School Lunches 2014: week 7

Oh it's been another crazy week here, but then again with 4 kids is there such a thing as a week that's not crazy?  These are our lunches from last week - schedule wise last week was actually pretty normal for this time of year, all four kids healthy and at school.

A few highlights for the week:

  • The previous week I had made a big batch of whole wheat English muffins, and used most of those as crusts for mini pizzas.  I made a couple of trays of little cheese pizzas to freeze, and now I have a bunch ready to go, to grab for easy lunches.  
  • Any time you're cooking some kind of meat - chicken, pot roast, taco meat, etc. - save some extra to use as quesadilla filling.  It's a very easy way to add a little extra flavor and protein to a lunch. 
  • You might notice a trend in my lunches, that the actual foods in the lunch are not that revolutionary - but just cutting things differently, arranging them attractively, makes the lunch look more appealing.  We all like to eat food that looks good don't we?  Kids are no different. 
  • Don't forget to pack lunch for you too! 


Some of the most common questions I'm getting:

Q: "How do you keep that food warm, or do your kids really eat that at room temperature?" 

A: Everything you see here is eaten at room temp, and my kids don't mind it at all.  Maybe my kids are odd, or maybe they've just gotten used to it, but it's really never been a problem.  Occasionally I will send something that really wouldn't be good cold - like soup or oatmeal - and on those days I pack the lunch in a thermos food jar to keep it warm.  

Q: "How do you keep your apples from turning brown?"

A: I don't do anything.  I think that some of the more tart & crisp varieties don't turn brown as fast.  I always buy either Fuji or Gala apples, and extreme browning is never a problem.  A little discoloration will always happen, but my kids don't mind it. 

Also note that I've gotten the same question regarding avocados.  And the answer is the same - I do nothing.  Eat it with a little brown on it, it tastes the same and it won't hurt you. 

Q: "How do you get your kids to eat that?  I have to make separate lunches for each of my kids because they all like different stuff."

A: You may notice that some days the lunches are all identical, and some days there are little differences.  I do not make something different for each child - the only days that they lunches are totally different are when I am cleaning leftovers out of the fridge.  But when I'm actually making stuff for the lunch, they will all get the same basic lunch (and they will like it, darn it!).  I will customize each one a little, based on individual tastes, but there's just no way that I can make 4 different lunches every day. But that's also one of the main reasons that I stick to pretty standard foods most of the time - because I am trying to work with things that I know all of my kids will eat.  The extras might be a little different - meat for the two that eat it, different flavors of cheese, maybe a different fruit - but the main item and the basic structure of the lunch is the same. 

There's a theme in those three answers - my kids have learned to mostly just deal with the food that they are given.  No, they're not going to eat a food that they really don't like.  But I do honestly believe that these issues with not eating the apple or avocado because it's got a tiny bit of brown on it, or not eating the quesadilla because it's not hot, are learned behaviors that kids are doing because they know they can get away with demanding something different.  If a child is hungry, and I know he likes toasted cheese sandwich, then he'll learn to eat that toasted cheese sandwich regardless of temperature. There are exceptions of course for kids with sensory issues, when temperature or color or texture of food does matter.  But with most kids, being picky about the temperature or the appearance of the food is just behavior and I think they can get past it, and I think you are making unnecessary work for yourself if you choose to cater to these kinds behaviors.  I bend over backwards to make accommodations for my four very unique kids in a lot of ways, but unnecessary pickiness about food is not where it's at. 

oh, oops.  Now I've gone and given you some unsolicited parenting input.  Back to the lunches...

Some of the products seen in these lunches: 

On Friday night when we made English muffin pizzas, I went ahead and made a bunch extra and put them in the freezer. They also have a cheese stick, grapes, and a few yogurt covered star cookies. The two pre-kindergartners have a squeezie with homemade pear sauce, the other girl has sweet red peppers, and the boy has some ham Applegate ham. And all three girls have a few cashews (I don't think the boy likes them).

On Friday night when we made English muffin pizzas, I went ahead and made a bunch extra and put them in the freezer. They also have a cheese stick, grapes, and a few yogurt covered star cookies. The two pre-kindergartners have a squeezie with homemade pear sauce, the other girl has sweet red peppers, and the boy has some ham Applegate ham. And all three girls have a few cashews (I don't think the boy likes them).

Quesadillas, two have meat in them, with sour cream for dipping. With apples, raisins, almonds, and yogurt for dessert.

Quesadillas, two have meat in them, with sour cream for dipping. With apples, raisins, almonds, and yogurt for dessert.

Wednesday is breakfast for lunch day at our house, and it's often the most popular lunch of the week. This one was no exception. Waffle sandwiches! Homemade waffles, I used whole wheat flour, oats, ground flax, extra egg, homemade almond milk, and just a little sugar - so they're pretty healthy. Three are spread with cream cheese, and one child has butter. They also have a cheddar cheese, berries, and some little cinnamon letter cookies to spell our their name. The boy has a little ham, and two of the girls have a couple slices of apple.

Wednesday is breakfast for lunch day at our house, and it's often the most popular lunch of the week. This one was no exception. Waffle sandwiches! Homemade waffles, I used whole wheat flour, oats, ground flax, extra egg, homemade almond milk, and just a little sugar - so they're pretty healthy. Three are spread with cream cheese, and one child has butter. They also have a cheddar cheese, berries, and some little cinnamon letter cookies to spell our their name. The boy has a little ham, and two of the girls have a couple slices of apple.

Little skewers of cheese and tomatoes, and ham for the meat eaters. Plus crackers and carrots, cucumbers for two, sweet peppers for one, and a mini apple pie for a special dessert treat!

Little skewers of cheese and tomatoes, and ham for the meat eaters. Plus crackers and carrots, cucumbers for two, sweet peppers for one, and a mini apple pie for a special dessert treat!

Five lunches today! It's pre-k pumpkin patch field trip day, so I packed lunch for me too. The kids loved making their own sandwiches so much last week that I did it again today. They have bread, cheese and mayo. Two have ham, two have cucumbers, one has peppers. They all have bites of apples and pears, and a few organic animal cookies. My lunch is curry chicken salad, avocado, tomatoes, peppers, and some sliced pear.

Five lunches today! It's pre-k pumpkin patch field trip day, so I packed lunch for me too. The kids loved making their own sandwiches so much last week that I did it again today. They have bread, cheese and mayo. Two have ham, two have cucumbers, one has peppers. They all have bites of apples and pears, and a few organic animal cookies. My lunch is curry chicken salad, avocado, tomatoes, peppers, and some sliced pear.

Hey - I have a pinterest board where I'm gathering all my favorite lunch packing products for you.  So if there's ever something in one of my lunches and you want to know what it is - chances are I've pinned it here - so follow my board!  If you see something in a lunch and I haven't pinned it, be sure to ask, and I'll track down a link for you. 

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Lisa Marsh

Mom to two sets of twins.

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