Wednesday, May 2, 2012

"Mom, Don't Get Mad, But What's For Lunch?"

This one eats more than her dad.

"A big part of being married is 3 meals a day, every day, for the rest of your life."  That's what an older single woman once told me when I was a younger single woman who really wanted to be married. 

To some degree, she was right.  People around here want to eat -- three or more times a day.  Every day.  365 days a year. 

At my house, breakfast is easy -- meaning, I don't really cook breakfast.  We have plenty of milk, cereal, bread, yogurt and fruit on hand.  Sometimes I boil eggs for Wenxin, but that's about it.  If I'm having a busy morning, they can even get it themselves.  Most everyone can handle pouring that big gallon of milk without spilling it, especially if it's not full.  For some reason, the milk never seems to be full around here anymore.

However, once breakfast is over, I need a plan.  I've noticed my life goes so much easier when I have a plan for meals.  Without a plan, I make daily trips to Publix, spend way too much money, and glare at any child who dares ask, "What's for dinner?"

A while back, Nester posted a very flexible meal plan that works for her.  I'll link to it at the end of this post, but here's what her plan looks like in our family. A few days have themes:

Pizza Fridays - We have homemade pizza using yummy pizza dough from the Publix bakery.  Everyone loves this.  They love it even more if I let them help.

Soup Saturdays - I posted a while back about this Thai soup.  This is the number #1 favorite meal at my house.  We also like homemade vegetable soup and crock pot taco soup.  Soup is easy after a long day at soccer.

Salad Sundays - We do huge dinner salads for Sunday lunch.  I want Sunday to be a day of rest and worship, but I also want us to sit down for lunch together.  Easy, healthy, fast.

Sunday Night Big Breakfast - pancakes, waffles, eggs, grits, bacon, muffins, fruit (not all on the same night.)  We all love breakfast foods, but I don't take the time to make them in the morning.

In addition, I plan three more dinners.  I don't plan exactly which meal goes with which day because with homeschooling and scouts and soccer and other activities, I don't always know how much time I'll have for preparing dinner each night.  Sometimes we eat at 7 pm.  Other nights, it's 8:30 before everyone gets home.  I can flex, knowing I have the ingredients on hand for at least 6 nights of meals each week.  That leaves one night for being spontaneous -- or having a bowl of cereal.

So dinner's covered, but lunch is killing me.  Some of us are at home for lunch every day.  And I don't like sandwiches.  They don't really like them either.  It's great when we have leftovers - but leftovers at my house are as rare as that full gallon of milk.

Here are some things we currently have for lunch.  Some are nutritious.  Others, not so much:

  • salads with raw veggies, hard boiled egg and croutons (and ranch dressing for everyone, except Wenxin.)
  • cup of yogurt, sliced fruit, whole grain crackers.
  • scrambled eggs and grits
  • homemade pizza (I can't go wrong with this.)
  • pancakes
  • mac n cheese (Asian noodles for Wenxin; cheese makes him gag.)
  • grilled cheese (some alternative for Wenxin)
  • fried rice
  • canned soup
Most often, I fall back on the first two.  I feel good about feeding them raw fruits and veggies.  While we've been known to eat our share of frozen nuggets and hot dogs in the past, these days I really try to stay away from processed meats. 

I need help thinking of easy nutritious lunches for home. 
Ideas anyone?  Leave a comment, and help me out.

As promised, here is Nester's "Imperfect, Flexible, Doable Meal Blueprint."
I have to go.  Someone is pulling on my arm asking, "What's for lunch?" 


  1. So funny about Wenxin gagging over cheese! Caroline has just now started eating it. It seems she started with "gateway" fake cheese foods such as Doritos and Macaroni-n-cheese, worked her way up to cold block cheese and now has started eating melted cheese in grits. She's not sure about pizza though which is a bummer! :) I struggled with what to send her for lunch at school for the first year. I think she took Ramen noodles almost everyday which made me feel terrible. We finally moved to peanut butter and jelly but then she developed a nut allergy. Lunch.... it's a struggle! I feel ya pain.

    1. Jodi, so good to hear from you! I have hope Wenxin may eat a little cheese in the future. He's had pepperoni pizza a time or two, but he asks me to make a section of the pizza with "no cheese" if I'm making it at home.

  2. I have always struggled with lunch as well. Many days I serve water rolls from Publix with cold cuts. It is easy, but the kids get bored. I wish more of mine would eat salad, as that would make things easier. I like your dinner meal plan. Sounds easy!

    1. Something wonderful happened somewhere along the way and everyone in my family decided to like salad! Sometimes we chop Publix fried chicken tenders in it -- usually when we've just been to the store.


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