Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Back To School 2012: Making Meals Part 2

Reusable Snack Bags
I'm sorry I haven't had more posts on getting ready for the school year- I've just been so busy doing that there has been no time to post on it! We've gotten every one's bureaus or amoires sorted and cleared out so that we know what is needed and not. (Blessedly, hardly anything!) Yesterday we divided up the school supplies, labeled them and got them packed away in every one's backpack. Today I cooked up a large amount of ground beef and venison to freeze for future dinners. I have 3 quart sized bags labeled and filled with the meat so that next time I need a quick meal, I'm prepared!

Last time I wrote about dinner time and meal planning, shortcuts, etc. Today I'd like to share a bit about lunch time. On weekends and (admittedly) during the summer, lunch can be a "Gee, it's noon and everyone is hungry. What should we do?" sort of affair. We always have bread and peanut butter, sometimes cold cuts and left overs. But come the school week, I like to remember lunch so that A). my kids don't starve at school, and B) I don't have to shell out for them to buy a school lunch. Now, this does not mean I have some sort of elaborate meal plan for the kids' packed lunches, or even that they get fancy theme-type lunches like you see on Pinterest. But I like to have options for the "entree" and for the snacks.

For the "entree" or sandwich, peanut butter is usually a good choice. My boys like peanut butter, hold the jelly. (I have NO idea how they choke it down, but no one has needed the Heimlich so far!) My daughter likes peanut butter and Fluff (I know, not healthy, but it's not an everyday lunch choice.) Teddybear will take a salad or even what we call a wrap, which is just a flour tortilla with lettuce and some dressing, cheese and steak or chicken from leftovers. I try to have healthy options, and am very grateful for a cookbook I bought a few years ago called Disney's The Magic Kitchen Cook Book.
I was desperate when I bought this book! Teddybear would only take a salami sandwich to school. And I had (and still do!) another fussy eater with Wheels. I was hoping that their favorite movie characters would inspire them to try new foods. And it did. Teddybear couldn't wait to take a wrap to school! This was only one "recipe" that we have used with great success! For more ideas, pop on over to Pinterest and type in "lunch box ideas". They have some nice choices and ways to pack them. Some are cutesy, with shaped sandwiches, etc., but there are some very good ideas, too. (Not that gussying up your kiddos' sandwich from time to time is o.k., but really, who has time for the everyday?)

Now, if the thought of packing lunches every morning for the next 9 to 10 months doesn't appeal, here are some tips to make it easier.

  • Talk to your kids about what they would like for lunch. I know, seems silly, but they might have a great idea. This doesn't mean they are going to get what they want, but it's a starting point.
  • Have a cupboard, shelf, drawer or some other place devoted to just lunch box foods. I keep all of the "kids'" food in one cupboard, along with snack cups, plastic silverware (which we reuse, but is less heartbreaking if someone throws it out or forgets it!), etc.
  • Start the night before. I try to remember to have the kids bring their lunch boxes to the kitchen so I don't have to hunt them down the next morning. Then I get out the bread, crackers, fruit, and other non-perishable items and their packaging. When I get up in the morning I don't have to go all over the place to get what I need, just a trip to the fridge for anything that could spoil.
  • If you want to send carrot or celery sticks, cut them up all at once at the beginning of the week, then you aren't trying to get them done while fighting with your 6 year old to get their clothes on and teeth brushed!
  • Have the kids do as much as they can on their own! This isn't always a good option for us because Daddy is usually in the kitchen packing his lunch (I'm not allowed to. He says he doesn't get enough to eat when I pack his lunch!), so it's best if it's just Mama and Daddy in the kitchen. Do what is best for your family.
These are just a few ideas to get you going. I'd like to do a post soon with more specifics and maybe even pics of what we do exactly. Hope you have a marvelous day!

Many Blessings,
  • Just a note to let you know that I do not receive any compensation for any of the books I mention in my posts or featured on the side of the blog. I just like to share what I have enjoyed and think others might, too!

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