*This years update- I am still a fan of pre-making as much as I can like on a Saturday, and freezing it. I love taking out mini homemade muffins, sandwich and cookies from the freezer and packing it right into the lunch box. It became habit to pre- make and really saved time and money by making as much as I can from scratch, and it's healthier :) I know, I know, blah blah, blah.
Thinking about school lunch makes me sick- I definitely opt for making them. I am a big believer that food effects a child's behavior, and I want to control that as much as I can, while I can! But that is going to mean time and planning. It's a little work in the beginning of the week-but pay off during and of course the health benefits!
Treating this the same way we would the dinner menu- Make a two week lunch menu. (or a month if you wish)
I actually started by making a master list of all the different things I would put in their lunch.
Here is what I came up with to start:
My kids have all approved these ideas by the way! Ages 11-9-5
Sandwich roll (they love sandwiched on my homemade rolls)
Rice cake with peanut butter jelly on top (seriously they love it)
Carrot & Celery sticks w/ dip
Celery and peanut butter dip
Diced peaches and pears
Hard Boiled Egg
Orange slices (I peel and separate for them)
Banana (I’ll just cut in half)
Grapes and square cheese on a toothpick
(Mellon's need to be kept cool for food safety reasons)
Mini rice cakes
Gram crackers, plain or w/ peanut butter
Granola bars- homemade J
Cereal snack mix
Mini bagels and cream cheese
Chips and salsa (I put salsa in a little round tubaware)
PB&J on Ritz crackers
Brownie bites (just cut brownies in circles)
Rice Krispie Treat
That for me is half the battle, then you can simply plug in the food items on your menu.
I come up with different sandwich items, fruit items, snack items and treat. My kids take a water bottle to school and switch from water and lemonade. NO CAPRI SUNS. (they rot their teeth says my grandpa for a dentist!) Plus this saves big time on buying drinks. My friend suggested this, and does it with her kidos- they love it actually because they get more in there than they would out of a juice box!
Alright, so once you have your master list, plug in your menu!
Once we have our menu, we can shop from this- buying only what we NEED, and then back to Saturday baking days. (or whatever day your choose) I will take Saturday to make the different items for the week. For example if I have banana bread, mini muffins and cookies as part of the lunch menu- I will make these, baggie them up and freeze. They are ready to pull out and stick in the lunch box! I will do this with sandwiches too. PB&J freezes great, just put peanut butter on each slice of bread, then jelly in the middle. It wont get soggy this way. And with Turkey sandwiches, use Miracle whip not Mayonnaise. Mayo does not freeze!
But I will make these up as well and pull them out that morning, they are ready to eat by lunch time! My oldest says they are perfect, not soggy!
This really does take the ugg out of making lunches in the morning and I feel better about whats going in their little bodies. For me, again, half the battle is the planning. I promise it's worth it. And for my provident living plug- This really is the smart way to do most everything in our homes, planning, budgeting, and using our resources. It is a lifestyle that creates financial freedom and joy in homemaking. It sometimes does take courage to start! But it's worth it!