Do you have kids going back to school in August or September? Do you dread thinking of what’s for dinner since you will have all kinds of paperwork to fill out?! Or maybe you are a teacher and will not have time to think about meals the first week back!
That is where my Back To School Cooking Series comes in! I have been working on a Cooking Plan that will help guide you to make meals that you’ll be able to freeze for your first week back to school, or whenever you choose to make them! Plus you’ll have the knowledge to continue preparing more meals throughout the school year.
What’s even better, is that you’ll also know how to prepare healthy and tasty school lunches, which also can be a challenge. One way to do this is to get your entire family, especially the kids, involved to make this process a little easier. Have each one of them write down what they like to eat and what they don’t. (Within reason, no sweets or sugary drinks, of course.) You’ll be able to accomodate most of their choices, plus introduce new foods for lunch that can be portable.
My suggestion, would be to introduce anything new now before school starts. That way you have time to tweak the recipe or simple omit it from you plan. Lunchtime is not the time to have food battles with your kids. Save that for breakfast and dinner when the meal can be consumed at a more leisurely pace. If your kids eat away from home at lunchtime, chances are that “healthy” lunch is going to go to waste if they don’t like it. You still have some time before school starts to try out recipes. You’ll get some ideas from the Back To School Cooking Series that I’ve created and from other family favorite recipes that you eat on a regular basis. You can invest in zip-loc freezable containers that fit perfectly in school lunch boxes or bags and a thermos for foods to stay warm. (Target has a great selection and different sizes.)
Ready? Mom, it’s your turn. Compile a list of at least 20 recipes and put them together on your menu. It will be easy to use a four-week schedule similiar to the one at your child’s school. When school starts, use the menu three months at a time. At the end of that three months, sit down with your children and talk about what recipes you liked, the recipes you want moved from the rotation and what new ideas you have for your menu. Keep the menu visible on your fridge and you could place stars next to the recipes you liked. Rate them from one star to five stars. It’s that easy!
Here’s a sample of a four-week school lunch cooking plan:
Monthly Calendar of School Meals
Monthly Calendar of School Meal.pdf version
Have a list of side dishes to pack with lunch. Side dishes usually include a fruit, a vegetable, a small dessert (homemade of course) or a salty snack (pretzels, homemade snack mix, etc.) and a beverage. I usually stir away from including chips unless they are homemade. This helps round out the kid’s lunch meal. Some samples of side dishes could include: baby carrots, sliced cantaloupe, pineapple chunks, celery sticks, applesauce, grapes, hard-boiled eggs.
Snack items can include Granola Bars, Frozen Peanut Butter Bars, Crackers, String Cheese, Apple Squares, Popcorn, Snackin’ Mix (Some of these, I’ll share in another post.)
HERE’S A RECAP ON WHAT YOU’LL LEARN WITH THE BACK TO SCHOOL COOKING SERIES
- Budget-friendly recipes that help you feed your family conveniently and affordably. Many are around $2-$3 per serving.
- Deliciously simple recipes that range from unique flavors to traditional family favorites.
- Timesaving ideas that make it easier to get dinner on the table … pronto!
- How to start with three pounds of meat (chicken or ground beef or a combination of the two) and end up with three completely different family meals to tuck away in the freezer.
- Practical tips that ensure you get the freshest flavor when freezing meals.
- Simple and safe defrosting instructions.
- How to prepare healthy and tasty school lunches by creating Freezer Lunches To Go.
- Packed Lunches Tips and Hints
- A Variety Works Best
- Rounding Out Lunches and More!
How do YOU plan meals your family will eat?