Monday, March 14, 2011

Our Solution to the Lunch Rush

About 1 o'clock each day I look up and realize it's lunch time.. and I have nothing ready. Our mornings are busy with getting ready, morning chores and homeschooling... And then suddenly everyone is starving and everything we have seems to take too long to prepare. We can't serve peanut butter due to Lainey's allergies and most of my eating children don't care for lunchmeat sandwiches.

As I was making my game plan for Brandon's new 13 hour, 3 day a week schedule I knew lunch would be an issue. I'm SO much more likely to ask Brandon to bring something home on his lunch break than for dinner. I also thought back to Lainey's brief enrollment at a Montessori Preschool when I was a working mom and remembered that children served their own lunch. It teaches the children real life skills by well.. doing real life. Novel concept, huh?

Then, I remembered that I was much more likely to grab some fruit or veggies to eat if it was prepared and looked appetizing. So, our "pickanicka" lunch trays were born as Julianne calls them.

Each morning, during my chore time, I spend time in the kitchen after breakfast. During this time I think about dinner, serve breakfast, and do various kitchen chores. The little boys are sitting at their highchairs and I usually turn up the praise music. (Side note: I'm SO not a morning person.) I cut, peel, slice, dice, chop, whatever I think we should have on the trays. I use two small restaurant trays that I picked up at a restaurant supply store and our rubbermaid containers. I do everything to make the food easily accessible. I make sure to have a wide variety of items to choose from. And then I put it back in the refrigerator (stacking my trays due to lack of space in our fridge.)

This picture shows: Laughing Cow cheese, clementines, yogurt, lettuce, strawberries, carrots, grapes, and hardboiled eggs. We also grabbed some crackers as well.

The children serve themselves. I don't dole out what I think they should eat. They must choose at least one veggie. Certain things they can only have one of (example, yogurt.)

When we are done, we put the lids back the containers that still have food in them and return the trays to the fridge. The next morning I take stock and see what I should add.

It's been amazing for our family. We are eating so much better. I am sick today but Lainey and Julianne were able to get out lunch out before their Daddy arrived home, all by themselves. They were so proud of being able to help me.

Other things that we have had on the tray or plan to add:

- Cucumbers
- Olives
- Pickles
- Sushi (I will not be indulging.)
- Tuna, egg, or chicken salad
- Deviled eggs
- Sliced cheese
- Lunchmeat roll ups
- Fruit Salad
- Pasta Salad
- Potato Salad
- Carrot Raisin Salad
- Coleslaw
- Hummus with pitas
- Seasonal produce (I really try to keep our produce purchases to less than $1/lb.)

So.. this is how we do lunch. How do you handle the lunch rush?



Jenny said...

Great idea! I usually do a lunch rotation, where I have the same thing every Monday, etc. But I've gotten sooo disorganized this pregnancy, most of the time I'm scrambling at lunch time. I'm going to try this!

Open hearts and empty seats said...

I copied you! LOL