Wednesday, August 03, 2011

School Lunches - Easy as Ants on a Log

This great post got me thinking about school lunches.

A young mom will be sending her first child to kindergarten and her mom suggested that they practice having school lunches at home so he would be prepared when on his own. If every kindergarten teacher could be as lucky to get her kid.

I used to help the kindergarten for the first week of school at lunch time. It was crazy. Nobody knew how to open their tupperware, or open their straws, or tear open their ketchup packets, or open their thermos (not really, I don't think anyone uses a thermos anymore), and most of all the kids were all crazed knowing that everyone around them had something different to eat.

I thought you may like my take on the matter.
It may help you simplify this school year.

My favorite sack lunches are
let the kids make the themselves.

They throw it together the night before.
They put non perishables in the lunchbox and perishables in a gallon size ziplock in the fridge.
In the morning, when mom is barely awake, they just take out their ziplocks and dump it into their box.
Easy as pie.

I keep all of the following on hand:

Sandwich necessities.
Hard boiled eggs.
Cheese. (of all varieties)
Fresh Fruit - apples, bananas, oranges, nectarines, plums, grapes, cherries, strawberries
Granola Bars.
Peanut Butter crackers
Cheese Crackers.
Tortillas (They sometimes make quesadillas)
Salsa/Peanut Butter/Ranch Dressing

I buy chips and cookies and separate them out into portions at the beginning of the week.
(It keeps the kids from eating them after school and gives them the right portion and saves me money when I don't buy the separately packaged stuff)

Every night before they are allowed to go to bed, I personally approve what they have packed to make sure they incorporated all the food groups and didn't load up on the empty calories.

And every week, the kids are allowed to buy school lunch once or twice (depending on the budget). They will sometimes buy just because they know the night before they are going to be busy and won't want to pack a lunch and they sometimes buy because they really like the pizza.

The bonus to my system is that my kids can satisfy their own appetites, manage their time, learn how to plan ahead, and take care of themselves.

And all I have to worry about is breakfast and dinner. Or keeping the cereal and milk and lunch items stocked and cooking dinner.


Rebecca T said...

I have the perfect solution. I just posted on my wall about this today. Easy Lunchboxes. 3 compartment plastic containers with lids and insulated lunch bags. Easy Lunchbox containers are all BPA, Lead, Vinyl and PVC free so you don't have to worry about them leaking carcinogens into your kids food. And you only have to wash one container. The lunch boxes can hold two containers plus a drink thermos. Your sister Shannon saw my link today and is in love to. Best part is there are pages and pages of ideas with pictures on the website so we can keep it fresh and exciting for our kids. I am always struggling with what to pack and the ideas really help.

ShEiLa said...

I am happy to be out of the 'to-go lunches' mode.

One plus as an empty nester.


Heather Matthews said...

My oldest is starting first grade and so I really appreciate this post. I've printed out your list of what to go buy.

I am also a mom that encourages as much indpendance as possible so I loved your ideas.

I too am non-functioning in the morning so this was exactly what I needed!