Add healthy, subtract stress from lunch prep - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Add healthy, subtract stress from lunch prep

Posted: Updated:

KENNEWICK, WA - We've all been there: running late for work and not having time to pack food, so when lunchtime comes around you find yourself in line for fast food or shelling out more than you'd like for something healthy.

But as reporter Mackenzie Allen learned, with just a little bit of planning the night before, you could end up saving your waistline and wallet a whole lot.

A wife and mother of two young children, Hannah Ureno knows all about hectic mornings. But she knows it doesn't have to be that way, all thanks to a little repurposing of last night's dinner.

"You look at a leftover and think, 'ugh, that's not what I really want to eat,' but if you reinvent it, then it makes it good again," Ureno said. "We had leftover tenderloin, so in this case for him we're doing sandwiches. I like to keep whole wheat bread in the house. It's a tenderloin, quality meat, I know he's getting a more balanced lunch when I'm serving it to him this way rather than saying, 'hey, McDonalds is right up the street why don't you go there.' It's not worth it."

By planning ahead, keeping things simple, and knowing how she's going to reinvent leftovers, she doesn't waste money on ingredients she'll likely never use again.

"Are you a person that can meal plan and buy special ingredients and get a bunch more recipes to go with those ingredients...or are they going to just sit in your pantry for the next six years and be thrown away when you do your house cleaning?" asked Ureno.

And rather than wait for the morning, she does all her meal prep the night before.

"I do this directly right after we make dinner, sometimes before I sit down to eat because it's all out and it's really fast."

Another trick?

Encouraging her children to try new foods so she can serve the same thing to both her kids and her husband.

All in all, Ureno estimates the few small changes save her family hundreds of extra calories each week, and save her both time and money.