Top Tips for Managing School Lunches

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I have a confession… I don’t like back to school. Yes, by the end of summer the girls and I crave order and routine. But the first day of school brings the start of (insert dramatic music here) LUNCHES! Fear not, I still feed my children during the summer but there is an ease to summer lunches. School lunches only bring pressure and chaos.

I am very grateful that my kids are not picky eaters. Did I mention they don’t eat sandwiches? Oh and we have gluten, dairy and egg sensitivities! When the universe was handing out EASY LUNCH cards to parents, I pretty much got the opposite. While this may sound like a complaint it has forced me to be creative and think outside the LUNCH BOX. (LOL) Here is what I’ve learned…

INCLUDE YOUR LITTLES IN THE CONVERSATION

The girls and I sit down once a week and map out our meals for the week. They voice their opinions and preferences for both lunches and dinners. This helps build some essential skills and establishes healthy eating habits. Where it really helps me is when one of my beautiful daughters attempts to complain about Tuesday’s lunch, I simply refer back to the time when we all sat together and agreed on the meal plan.

PLAN. PLAN. PLAN.

As mentioned above, we sit down to plan the week’s meals. We download weekly specials through our rewards program – we use PC Points. We also use a great app called Flipp which we use for price matching. This gives me the opportunity to stick to a budget and teach the girls financial literacy. We map out our grocery list for the week too since “Moms’ Limo Service” starts up again and I won’t have the time to be running around for groceries more than once a week.

PLAN.PLAN.PLAN.I agree. This is a lot of planning. And yes, it can be daunting but it is a critical step and sets the stage for success. Once you get the hang of things you will find that you can easily rotate between two primary meal plans. We do find room to add new meals into the mix and with an organized plan this is much easier to do.

 

BATCH COOK.

This likely presents the biggest change for most families and will take the most getting used to. Be patient. It will work and make life so much less stressful. Especially on those mornings when you’ve missed your alarm or the kids won’t wake up or you were up late binge watching Netflix or simply when the thought of making lunches is unbearable. Trust me, I speak from experience and you will come out the other side.

In my family, we batch cook the following on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon:prepcook-September2017

  • Rice
  • Yams with onions
  • Quinoa
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Lentils
  • Cauliflower
  • Broccoli
  • Beets

The girls prep the following into storage containers for the week:

  • Carrots
  • Peppers
  • Cucumbers
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Hummus
  • Dip

I have honestly tried to cook the meats ahead of time but it just hasn’t worked well for our family. Typically, I cook extra meat with dinner the night before and use that instead. The exception is pasta sauce and meatballs.

By the time the dust settles, our fridge is full with storage containers filled with food that can be quickly and easily accessed during our morning routine for the week. As I said before, it can be a big adjustment but with patience and perseverance you can set yourself up for success and give your children the opportunity to see how a well thought out and executed plan benefits the entire hive.

Best of luck on your lunch-making adventures!

With gratitude,

Lindsey

 

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