Last summer, I nearly lost my mind.
I loved being home with my girls. I did. But I HATED cooking meals three dadgum times a day. WHY ARE YOU SO HUNGRY? Can’t you just eat another banana??? Plus, at the time, The Engineer was a new 1 year old, and she couldn’t eat so well on her own anyway. But I didn’t know what to make those kids for lunch. We basically survived on sandwiches and chicken nuggets.
This summer, I swore to get my act together and only eat sandwiches and chicken nuggets once a month. Because, as they are not Chick-fil-A nuggets, I can only eat dino-shaped chicken nuggets so many times (Chick-fil-A nuggets, however, I could live on).
First, I got paper plates. LIFESAVER. Yeah, it’s not so good for the environment, but it’s good FOR MY MENTAL HEALTH. I love being able to basically scoop everything up with one hand and toss it all in the trash.
Secondly, I made a deal with myself that we would go out to eat for lunch once a week, at least by Wednesday. I wanted to say Friday, because what better way to celebrate making it to the end of the week than a greasy hamburger and fries (or Chick-fil-A??)? But that’s the thing – if it’s Friday, hooray!! I’ve made it! But Wednesday – that’s not a great day anyway. Why not make it a little better by going out to eat fast food?
Lastly, before summer started, I made a list of non-sandwich and non-chicken nugget lunch ideas. Now, let me remind you – I have a 5 year old and 2 year old, and if The Engineer even thinks we’re making food, she is underfoot, trying to climb on the stove, and crying for food. I promise, we do feed the kids. She just has zero patience. Z.E.R.O.
So my list – don’t judge it based on health. Judge it based on cheap, easy, and fast. I can whip any of these together quickly (and I mean in 5 min or less prep work – 20 minutes ain’t cutting it in our household), and the kids and I will all be satisfied with what’s on our plates – ahem, our paper plates.
Lunch ideas (main course)
* Quesadillas and salsa (customizable and easily cooked!)
* Mac and cheese and deli meat
* Frozen pizza
* Turkey and cheese crescent rolls (could also transform into tortilla roll ups)
* Taco salad (basic: meat, cheese, tomatoes, tortilla chips)
* Pigs in a blanket
* Hummus and pita bread (I LOVE hummus, because most MDO’s/daycares don’t allow peanut butter due to allergies, and this offers a lot of protein. Plus, The Engineer LOVES to dip things, so this gives her a healthy dip.)
* Rotisserie chicken and rice
* Frito pie (can of chili and fritos – what’s easier?)
* Ramen noodles (old college fav introduced early)
* Lunchables (What is it about lunchables that kids love?? The Artist always thinks she’s being spoiled when I pick one up for her)
* Hot pockets
I also have a list of sides that aren’t chips or French fries (we’re SO healthy over here…) because my kids want a solid three-course meal at nearly every sitting. Because, you know, spoiled.
* Fruit salad
* Salad with ranch (the only thing that makes my kids eat salads)
* Jell-O cups
* Box pasta salad
* Broccoli with cheese
* Pretzel sticks with peanut butter
* Corn on the cob
* Nuts (not that my kids eat nuts, but make yours do)
* Hash browns
* Canned veggies
* Apples with PB
I know summer is basically half over now, but maybe this will help you survive the rest of summer, too!