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Homeschool Lunches Ideas
There are a few things that I am vaguely sad that my kids will miss in not going to a brick and mortar school – the thrill of riding the yellow bus, and the surprise of opening your lunch from home to see what mom packed are two of them. While I wouldn't change the fact that I am homeschooling for a few things the kids miss, I do try to give them those experiences in our own way. Of course I feed my kids lunch everyday, and I do sometimes cut them into fun shapes and themes but I wanted a little more variety and healthy options (for some days) that is not to say we don't choke down a Happy Meal regularly while running errands. But I do get a little bit jealous for my kids when I see all these cool containers, lunch boxes, and creatively packed Bento type lunches.
Lunch Gear– I must admit even though my kids have no need of a lunch box I let them each pick one out to purchase. These are great for packing for a long day of errands, it helps me avoid the fast food line for convenience. We also use them for trips to the park, or some of our field trips. And occasionally they have even requested a packed lunch at home. I have also picked up a basket full of fun shaped and character covered containers, thermos's, and colorful baggies. Sometimes its fun to just break up the monotony of lunches, even for momma. Keep a pack of wooden skewers on hand- anything is fun on a stick and it only takes a minute to thread a fruit kabob or something like salami and cheese but the kids will love it!
Hot Lunches- Eating at home means you have the benefit of having hot lunches right as they are ready- soups, pasta dishes, homemade hot pockets ( ready made pizza dough rolled out, cut into small rectangles, stuffed with pizza or other ingredients, baked according to package directions- super!), chicken and yellow rice, etc. This means we can really stretch our dollar by heating up leftovers from last nights dinner so they don't go to waste. Target has 2 packs of rectangle divided plates for about $2.00 if you want to recreate the lunch room feel!
Themed Lunches– The easiest way to match lunch to your school themes is to start with cookie cutters. Lots of things can be turned into fun and delicious shapes with cookie cutters-sandwiches, pancakes, cheese, meats, fruit roll ups, tortilla's, and cookies are my standard go to items. From there I will add themed fruit gummy's, shaped crackers, and other small snack foods. Start with a good basic set like this and add as you go, I always look for them at yard sales and thrift stores- we have quite a collection now.
I will also pull out my fun containers and baggies for these. The Dollar Spot at Target is a great source for inexpensive sandwich and snack containers, baggies, and sports bottles.
This lunch is one I actually made for my toddler since we were learning shapes I included as many shapes as I could from food we already had on hand.
Convenience Foods- Even though we are home, homeschooling mom's know that doesn't mean we have all the time in the world to cook from scratch. Frozen pizza's, corn dogs, Uncrustable PB&J's, Hot Pockets, Spaghettio's- These can all be a lifesaver to a super busy day. If you don't want to serve processed meals all of these can be made from scratch in bulk, frozen, and heated up for lunch. A healthier alternative to the sodium and preservatives with just an hour or two of prep time. A quick search on Pinterest can provide you with a ton of recipes!
Snackers– If you have snackers on your hands like I do- preportion for quick snacks, don't miss a beat with your lessons. Pick up several packs of small Rubbermaid or Glad containers, place in the fridge with chopped fruit, cheese, yogurt, veggies and ranch, jello, and other refrigerator favorites. Use baggies to portion out goldfish, graham crackers, pretzels, popcorn, and trail mix.
Being at home for lunch doesn't mean you or your child have to settle for a hurried lunch eaten at the kitchen counter. A little planning, a few cool tools and containers, and you have the makings for fun homeschool lunches.