Sunday, May 3, 2015

School Lunches- Working Mom Shortcuts

I hate packing school lunches, hate, hate, hate. I hate them so much that I never pack myself a lunch.  I usually throw a cucumber and an orange into a bag and call it good unless I buy a salad at school. Unfortunately, this doesn't fly with a six year old. I actually have to pack her a lunch. Feed her hot lunch from school? No. Way. In. Hell. Have you ever seen a school lunch. They are the most unhealthy things you've ever seen!

So, how do I make making lunches easier for me? Well, I've learned a few things in the last two years:

1. I make all five lunches for my peanut on Sunday. I hate doing it so why torture myself five days a week. This also makes the already hectic week nights less hectic because I can just clean out Ya-Ya's lunch box and throw the next one in. Done!

2. In order to pack real food, not processed crap, you need containers. Who wants to pack and clean out multiple containers? No one. Nor do we want to throw a bunch of baggies a day into the landfill so I found these guys... Sistema Lunch Cubes. They are BPA free and you can usually find them for $3.99 at TJ Max. I've seen them at World Market and other places as well. Now, it's one container and if it's full I know I've packed enough food!

3. Real Food! I try to jam as much fruit and veggie options down Cecelia as I can. This isn't the easiest to do but with her right now, I notice if I pack a few of something in her lunch she will eat them. If I pack a lot of something she won't eat it. For example, a few pieces of orange she'll choke down. A whole orange, she won't touch. I'm sure she'll change her MO now that I've figured her out!

4. Sandwiches, how do you keep a sandwich with peanut butter and jelly packed to make it all week? Use toast and double coat the peanut butter. If you use toast the bread will stand up more and a thin layer of the nut butter of your choosing on both sides of the toast will insure the jelly or honey doesn't penetrate the toast! Also, I've found options to a sandwich. Cecelia's favorite are those no bake energy bites that are floating but minus the coconut and chai seed and double the flax seed. We like them better with almond butter but the mix better with peanut butter. Also, sometimes when I'm feeling overwhelmed I may let a cereal or fiber bar go in disguised as the grain for the week.. oops!

5. Food that comes home uneaten turns into a side dish for Cecelia's lunch. After a 5 year stint with constipation and then behavioral constipation, I am continually counting fiber grams for all the kids daily. Almost everything I put in her lunch contains fiber and if she wants bananas for snack, I double up on the fiber!! We prefer slippery poops in this house!! This also helps the, "well if I don't like it I'll just not eat it" part of eating lunch. I know, I am screwed once she realized she can just throw something away at school and I wouldn't be the wiser! I also buy the fiber one fruit snacks. They are basically sugar, I know but the kid wants food like what she sees her friends eating, she is a kid after all! Also, I kind of count it like the treat and even though they aren't the best fiber option, I figure it's better than an alternative!

So here are this week's lunches:

  • those no bake energy bites- FIBER
  • fiber one fruit snacks, sans packaging- FIBER
  • a hand wipe- they don't wash their hands before they eat- YUCK!
  • a low-sugar juice box
  • raspberries- FIBER
  • red bell peppers- FIBER
  • clementine slices- FIBER
  • heart snacks (from Organic section at Woody's- they are high in omega-3s.- FIBER
For snack this week, she picked bananas.-- FIBER

Done for another week. Yes, I realize that I have three kids and one day I won't be able to make 15 lunches to fit in the fridge (if they'd fit I would though) for the week. But I'll probably only do it a few days of the week... WAIT a minute... THREE kids.... 15 lunches a week. What was I thinking!! How long until I can get Cecelia to make everyone's lunches?! Muah ha ha ha!

Older Working Mom posts below!

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