Monday, February 22, 2010

You'll Be Glad I Changed My Mind

I was going to call this post "P*ss Poor Lunches" because that's what came to me as I was scraping lunch together today from a kitchen badly in need of a grocery trip. But let's come back to that thought in a minute.

Today as I was flapping my arms and running around the house stressing over how much I had NOT gotten done and HOW was it already 1:00????? It occurred to me that the single most important thing I can do for my household is menu planning.

I'm serious. You probably knew it was important. It saves money, it saves time, it makes you plan healthier meals....yeah yeah. But when you are faced with an overflowing laundry room, school isn't finished, the kitchen is a mess AND you don't know what's for supper? Triple the amount of stress you should be having.

After I sat down and figured out supper for tonight I felt better. But I'm still facing down and quick trip to the grocery store for said supper and that stresses me out too. I'm supposed to be grocery shopping for the week today, but that simply isn't going to happen today.

All I'm saying is, I could face that laundry room and that kitchen and all the other things on my plate so much more peacefully if only supper was planned. I've lived both ways and believe me, I know.


Can we talk lunch for a minute? A few years ago when I was literally weeks away from quitting my part time job and was looking forward to being a full-time homemaker, only 1 thing struck fear in me. Well, besides the finances. The other thing that struck fear in me was having to feed my children three meals a day.

I'm not kidding.

See, I had never done it. Sure I was a teacher so I had Sweetheart home during the summers back in the day, but she lived on Goldfish crackers and juice back then. What did I have to worry about? Then she went off to Kindergarten and I had Little Bit at home all day but she was nursing so again---no worries. Then I worked part time and they ate breakfast AND lunch at the daycare (included in the tuition). Sure, there were weekends but really---7 days a week is different. And they are bigger now so they don't get really excited about those Gerber Graduates pasta bowls and some Cheerios like they used to.

I'm so over lunch. What do you feed your kiddos? I mean, what are your easy go-to staples? And don't say leftovers because on the rare occasion we have leftovers one of two things happens.

1. We ALL want the leftovers (and there is only enough for a few)
2. NOBODY wants the leftovers.

But honestly, there aren't many leftovers in my life, which might explain why my Mii is not shrinking.

So, what do you feed your children for lunch?


  1. -PBJ sandwiches and fruit- Big Hit!

    -Beans and wieners

    -Today, turkey, and cheese wraps with lettuce, pickles, and homemade ranch dressing, strawberries, potato chips.

    For lunch, I always include fruit and a side like pretzels, popcorn, or yes, potato chips, unhealthy as they may be.

    When there is no leftover spaghetti or chicken, I usually make a sandwich (PBJ, tuna, ham or turkey or sometimes a hot dog), with some combination of two of the things listed above. We do go through a lot of fresh fruit, which can be pricey, but it's healthy and worth it. And still cheaper than prepared snacks.

  2. I usually eat the leftovers. There are usually not enough for everyone and the kids usually don't want them again, so I usually have them. The kids of course eat sandwiches and a lot of days that's what they want. They also like to have bagels with onion flavored cream cheese or cream cheese with a little italian seasoning and garlic salt. The all time favorite is tortilla pizzas. Several friends feed their kids cheese quesadillas (tortillas folded over cheese and melted in the oven) with fruit or veggies on the side. We also like noodles with parmesan cheese and butter (these can be seasoned too) with a salad. We don't do lunches that take long to make or eat and honestly if they want a bowl of cereal I'll let them have it (we usually eat good for you cereals anyway). Would love to read other easy ideas as well.

  3. I'm all over those cheese quesadillas. We have a griddle and I can churn those babies out like nobody's business!

    I'm loving the ideas! Keep 'em coming!!!!

  4. Oh and I forgot to mention. Little Bit doesn't do sandwiches. Makes. Me. Crazy.

  5. Brenda,I am loving this post.1 because I am with you today 1:00 has come and gone.The kids are hungry, schools not finished ,and the chicken is not thawed.WE had soft pretzels for lunch and we will be eating chicken nuggets and frozen veggies for dinner.Not a good meal for a husband.2 because I hate to cook.So I am glad to read others meal plans.


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  7. Today, the kiddos had spaghetti noodles with butter, plain yogurt, and grapes.

