"Your husband isn't 5 years old. He can make his own lunch. You have a million other things to do." I've heard comments like these from my friends when I share that I meal prep my husband's lunches for the week, and my response is, I know, but I enjoy it. I've been meal prepping his lunches for over a year, and there are actually several reasons I take a half hour every Sunday to prep his lunches.
Reason 1: I Make My Kids' Lunches
My kids are young, and really haven't learned to make their own lunches yet, and because I'm obsessed with all the adorable multicompartment containers available, I actually love packing their lunches. I'll always remember the lunches my mom packed for me in my Cabbage Patch Kids tin lunchbox (that I still have, BTW!), and the sweet notes she wrote on my banana that said, "Eat me!" Packing my kids' lunches is already on my to-do list, so why wouldn't I do the same for the hubs?
The majority of the time, his lunches are big salads made with kale and tons of veggies, with cooked whole grains, and a side of avocado. Although I eat plant-based, he eats meat, so he'll often grill up some chicken to add to the salad. But if he doesn't have time, I'll sauté some tofu or chickpeas, or cook up a Beyond Burger patty. In the Winter, I'll pack him hearty soups, curry with rice, or Buddha bowls made with roasted veggies.
Reason 2: It's a Simple Way to Show My Love
Continuing on from reason number one, making my family's lunches is one way I can show I care. Packing healthy foods they love, adding tiny containers of their favorite dressing and a small treat like a few chocolate-covered almonds, and including sweet little notes allows me to say I love you at noontime without being there with them. It lets them know I was thinking about them, and that kind of support can only bring a smile to their day, give them energy to be successful, and encourage them to be kind and caring, too. It takes under 30 minutes to do this one nice thing for my husband, and his appreciation is well worth the time and effort.
Reason 3: It Keeps Him Healthy
After I had been doing intermittent fasting for over six months, my husband decided to get on board and try it, too. He wanted to lose a few pounds to help relieve chronic back pain, to help him with skiing and mountain biking, and to feel more energetic. He does 16:8 intermittent fasting (IF), eating from noon until about 8 p.m., and told me, "I love having a healthy lunch to look forward to." It helps make fasting in the morning easier, and also ensures that he won't have to run to the gas station just to grab a processed, nutrient-poor meal.
He's lost weight with IF and has been able to maintain for over a year since I started making his lunches. I love knowing he's getting his fill of veggies, whole grains, healthy fats, and lean protein. I plan on living until I'm at least 100 years old, and this is one thing I can do now to help ensure that he'll be right there with me.
Reason 4: I Love Meal Prepping!
I know gender plays no role in our ability to help out with household chores. But to be honest, I hate mowing the lawn and my husband hates doing the laundry. So we do the chores we're more into, and for me, that means meal prep. The grocery store (specifically Trader Joe's) is one of my favorite places to go because I'm passionate about nutrition, cooking healthy meals, and nourishing myself and my family.
Meal prepping and food prepping on Sundays is actually one of my favorite things to do. Planning ahead ensures that I'll have lunches and week's dinners, which makes me feel less stressed and helps me stay nourished for my intense CrossFit workouts. Since I'm already in the kitchen chopping and cooking, it just makes sense to make his lunches too. Adding his five lunches into my routine is much easier and takes much less time than it would be for him to make his lunches every single night. We do our chores at the same time to get them done, then we can spend time together after.