Food planning has never been my forté. Just ask my husband. Oftentimes he will sweep into the house after a long workday and within moments will have whipped up a snappy supper without batting an eye — even when chopping onions are part of the mix.
I, on the other hand, fret over every small detail, another aspect of my self-diagnosed frustrated perfectionism, I’m certain. I agonize over the quality, the nutritional value, and the “orgainic-ness” of ingredients. Left to my own devices, I would construct — in my mind — the perfect meal, and by around 10 p.m. find myself too hungry to cook and settle for a bowl of gluten-free cereal. If it weren’t for the kids, I could probably do that six out of seven nights a week (but boy, what a meal that would be!).
Some might say planning and prepping daily school lunches are a bit of a thorn in their sides. For me it is like I fell into the rose bush headfirst. Not only do those pesky little thorns get a jab at me, I get a headache out of the deal to boot.
Now that my youngest will attend full days this year, I’ve graduated from making one lunch and snack a day to two. My kids don’t particularly eat a similar diet or like the same foods, either. I will console myself with the idea that yours don’t either, regardless of whether this is true.
Complaints aside, I think I have come up with a relatively brilliant solution to my lunch bag woes, and I’m happy to share them with you.
Sitting down with each of my children, I had them tell me what sorts of lunches they think they will like, and chose some “themes,” giving me a little leeway when necessary to fudge things a bit.
The home run in all of this is the daily lunch plan that emerged. Every day of the week, each child will get the same lunch as the week before — Mondays are pasta day (my choice of whether they get Annie’s, gnocchi with sauce, or something similar in their Thermos); Tuesdays are sandwiches made with cold-cuts, canned fish or nut butter; Wednesdays are a selection of hard-boiled eggs, ham, cheese, crackers and hummus; and Thursdays are onigiri, or Japanese rice balls. Fridays we get a reprieve with early dismissal, so that one I will leave off the chart for the time in effort to appeal to my more whimsical nature.
My list of pre-approved lunches — which I’m willing to switch up for something else at any time should something suddenly fall out of favour — will make shopping a lot easier too. As you might imagine, I’m a bit dogged by that task as well. My compulsion for label reading takes a LOT of time!
In addition to a stable fruit, veggies and a drawer of mom-sanctioned, healthy snacks, I’ve committed to Sunday night baking — muffins, homemade granola and the like. As I write this, it is becoming quite evident that Sunday will now become grocery-shopping day.
You win some, you lose some!
Kirsten Andrews offers Simplicity Parenting courses, workshops and private consultations. A new class begins Sept. 21. For details, visit Sea To Sky Simplicity Parenting on Facebook. You can also visit www.SeaToSkySimplicityParenting.com or email email@example.com.