I just spent a summer doing lunch for camp. Every day. Oy vey. I really can’t wait to throw in some school lunches because frankly… I want a break. I know I should be a bit more Zen- really make sure my child is eating healthy and safe food. But when I see chicken nuggets and pizza on the school lunch menu, my heart skips a beat; my head gets a little dizzy. Freedom! I can sleep a 15 extra minutes.
The other non-school lunch days the boy gets made by me for as much as I want to convince him jerk chicken, orange glazed chicken (the school district seems to like chicken) is great he is just not sold on it. So I set the alarm get to my lunch making business.
Here are some foods that I have found to work well. You can buy in bulk, most can be bought organic at stores like Trader Joes, and most importantly they hold up well in the lunch box.
Bread: I will use cookie cutter to make fun shapes so my son is excited to eat stars and hearts.
Bake bread: If you like baking this is an affordable food. Banana bread, carrot bread makes for a nice lunch and can feed a few mouths.
Eggs for Quiche/frittata: hide veggies, add cheese-easy to whip up the night before.
Cold pasta: (or hot if you feel like your child can handle a thermo): this is so easy to make and holds up quite well, my son won’t do cold mac& cheese but will do cold spaghetti. I like the Kid Konserve thermo.
Hard cheese: I use this for quesadillas, for a side dish, grill cheese sandwiches.
Bagels: I buy the small bagels and my sons love them, they stay soft until lunch.
Salami: Salami seems to hold up quite well. Use it as a side dish or in sandwiches
Meatballs: these can made with the ground meat of your choice, 2 pounds make many and can be separated into smaller baggies and frozen for later.
Grapes/apples: have a longer shelf life then most fruits.
Raisins: When fruit looked scary last winter and I wasn’t in the mood to buy fruit from Chile –raisins came in handy.
Crackers /gluten free chips: Trader Joe has a great assortment. If you have a Costco card buy these in bulk.
Tip: Although it is allowed at the school I personally skip popcorn and nuts. If I add a hot dog, I cut it up. The rules at school are not to share food... but have you seen these kids at lunch? These foods are hot spots for some kids so why take a chance on them being allergic or choking.
Hear that swoosh sound happening? That would be summer just passing us by. I am still in a bit of shock that BTS mode is almost in full gear. The oldest will miss sleeping in. Well ...no need to fret as we have a cheat sheet of what (we hope) helps get you back on track and ready for that glorious first day back. We got this!
3 Tips to getting out the door fast:
1. Check the weather. We may be at 90 degrees currently which means cool clothes for the kids but before you know it fall will be official and a sudden rain or snowstorm can costs you precious time when unprepared.
2. This is easier said then done however putting aside the outfits you and your kids are going to wear the night before can save at the least 20 minutes. Get your bag, metro card -anything that will throw you off if your unable to find in the morning rush together the night before.
3. If you make your child's lunch try cutting up fruit, separating cold cuts and placing into easy to grab organizers on Sunday night. If you tend to skip breakfast because you feel hurried in the AM (like most of us) try freezing fruits individually for morning smoothies.
Favorite links for BTS:
7 Tips For A Smooth Kid Routine via Lasso The Moon
How To Encourage Your Kids To Read More Books via The Jenny Evolution
Our Fail-Proof 3 Step Plan for Saving Kid Art & School Projects via Modern Parents Messy Kids
Back to School-Chore Charts for Before and After School via JDaniel4's Mom
50 Healthy Lunch Box Ideas via Family Fresh Meals
A Year of Lunches via What Lisa Cooks
Ten Lunch Notes via Mama Miss
School Lunch Labels via Lia Griffith
Breakfast Cookies via My Domaine
Cool pdf illustration (below) from John Gachot &NYT
Lastly! No BTS clothes....only bought the warm weather BTS clothes...clothes not fitting? Whatever the reason here are 5 type of items that can be bought now on sale.
1. Peasant tops and colorful tees from summer will be on sale, these are pieces that can be layered come fall and winter with thermal long sleeves and still look stylish.
2. Jeans and leggings can always be found on sale however during this time you can usually find them at steep discounts.
3. The one thing I always regret is not buying the heavier coats earlier- although outerwear isn't going to be found at 70% off stores like The Children's Place will have this section at 30-50 %.
4. School supplies- if your late to tackling this list you honestly will save a ton of money as store such as Staples and Target are having great supply sales including backpacks.
5. Electronics. If you need a new computer or tablet besides Black Friday you will find some nice sales targeted for BTS and college kids.
My first job out of college I had a really great boss. I was fundraising for a children's hospital. Our office moto was 'let's make it happen.' High budget goals? Let's make it happen. Find new event sponsorships? Let's make it happen. Find awesome volunteers? Let's make it happen. That motto set the path for my life. Move and find a new job? I made it happen. No longer happy and go to graduate school for a new career? I made it happen. Find a great guy and have a family? I made it happen.
These days my goals are smaller. Get all three kids ready in an hour? Sometimes I make it happen. Leave the house? Sometimes I make it happen. Haha. But seriously. As any mom knows, some days are easier than others and some days you just need to stay home. We were very fortunate to spend the first three weeks of summer out of town. When we first got home, I needed a few days to unwind, unload, and unpack. By day two I needed out. My kids needed out. And now, no matter how tired I am, how hot it will be, or what mood my kids are in, I make it happen. I dress them. Pack lots of water. Pack lots of food. And we go. I've been pretty ambitious (thanks to some amazing friends who have a similar attitude!) and we've gone swimming, we've gone to the beach, the zoo, and stayed in the park until it was almost dusk.
So I say make it happen. Make the effort. Make the plan. Make the memories. It's totally worth it.
Post by Erica Young