A Week in the Lunch Trenches

A week in the trenches looks like this …

 

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Of course, you can make your list on a sheet of notepad paper, or a dry-erase board, or your own chalkboard – this was a chalkboard schedule I’d made years ago for my youngest when he was just starting to learn to organize his week, and it has morphed into our family lunch board. But hell, you can sharpie your menu across the baby’s forehead, if it works – just put it somewhere prominent, so the whole family can see, and (with a little luck!) even help pack.

Trust me, though, writing it out once a week saves time (and more importantly, neurons, which are in short supply in the mornings in my home), and helps you catalog what you have and what you need. It’s way easier to see where you’re lacking in protein or fruits/veggies if you have it all written out. Plus, it gives the kids some feeling of control over their food that makes them more willing to eat everything you give them empowers them and ensures they grow into productive members of the human race.

Make sure you also check out my new post, featuring an extra snack, and the most foolproof Fruit Leather you will ever meet.

So, here is one of our recent lunch schedules and links to the recipes.

 

Monday:

 

Tuesday:

 

Wednesday:

 

Thursday:

  • Pizza Pocket and a Mini Dipper with some homemade pizza sauce for dipping (pie thawed overnight in fridge, heated in microwave wrapped in a moist paper towel, and packed in a Stanley Food Jar)
  • Strawberries and grapes (I don’t need to cut mine in half because my kids are much older, so I keep all of these washed and in an Oxo box in the fridge as well)
  • (though the kids rebelled that morning and decided as a group they would rather have Apple Chips … I expect they’ll be unionizing to establish a fair minimum wage in the household, next)
  • Strawberry Fruit Leather
  • Maple Nut snack bar

 

Friday:

  • Corndog Muffins (the kids are actually cool with not heating these, so I don’t, but I send with a Mini Dipper full of ketchup)
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Peach-Banana-Chia Smoothie Pop (tucked into the PlantBox ice pack sleeve, or you can send placed directly between two ice packs)

 
Got a schedule or a packed lunch of your own to show off? Snap a picture and send it on over!

 

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A WORD ON FREEZER SPACE

I admit, I have a lot of freezer space. I live with four adult-sized appetites, and one healthy child-sized one, and I tend to freeze and pack 20 weeks’ worth of food for all the kids at a time. Plus, once upon a time, I used to do this regularly for dinners as well as lunches.

So, I have a freezer upstairs for regularly-used items, then a downstairs freezer for frozen lunches, and a separate chest freezer for when I’m feeling particularly go-getter-y (or for when I make Thanksgiving meals ahead of time because I have the stupid schedule). I call the chest freezer my Sexy Beast, and I make my hubby apologize to it if he doesn’t treat it with an appropriate level of tenderness.

The FDA does specifically say that a closed, full freezer will maintain its temperature for 48 hrs without power (a half-full one will maintain it for 24 hrs), so food does not need to be thawed or refrigerate or transferred anywhere, as long as you kee the doors closed. So even if your power goes out Saturday, your lovingly-prepared lunches should be safe till Monday when the repair guy comes! Just sayin’ …

Now, you certainly don’t have to have this. We’re going to work on how to maximize your packing strategies in order to best use your space, and we’re going to use flash freezing and labeling techniques that make my heart skip more than Ryan Gosling (who, for the record, has NOTHING on vacuum sealing). But you should plan on being able to fit two jelly roll pans or large cookie sheets into your freezer at once at any given time during your prepping. If you can’t do that, it may be worth it for you to take a look at getting yourself a separate freezer – not necessarily your own Sexy Beast, but maybe something a bit smaller and inconspicuous, that can still guard your hard work (and only cost you an extra $0.75 or so per lunch if you hold 4 months’ worth of meals for one person in it, right?).

ADDITIONAL

STILL NEED HELP PACKING LUNCHES?
Check out my feedback on how to pack the lunches, with reviews and discussion on cold foods, hot foods, beverages and lunchboxes! But if you don’t think you can take another second of wading through my never-ending drivel, and just want to cut to the chase to know what my absolute preferences are, here’s the short list:

  1. For hot foods, Funtainer Food Jar or Stanley Food Jar (sorry, you do need to make this decision yourself based on the details).
  2. For the rest of your lunch, and cold entrees, EasyLunchboxes system: containers, lunchbox, and mini dippers. Close second: PlanetBox.
  3. Funtainer water bottles (Doc McStuffin, Wonder Woman).

EMAILS:
Sometimes, I come across good deals and want to share them, but I don’t want to send you unwanted emails. If you’d like me to email you when I find something really good (like the Instant Pot that went on sale last week for $69.99) you can sign up for those emails here. These would probably be once or twice a month.

I’M ON INSTAGRAM & TWITTER:
You can follow me on Instagram @emiponcedesouza. You can also follow me on Twitter @poncedesouza. If you share your photos, use the hashtag #EmisLunches, and please tag me!

Posted on September 16, 2016 in Lunches

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