/snacks so they each get about 6-7 containers of stuff every day. It is my job to make their lunches every evening. If I have time I do it before they all get home for the evening (after walking the dog, checking the mail, starting to heat up dinner). Otherwise I do it after they go to bed. Everything goes in take-and-toss containers such that our dishwasher top rack is ALWAYS full.
1: main lunch
2: veggie (steamed baby carrots, peas, green beans, edamame, broccoli---one veggie per week)--B eats his, L doesn't
3: fruit # 1 (banana, clementine, kiwi, grapes, strawberries, blueberries, mango, pomogranate, pear, apple, apricot, peach, plum, nectarine are all options depending on the season) most need to be peeled or cut.
4: fruit # 2
5: Fruit #3 for B, yogurt for L
6: cheese stick (whole for B, cut into tiny pieces for L)
7: snack (goldfish, pretzels, etc...)
We also throw fruit leather and Lara bars into their bag for emergency travel snacks (usually needed on the way home)
Next we'll talk about breakfast---and I'll need your advice because we're at a loss.