All of my children have always taken lunch from home rather than buy it at their school cafeteria. We’ve always offered the option of purchasing meals at school at least once a week, but they’ve all said that what they bring from home is far better than what they could ever get from school (which was not always true – I worked in a school kitchen for over a year when we lived in Portland, and plenty of the food was very tasty and nutritious, especially from the salad bar).
So, with YaYu heading back to school this week, we’re back to not only figuring out what’s for dinner, but what to put into her lunch each day, because she absolutely refuses to eat the food they put out at her school. She is a big eater too, especially because of her involvement in sports, so menu planning now has to go beyond “what’s for dinner.”
All our kids have thankfully always been willing to take leftovers for lunch, so with that in mind our dinners going forward will be ones that will either create leftovers, or make enough to set some aside for YaYu’s lunch. If we don’t have leftovers, we have things like chicken flautas, or macaroni and cheese that we can fix for her. She has a Thermos to carry hot food, so Brett heats the leftovers in the morning and along with some fruit and a snack, she’s good to go.
We keep things as green as possible too when it comes to lunches: YaYu has a stainless steel container for the occasional sandwich, carries stainless steel cutlery from Goodwill or reusable bamboo chopsticks, we tuck in a cloth napkin, and she’ll get a third year of use out of her lunch bag this year. She also carries a 32-oz Hydroflask water bottle (that she won in a contest!) along with her for water throughout the school day, and that she refills at school for after school hydration.
We actually didn’t use leftovers for her lunch today – I made inari zushi (seasoned rice in fried tofu pouches), a special treat, and we included a fresh peach, a Choco-Pie for something sweet, and a Lara bar for her afternoon snack.
Here’s what we’re having for dinner this week:
- Tuesday (this evening): Spaghetti w/meatballs & marinara; garlic toast; grilled zucchini (I’ll have my meatballs and sauce over the zucchini)
- Wednesday: Slow cooker barbecue pulled pork sandwiches; coleslaw (no bread for me)
- Thursday: Black pepper chicken thighs with mango, rum and cashews; steamed rice; cucumbers (I’m skipping the rice)
- Friday: Leftovers
- Saturday: Cheeseburgers; onion rings; wilted cucumber salad (so sad – no onion rings for me!)
- Sunday: Scrambled eggs; bacon; toast; fruit (no toast for me)
- Monday: Panzanella (bread salad) with garbanzo beans & feta cheese (I’m substituting lightly steamed zucchini for the bread)
We’ll need lots of cucumbers from the farmer’s market this week, as well as tomatoes, but otherwise we’ll be getting fruit as we have everything else on hand.
(photo credit: Andrew Scrivani at the New York Times)