To Everything There Is A Season

A Time For Every Purpose Under Heaven

A blog about raising a young family and keeping Christ at the center of it.

The Cyrs

The Cyrs
Photo Credit: Rachel Dewhurst

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A Time for School Lunch Madness!

School has begun and with that comes school lunches. I have always sent the kids to school with a lunch from home with the exception of last year...two babies meant I just couldn't handle the extra work of making lunches so the kids got hot lunch. Paying for school lunch adds up though and it is cheaper for me to make them a lunch. I haven't done the math of what I spend but I know I don't spend $200 a month, which is what paying for school lunch for 4 kids would cost me. Plus my kids prefer cold lunch to hot lunch and with cold lunch I know there is way less waste because I'm sending them with food they like.

This is the first year I have 4 lunches to make and I know it shouldn't seem like that much more work but for some reason it is. I have felt the need to be way more prepared then I have in years past and I have found I need to give myself more time to prepare the lunches. I was reading a blog post I found on Pinterest, (which I didn't save and can't find now otherwise I would reference it), and her tip was to make sandwiches ahead and freeze them. She does this with her kids and they said the sandwiches taste just as good. I thought this was genius and so I have started doing this. It doesn't require a whole lot of time. In an hour I was able to make 24 sandwiches. I made sunbutter & cinnamon, PB & J, and PB & Honey with Cinnamon. I wrap them in freezer plastic wrap and then label them. I also made some Ham & Cheese sandwiches to freeze. I have given the kids these frozen sandwiches for a week now and they don't even know they've been frozen! Not one complaint that they taste weird or the bread is soggy or anything so I'd say this is working for us! Thankfully we have two chest freezers in the basement so I am able to devote a good amount of space in my refrigerator freezer to keep the sandwiches. In the morning I pull it from the freezer and throw it in the lunch box. By lunch time it's thawed and ready to eat.

Then there is everything else to think of. They need a snack and other items to round off the lunch. In order to save my sanity in the mornings I pre-package all the snacks, chips & crackers for about a 2-week period so all I have to do is grab the bags in the morning and throw it into the lunch box. I have three separate baskets (I got them at the dollar store) that I use for school lunches (these are separate from my home snack basket, which you can read about HERE). One is for snack time items, one for chips, crackers or pretzels to go with the sandwiches, and one is for dessert. The snack basket has items like almonds & peanuts, cheese & crackers, applesauce, granola bars, rice cakes and graham crackers. My chip basket has bags of chips, cheez-its, pretzels, wheat thins, etc. Then the dessert basket has animal crackers, fruit snacks and any homemade cookies or brownies we have at the time. This system has been such a life saver. My kids also know to save all their baggies so we use them again and again. When it comes to the fresh fruits and veggies I don't pre-package those because I don't really have the room to devote in my fridge right now but also because at the start of school I bought these divided lunch box containers that I can just put the fruits and veggies into without pre-bagging them. These came in a pack of 4 and are great quality. Another thing I like to do is buy the bulk size blocks of cheese and cut up slices ahead of time. This makes putting together a cheese & cracker snack much easier.

Do you have any tips and tricks that help you get through the busy morning rush when it comes to making school lunches? What are some of your kids favorite school lunches? I know Pinterest is loaded with ideas but I like hearing from you!

No comments:

Post a Comment