Life. Love. Family. Our Perfect Imperfection. Living life as a Catholic, homeschooling family with three amazing, unique boys, a too-oft serious, frustrated and anxious but also loving momma, and a fun-loving, hardworking dad.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

School lunches

It's that time of year again. Well, almost. We actually have 3 full weeks till the first day!

I'm grateful for the time left for summer, and just a tad bit ready for it to start at the same time. After so much unstructured time, my boys are bored all the time. Even after they do a few chores, read books, play with toys, ride their bikes, watch cartoons and play video games. This can make for some very loud, unhappy children and a cranky mama by the time dad gets home... Poor Jason ;)

This year, I want to plan a little better when it comes to lunches. We typically do a combo plan: Wednesday is pizza day at school and they usually ask to buy it. Since we have to pay for the month in advance, it makes it easy to say ok to that and no to the rest.

They (and I) can't change our minds in the morning about buying vs. packing before school if it's a different day. Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, the boys always pack their lunches. Last year they packed A LOT of sandwiches. I want something different for them this year.

Also, I really, really DON'T want to buy pizza every week for the both of them. Now September is different, because we have a small balance in each of their accounts. Of course, one has 3 meals' worth of money and the other just 1 meal's worth. To make it fair, I am sending money for both to have pizza all 4 Wednesday's in September. What they don't know yet is from there on out, we probably won't be doing that.

I'm currently making a list of what foods to make (and freeze) ahead of time for lunches - as well as some breakfasts! - that are wholesome, real foods with little sugar, and processed crud in them, and some that are paleo, so I can indulge too! Some things we won't be freezing, of course.

Here's what I have so far: *Anything with grains, dairy or sugar IN the recipe will be adapted if possible or is just for the boys and Jason as I'm following Whole30 for the next 90 days. Well, 89, now. Through November 8th. Besides the fact that I'm planning to go mostly, if not completely, grain-free and dairy free from now on anyway.*
  1. Paleo Pizza Bites   
  2. Whole-wheat waffles (or pancakes)  
  3. Spaghetti and Meatballs - possibly minus the noodles, so just meatballs and sauce. Also planning to adapt the recipe slightly, using coconut flour in place of whole wheat breadcrumbs, and leaving out the parmesan and maybe the soy sauce.
  4. Homemade whole wheat pizza - or I may use her suggestion of pita bread, sauce, cheese and whatever cold toppings for a "lunchable" style pizza
  5. Whole wheat blueberry muffins - I love that she offers suggestions for other add-ins.
  6. Whole grain pumpkin muffins - we might just use whole wheat flour instead of spelt...
  7. Homemade Pop Tarts - we've made these before and they were tasty. 
  8. Refried beans (with leftover taco meat)- so good, and so easy. They won't eat the beans plain, but if I have a ton made up, they can take leftover taco meat and beans mixed in their thermos, with a tortilla and some cheese and lettuce on the side to make a quick taco!
  9. Cinnamon and coconut pancakes - these were a hit when we made them and although I'm not sure how they will fare being frozen, it's worth a try.
  10. Bacon, egg and cheese muffins - We made them once, and they were overly salty, but I want to try again using coconut oil in place of the bacon drippings, and a little less bacon.
  11. Spicy Tuna Cakes - I'm not sure about freezing these, but I figure they could just take some leftover ones the next day.
  12. Whole wheat zucchini bread
  13. Strawberry Jam - to use on sandwiches or on waffles!
  14. Cool Ranch Chicken Nuggets 
  15. Egg-salad made with homemade mayonnaise
  16. Tuna-salad made with homemade mayonnaise
  17. Oatmeal with raisins, or cinnamon/sugar
  18. Fruit and yogurt parfait - just a little 100% maple syrup and/or vanilla extract in plain whole milk yogurt, with a quality granola (homemade if possible!) and fresh/frozen blueberries, strawberries, etc.
  19. Fresh veggies with homemade mayo ranch
  20. Salad w/ homemade mayo ranch
  21. Fresh fruit
What are your typical school lunches? Any ideas that I haven't thought of here? I love comments and ideas, so feel free to share!

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