I love family. I love learning. I love food. This is simply a collection of thoughts, memories, and recipes that are a piece of me!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Make Ahead Lunches.

One of my favorite things in life is order.  And structure.  And schedules.

I know it's not everyone's cup of tea, but our house runs much more smoothly when things just happen the same basic way every day.  We wake up, have breakfast, get ready for our day, have school, grab lunches, and head to my mom's house for lunch and some "Mommy Has Adult Conversation" time.  It goes like this for us pretty much every weekday, and it's just awesome.

I really really like our schedule.  

But I did not always like that schedule.  I did not like it when it went: do school, Mommy makes lunches, then off to my mom's house.  That schedule was much less simple, so I started buying lunchables because I could not stand to make one more sandwich.  I just couldn't.  Please, please...no more peanut butter and jelly.  So lunchables became our thing.  Every day.  And every day, I was throwing away three plastic trays half empty, and an hour later, kids were crying about being hungry.

Every.  Single.  Day.

I'm sure this wasn't an original idea.  I'm sure I saw it on Pinterest 27 thousand times, but it's what we do now, so I wanted to share because it has been such a blessing for our lives.

We've been packing our lunches like this for a whole year now, and let me tell you, it's amazing.  Every day, my kids are excited to pick out what they feel like having, and every day, what they chose gets eaten.  Praise Jesus.

I will add, this has proven to be a great way for us to pack lunches, but it's also very often been a sweet time for us as a family, too.  There have been a few times that I've waited until the kids have gone to bed then pulled Isaiah out to help me, and it's given us 20 minutes or so to just chat and spend some sweet moments together.  That alone makes it totally worth any extra effort!

Here's what we do:
Every week, we have three different choices for meats (or proteins), dairy, crackers or pretzels, and fruits. I opted for 3 choices in each group so my kids would have a nice variety.  We pack each thing in an individual serving sized snack bag or cup and store it all together in a basket that stays in our refrigerator.  We have found that helps make them easy to grab and stick in a lunch bag.  Obviously you can choose whatever your family would like, but we like...

Roast beef
Ham slices
Cups of peanut butter
Hard boiled eggs

String cheese
shredded cheddar cheese
Slices of American cheese

Cheese crackers
Graham crackers

Apple slices
Apple sauce

I almost always mix it up from week to week, so if we had ham last week, this week we won't.  It has kept the kids loving our rotation, and miracle of miracles, they are actually eating their lunches instead of tossing half of them in the trash!  

This is great for our regular schedule, but we have also found this to be super useful for days we have somewhere to go because we can grab lunches and eat in the car if need be and no fast food!  If you have any ideas of other things we could try, please let me know!  We are always looking for new fun things to add!

I hope this proves to be just as useful for you as it has been for us!

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