    Most every lunch, I try to have a protein, a fruit, and a veggie, and I avoid the snacky stuff (only because they get enough of crackers/pretzels/goldfish-type stuff between meals.) What helps me most is to, at the beginning of the week, cut up some carrots into sticks (cheaper than baby carrots and you'll have a ton-- enough for lunches and dinner salads). I also have easy fruit on hand, ready to cut up and serve. Ryan likes grapes, so I buy a bunch, pick them off the stems, wash them, and store them in the fridge in a colander (to allow air to keep them cool but not sitting in a soggy mess.) Doing this makes it so easy to serve. Grace likes kiwi, apples, and grapes, too. And both like pears. (With pears and peaches, I usually ripen them in a paper bag on the counter for several days until ripe, then store them in the fridge to stop/slow the ripening process.) Oh, and I usually don't give them a choice about the veggies or fruits. I just make sure I have what they like/will eat.

    As for the main part/protein portion, most of the time they want different things, and I don't necessarily mind that. But, what they ask for is what they get. I *so* don't like mind-changing. Except yours. That's okay. (But the first title did make me laugh.) :)

    Some ideas:
    *anything in a tortilla wrapped up (lunch meat and cheese, shredded cheese and avocado slices, just cheese, peanut butter.)
    *cheese slices and crackers to make their own little sandwiches
    *cheese and lunch meat rolled together
    *cheese cubes--served with a toothpick for eating. (This makes lunch fun for them.)
    *chicken nuggets (I know, not the most nutritionally sound, but because I control the other part of the meal, I don't feel too badly.
    *cottage cheese
    *mac and cheese (make your own and you can make a ton, save and freeze some to bring out once a week to serve throughout the week)

    Now, I don't know if any of that helped, or if I just left an annoyingly long comment. But I hope it helps.

  8. Sandwiches, left-overs, sometimes pancakes, or fried eggs with toast. Microwave burritos. Grilled cheese. Leftovers. Canned ravioli. Ham and cheese roll-ups with quartered hard boiled eggs, and canned fruit cocktail. Stuff like that. Canned corned beef hash with a can of string beans, or a fried egg. We're big on canned stuff. The husband and kids love it. Those cheap biscuits with little weenies rolled in them and baked..

  9. Glad to know I'm not the only one with days like those!

    I find that anything quick is best during school days. However, we've been known to make grilled cheese, do the quesadilla thing, make mac&cheese, and warm up some canned tomato soup. The less dishes, the better. If my kids don't like what's on the menu, they make their own (now that they're old enough. the younger ones eat or go hungry - ha!) :) I've always thought that if a) we could do completely w/out lunch or b) we could have dinner @ lunch and a banana in the evening life would be so much easier! Oh well. Hope tomorrow is better!

  10. My kids love a de-constructed sandwich. Maybe Little Bit would like that? It's how Snow White rolls. Give her the meat from a sandwich with the veggies on the side and substitute crackers for bread. Like finger food!

    We also have tuna and crackers, fruit kabobs with yogurt dip (not often!), breakfast stuff, (I am trying not to mention leftovers which we have A LOT), pitas stuffed with anything we can find, chicken nuggets, pasta, salads, baked potatoes...endless ideas here...and you already got tons of great suggestions.

    We also try to have fruit everyday, and like Terry, we have a side like pretzels or chips, or crackers. (We don't snack between meals- even though we'd like to!)

    That's all for me. If I come up with anything super awesome I'll be sure to pass it on.

  11. M-annie's mac and cheese, chicken nuggets
    T-sandwiches & fruit (ham,tuna, PB & J)
    W-grilled cheese & fruit
    F-sandwiches & fruit

  12. your Mii -crackin' me up!

    my kids eat the best lunches when they're thrown together snacks. finger foods.

    a little lunch meat, carrots with ranch, fruit handed out, string cheese, apple sauce, yogurt, on and on. they eat that stuff much better than a prepared meal for lunch.

    completely agree with a meal plan. i feel much more pulled-together when i at least know what i'm feeding them. we're laid back about breakfast and lunch and then i (try!) to prepare a hot meal for dinner. they eat better during the day, matt actually gets a meal, they're forced to eat one good meal a day (or go hungry till morning) and i prep one big meal. we all win.

  13. Hi, I don't know if your daughter will eat stuff on a hamburger bun, but sometimes we have deli ham w/cheese heated with tator tots and fruit, Manwich, Tyson frozen Chicken strips heated, canned vegetable and fresh or canned fruit, we have a couple easy homemade soups we like, French bread pizza(use turkey pepperoni and ragu pizza sauce), and salad. Also, frozen pizza about once a month, Cous Cous(Far East brand) with canned chicken, veggie and roll or other side dish; canned soup, popcorn chicken and side dishes. I used to have trouble with this until I wrote out all the meals I make on a list. If I'm having trouble thinking of a menu for the week, I look at the list ;-)


I don't get to talk to a lot of actual grown-ups during the day, so your comments make me really happy! :)