Well it’s that time again….. Back to school. It’s here! Tomorrow is pumpkin spice everything and our tiny little miracles are back to the grind of school. THANK GOD! I swear this summer has been the longest summer of my life.
However, school lunches can be a pain in the butt. Here’s my trick to get the kids food together by spending about 30 min once a month and maybe 15 minutes once a week to keep you sane!
Here is the layout. I basically build a lunch plan ahead of time then mix it up every week depending on:
a) what’s on sale. My kids eat A LOT so the cheaper the better.
b) what I have in the fridge.
c) what they are wanting to eat. Who am I kidding? My kids eat EVERYTHING!
d) what is EASY. Yes I am a lazy Mom.
|Carrots from our garden. They are a favourite while in season.|
Our standard basic lunch is built around a few things. The standard starting point is the ‘lunch’ meal. A sandwich, soup or stew, mason jar salads (yes they LOVE them) and more often than not leftovers. I tend to make tasty, easy, ‘good the next day’ suppers, so they convert easily to lunch. Then the add ons. My grade 3er is a HUGE eater so he takes what he wants and I’ll add more in depending on what it is.
Add ons are usually mixed from the following list:
1) Apple sauce (homemade of course)
2) Yogurt. I usually get big containers of plain yogurt then make a fruit sauce with honey to make ‘fruit on the bottom’ yogurts. I took a cheese making class so now I am going to try my hand at making it.
3) Cottage Cheese
4) Babybel cheese
5) Fruit. Apples, bananas, oranges, berries, whatever is on sale
6) Veggies. Sometimes with hummus or a dip. Little one hates dip likes his veggies plain
7) Hardboiled eggs. Or if they are fresh eggs I steam them so they can actually be peeled
8) fruit leather. If I feel like making them
9) Kale chips
10) If I can find good chips I’ll send a few
My kids eat a lot so I’ll send the big one (grade 3 now) with at least 5 or 6 from the list, and he still comes home ravenous.
You get the vibe. Lots of variety. That’s what keeps life interesting. However, the boys love apple sauce so I make big batches and freeze it down then I have a month of meal snacks. There’s the 30 min making apple sauce. Sundays I take about 15- 20 min and chop veggies and portion it out for the week and BOOM! Grab and Go HEALTHY lunches.
So here is an example for planning for the month. I made 9lbs of apples into apple sauce and portioned out the yogurt and set it up in to days of school for the next month. 125ml jelly mason jars are the perfect size for lunches, and you can find the reusable plastic caps which make it easier for little ones to open. So this is 5 weeks of school snacks made from 9lbs of apples, 2 750g containers of yogurt and some homemade cottage cheese. Total cost was $31. I already had the mason jars so I didn’t count that.
End result for the boys first day of school lunches. My big guy is in for a full day while my little Kindergartener is only a half day.
|BLT sandwich, granny smith apple, nectarine, garden carrots, cucumbers, cottage cheese, applesauce, Babybel and a banana. Hopefully that gets a big Grade 3er through the day.|
|Only a half day of school so my kindergartener gets snacks. He will probably come home with some of it but that’s ok. He likes choices and finishes it up after school for a snack.|
All of the extra jars and Babybel cheeses are heading to the freezer until they are needed for their week.
And my calendar is clear for the next few weeks I don’t have to slave every night making lunches or remember to pick up enough extras every week.
Easier than pie!
Happy back to school Mamas and Papas!
…….. it’s the most wonderful time of the year………