The Lunch Line

School begins tomorrow. As you know, our family is a part of a Classical school that utilizes the UMS model. In terms of lunches, that's only two that I must prepare per week this year for my Grammar Stage kiddos. However, since efficiency is sine qua non to our very livelihood in this house, I opted to pre-package many elements of the kids' lunches this weekend, in preparation for the upcoming weeks. My goal was to involve the kids in making their lunches...then, involving them in the actual packing of their lunches. That's one entire thing off my list on away-from-home school days!

Here are some ways each of my kids helped out:

PB & Js: The 8 yr. old made a loaf-worth of PB&J (with almond butter) sandwiches, put sandwiches in baggies, and set them in the freezer.

Popcorn: I gave the 6 yr. old a scoop, and asked him to put 3 scoops in each baggie.

Crackers: I asked the 4 yr. old to count out 10 per baggie.

Pretzels: Another good counting game for the 4 yr. old.

Raisins: Clean hands were asked to put two or three fistfuls in each baggie.

Applesauce: We purchase tiny plastic containers, and fill them with homemade applesauce, or portioned Costco-sized can of applesauce. So affordable!

Carrot sticks: I peel and cut carrots, and place them in a container filled with water in the fridge. Carrots stay crisp and fresh that way!

Hopefully, when it comes time to pack lunches, everyone can pick three items and go!

(I realize that there are many conveniences in our modern age, including pre-sliced and packaged apples, individually packaged carrot sticks, and Lunchables. These ideas flow from a health and financially conscious standpoint.)

In spite of the fact that my kids have requested chicken curry over rice, or potstickers, or bacon-wrapped pecan-stuffed dates (don't ask), for lunch, I usually stick to the basics. On occasion, when I'm feeling extra generous, we do one of their favorites: scrap lunch. Do your kids like these too?

Recipe for Scrap Lunch:

a hunk of cheese, a few pieces of salami, dried fruit, a piece of chocolate.

Do you remember when my hubby made me lunch? Indeed, boys do not grow out of the Scrap Lunch.

What are some affordable lunches your family packs for school?