Wednesday, May 11, 2011

{The Basics} Prepping Lunches

There are loads of basic recipes, or techniques that I use on a daily, weekly, monthly basis...things that are technically, not really recipes. But, rather, just ways that I do things...or, how I'm learning to do things. Like how to hard boil an egg? How to make chicken stock? What's the best way to cut an onion? And, so on...
Some days it's hard to be on top of everything that needs to get done. Being a Mom is no joke. So, if I come across a way to make the job easier, I'm all for it!
Today, I'm sharing how I recently found the best way to tackle school lunches {or, really any meal time}. But, before I do...a bit of a back story.
On a recent Sunday afternoon, the family was busy going all their different ways. My older son had a party to attend, and I went with him. DH was home mowing the lawn with the little guy. When I got home it was 7:30pm & everyone was hungry {except my older son, who ate dinner at the party}. It was one of those times when there was nothing in the house & it was too late for a grocery store run, so we decided to order Indian take-out.
By the time DH got home with the food it was nearly 8:30pm {it was also a school night!}. So, I threw some of the items I knew my little guy would eat on a plate...some rice & some buttery Indian bread. Then, I tossed a couple frozen chicken nuggets in the microwave for him. I went to bring him his plate & DH looked at it and said, "Is that what you're feeding him??"
I was like, "Yeah, why?"
He says, "Well, it would be nice if there was something green on his plate."
I defended myself with...Well, what do you want? It's EIGHT THIRTY! They have to get to bed. There are no vegetables in the house. I also justified myself with the fact that this rarely ever happens in our house. I can't possibly be on top of my game always...can I?
But, the truth is...Mother's guilt is a powerful motivator. I felt bad that I was feeding him a bunch of crap for dinner. My husband's calling me out really stuck with me & I resolved to have a better plan.

There are lots of Mom's out there who prep things ahead of time...maybe dedicating a Sunday evening to chopping fruits & veggies for the week. Eila over at The Full Plate Blog is the master of prepping for the week! She has said, over at her blog, that people make fun of how organized her fridge is. But, truth be told, she's right! It makes life so much easier in the long run!
In theroy, it's always seemed like a good idea to me, but frankly, I just don't have the time. Until, I figured out what works for me. Now, it's become a lifesaver.
What I do, is instead of dedicating a larger block of time to the task, I just double up on what I'm already doing. For instance, if I'm grating carrots for a salad at dinnertime, I grate the whole bag...or, grate half of them & cut the other half in sticks. If I'm cubing up watermelon for a snack, I just go ahead & cube up the whole thing. Monday nights salad at dinner becomes salads at lunch for the whole week!
This has come in very handy, as my older son recently asked me, "Mom, can you start packing me salad for lunch?" Salad? My son? For lunch? But, as it turns out, he loves salad & if he asks for it...well, I'm going to make for him!


Joanne said...

In the far (far far) future when I have children, can my kids hang out with your kids so that your kids can tell them how AWESOME salad is? K thanks.

Salt in Suburbia said...

Oh please, please -- more school lunch ideas. My kids take a lunch to school everyday and I am so running out of healthy new ideas. Thanks for this post.

Anonymous said...

I love your lunch boxes! Where are they from?

kate said...

Those boxes are from pottery barn kids. I got them several years ago, but I think they still sell something similar.

Mo said...

Wouldn't most produce get mushy or slimy?
- i.e. cucumbers, tomatoes, watermelon

Also, do you have a lot of tupperware containers or do you use some sort of magic to store all of your goodies for a the whole week. Maybe a stupid question, but I feel like my stuff gets bad pretty quickly, maybe you're using a different kind of container that works better.

kate said...

Hi Mo-
Yes, produce will get mushy if it's unused for too long. I would say mine last 3-4 days, 5 tops. Tomatoes are the one veggie I don't recommend "pre-cutting"...but, we use mostly cherry tomatoes for lunches. They're ready to use as is :)

The purpose of this prepping technique is to have kid's lunch snacks/meals handy at the ready. We use it daily, so it doesn't have a chance to get mushy. I don't use any special container, but with produce that dries out quickly...such as cukes, carrots...I put a damp paper towel over the top to keep things moist.

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