Thursday, September 22, 2011

Homeschooling Hints & Helps: School Lunches (The Homeschool Version!)

So I don't know about you guys, but at times I am a wee bit jealous that I don't get to pack a cute little lunch for my kiddos everyday in a matching lunchbox. I decided this year to rectify that by trying to be more creative in the lunches I serve at home. We do also take our lunch at least once a week to Co-op, so I get to "play" a little there;) So here are some of the things I have been doing to keep lunch interesting at our house lately:

1) Muffin Tin Meals. There is a whole blog dedicated to this idea! I actually had thought of it before I saw it, however the images gave me the incentive to do it:) The premise is easy. You simply serve your child lunch in a muffin pan. I love that I have to think of so many different things to fill all the little holes:) I have been trying to do this every Monday.
This Monday's meal consisted of (from left top): Juice Box, Mini Corn Dogs, Ketchup, Applesauce, Babybel Cheese, and a mini Brownie. As you can see with certain foods I use muffin liners and with prepackaged food I don't. But the liners work great for ketchup, and since I spray painted this tins to match my kids school stuff they aren't super "wash friendly" . I cut the brownies with a cookie cutter so they would fit!
 P.S. I got my tins at the dollar store, score!

2) Food Service Baskets. This little plastic baskets have been one of my favorite ways to serve food for years! You can usually find them in a dollar spot at Target or Micheals. However they are usually red or yellow. I happened to be a TJMaxx last year and found a set of bright colored ones! I snatched those babies up:) These baskets are best with simple foods: Hot Dogs, Burgers, Corn Dogs, Wraps. Cause you can't fit a lot in the little baskets!

This day's meal consisted of Baby Burgers (sliders), cucumbers, and chips of choice. Plus V8 fusions to drink. The kids really like this method! As shown in the following exhibits;)
Ok I admit, even I LOVE to eat out of a fun little basket:) P.S. Do you notice that I am NOT drinking a V8 Fusion!:P That is the look I give my children when they play with my camera!
3) Bagged/Box Lunches. If you are on the web or Pintrest, you have seen the new craze of Bento Boxing. I never want to be one to be left out so I found a similar container at Target and have been using it on Co-op days since we have to bring a lunch. I LOVE these! Now I am not so creative that I shape everything and coordinate it with a theme. But I do enjoy filling all the little "spots" in the container with something fun,yummy & nutritious (however you will have noted by this point in my blog that I am by NO means a health-food addict, I merely strive to present "well rounded" meals).
This is what we took to Co-op yesterday: Mini Turkey & Cheese sandwiches on mini bread rounds, Grapes, Carrots & Dip (that is the little round container by the sandwich), Chips, Homemade M&M cookies, and a Juice Box. I even ate the same exact thing myself except of course the juice box:P
A few notes about this particular lunches "supplies". The lunch boxes are Ziploc brand and come in a set of 2 from Target. The little dip containers are my new obsession! They are Diamond brand, they come in a set of 50 cups and lids that each fit 2 oz of liquid. They are slightly pricey but SO worth it. They are fairly leak proof too! The fun little bread rounds were something I just spotted last time I went grocery shopping, and I am sucker for anything mini! They are Arnold Sandwich Thin Minis and come in a pack of 16. This lil cuties are only 50 calories apiece, and perfect for my non-bread loving children!

4) Cafeteria Style Trays. My mom had some of these growing up, and I remember thinking how fun it was to get served lunch in little compartmental plates:) So when I found these at Target a few years back I gladly began the tradition in my home. 
My Son felt obligated to oversee that day's lunch since it is one of his faves;) The kids were served mini pizzas (courtesy of Schwans), mandarin oranges, pudding & an orange flavored Izze to drink. So definitely not the most nutritious lunch, but for sure school cafeteria fare;)

And that wraps up all the different ways we inhale lunch at our house:) Hope I have given you some fun ideas for your own home. Feel free to comment with any questions or suggestions!

P.S. Thinking of trying to make this a more than occasional blog topic. I would share my organizing, scheduling, and curriculum thoughts. If you would enjoy this please let  me know. Cause honestly this blog was kinda time consuming if no one really wants to read it!;)


Clare said...

LOVE IT! I pinned some muffin tin lunches a few weeks ago- you always manage to actually do what I am just dreaming about. If only I were 1/2 as organized as you...I definitely love this topic, great pics and wonderful inspiration. Maybe you will be the one with the wildly popular blog and I can just horn in on a little of your success...

Rachel said...

Funny how kids love compartmentalized food :) I have seen so much of the bento lunches on Pinterest, but I always thought it was meant to look like asian food. I guess I didn't realize it was just food in little spaces. Most people cut it to resemble sushi or something like that. Anyhow...

Such a cute idea. My kids LOVE this kind of stuff. Another tip, if you want it, is to buy some shishkabob skewers (the wooden ones) and serve the kids ham/cheese cubes, or fruit pieces. They adore eating them off the skewers!

Lisa said...

What an absolute GREAT post about how to "excite up" boring lunches. I can't wait to paint the muffin tins! So adorable!

There were so many things about this blog that I liked: l. the topic 2. the photos, especially the one of you! You look great and I miss you so. 3. Izzys, I think they are great! 4. I had recently found the little mini sandwich thins and made sliders for dinner with them. It was the first time I actually formed a hamburger pattie in years. 5. the insight into your lunch time.

Thank you for sharing this. What a fun way to enjoy all the aspects of lunch.

Lisa said...

Forgot to mention that I really like the cute chest! (in the picture behind Gideyon).

JDaniel4's Mom said...

We love muffin tins too and Arnold's Minis too.

Mallory said...

Wow, your kids are getting so big.

kewkew said...

I've been taking a closer look at your blog. Love finding homeschool mom blogs. I love all the different lunch ideas. My children love our muffin tin meals. I would love to find some of those compartment trays just for something else different. And the little baskets are too cute. Thanks for sharing all your neat ideas.

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