Wednesday, September 5, 2012

WFMW: Rinse Repeat School Lunches

I pack my kids lunches for school. It's just what I do.

I love that I know what they're eating and that it mirrors what I do for them at home. But it can be exhausting to think up what items to tuck in their lunch bags, especially now that egg salad is off the menu. It was one of my "go to's" and enjoyed by 100% of my kids.

So to save my mental sanity, I came up with a school lunch menu plan that is repeated every wee, though I mix up the days these items appear. And below this mix and match meal plan, see a few tips for how I make this work and save time too. (And this one's for you too Allie and G!)

Rinse Repeat School Lunch Menu

Main Dish
1. pasta
2. baked beans
3. oven fries/sweet potato fries
4. sandwich (pbj, tuna, tomato, pb & apple)
5. soup or salad

Bonus item: leftovers from a meal the kids actually liked - sanity and time saver

Veggie sides
1. carrots and hummus
2. celery and nut butter
3. cucumbers and hummus
4. carrots and nut butter mix
5. celery and hummus

Fruit sides
1. apple slices
2. pineapple
3. orange wedges
4. watermelon
5. kiwi

Tips and Side Notes
  • Obviously these choices reflect what my kids like. For your family figure out an assortment of items they enjoy, then come up with a similar mix and match plan.
  • I keep the drink option simple, inexpensive and eco-friendly: filtered tap water in a stainless steel water bottle
  • For this to work, you'll need stainless steel containers with lids and containers on hand to hold sauces and condiments. I found mine in the closeout section of our discount grocery store. (Praising the Lord for that find!) Pair these with a reusable, insulated lunch bag and not only are you helping to keep God's green earth green, but your lunch time options expand greatly. Here's one resource for eco-friendly lunchware or Google "stainless steel lunch containers" for additional finds.
  • Soup requires a stainless steel container with a screw on lid. Try a small water bottle and send a stainless steel container for your child to pour it into
  • For items needing to be warmed, place them in the oven while you're eating breakfast. When it's time to go, place aluminum foil over the container, pop on the lids and wrap the foil around the container's body. It should keep the items warm until lunch time.
  • For the pasta, fries, soup and salad options, I plan these for the night before and make extra. HUGE timesaver.
  • To keep things fresh, if I have extra treats on hand, I'll pop those in too, but I don't go out of the way to plan for them.

 Lunches I can repeat that save time, energy and help plan my shopping list every week? That works for me.

Linking with Kristen for her Works For Me Wednesday series.


Allie said...

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Sounds so simple! I can do this:). You are a great organizer Andrea!

Jenn said...

I love this! We take our lunches on the days that I teach at the college and we needed some inspiration:)

kendal said...

you are SO good. my boys lost the opportunity to carry lunch boxes b/c they kept losing them. so all disposable every day! and, sadly. my younger has lots of food allergies so he doesn't get so much variety. you're doing a great job, mom!