Many thanks to those who answered the survey. The results were kind of what I thought they'd be - and then they weren't, at all.
Please to explain this, Carmen.
I anticipated that there would be parents of children of all ages, and there were. The age range that was the most popular was 7-10, with a second runner up of 11-15. This is the age grouping of my four youngest children. I know that there are many people who read here whose children attend school with my youngest - but you never comment, which I find very interesting indeed - but I was pleasantly surprised to see that there was a substantial number of readers who were either childless or had adult children.
This makes me happy because it means that I am able to engage readers who aren't here for the Mommy content. And, also, makes me feel like I just might be doing something right - which is welcome, indeed, after the week I've had (and it's only WEDNESDAY. SIGH.)
OK. On to Lunches.
i want to start off this series by sharing my number 1 tried and true secret to a successful school lunch.
(And then I'll share #2 secret immediately thereafter.)
Ok, here we go. Secret #1 - Ask your kids for input.
Seriously. I'm so not lying - it's the easiest step, and it's the most often overlooked. We all *think* we know what our kids like to eat - and we are probably pretty close - but there's a lot that we don't remember. And think outside the box. I know in years past my kids have written up a list - I separated a page into protein, carb, fruit and veg - and they filled in the blocks.
They filled them in in a way I'd never imagine. Cold chicken legs? Yup. Pasta salad? Of course. Leftover spaghetti, eggplant parm, or roast beef pinwheels? You'd better believe it, missy. I was also a bit shocked to see things like red pepper strips from my youngest kids and baby carrots from all. Garlic toast. Hard boiled eggs and Stonyfield drinkable yogurts.
Make a list of all of the acceptable foods, no matter how weird/odd/random you may find them. One of my kids loves to take sushi. (I, personally, will never pack sushi for any meal, ever, in my entire life.) Post that list somewhere easily accessible - maybe inside the pantry.
Ready for Secret #2?
Each person packs their own lunch.
I started doing this year before last year when I was so overwhelmed that I couldn't breathe, and it's honestly amazing. The first week or so, you'll need to help and say things like, "Here are your protein choices from our list - which would you prefer?" and "Do you have a veggie?"
And, before you tell me that your kid is too young, Riley started packing her own lunch in first grade - and, consistently, she is the most eager to pack it as well as the most responsible.
Bonus! Secret #3 - Organize it before hand.
I take time on the weekends to make cookies and muffins, to cut up a week's worth of cucumbers and carrot sticks and red peppers. I portion hummus into individual cups and make baggies of pretzels and chips for the older kids. I fill water bottles and even separate the cheese sticks. This makes it super child friendly when we pack lunches - and we usually do it immediately after dinner.
Tomorrow night I take on some of your questions and I'll share a couple of easy recipes that we use successfully.