Lunch Wrap Up: Week of June 6th

The school year is two days shy of being over for the summer. I feel bone tired. These past couple nights I’ve allowed myself to go to bed early. It seems to have made my fatigue worse. Right now I feel like I can barely move.

By the way, I picked up our very first CSA box this week. I’m going to blog about it next week. I’ll tell you all about what vegetables we received, my son’s reaction, and what I cooked with what we have. We get our CSA box every other week and each time I blog about it, I’ll share a recipe that I made using veggies from our box! It’s going to change my life.

You guys often ask for recipes for things I make and I feel self-conscious sharing anything. I’m really just muddling through many evening meals. I feel that my cooking is not ready for prime time. I’ve decided there’s a hierarchy when it comes to cooking:

And here’s where I fall:

If I have someone to watch my son while I cook, I’m able move into the “jazz things up” level. Then there are days like I’ve had over the past few weeks:

We’re cooking from a package and even eating out when my husband works late. We do the best that we can most of the time! Here’s my underlying assumption:

And that is in short supply at my house!

Lunches below the break:

My son’s lunches
(Top left to right) potatoes, hummus, turkey bacon, pita,
egg, watermelon, blueberry yogurt with blueberries

Day care menu was: Ground beef, real mashed potatoes, broccoli in a cheddar sauce, diced pears with a hard boiled egg and yogurt as snacks.

Mini-sandwiches with turkey, spinach, and goat cheese; jello;
blueberries, olives, chocolate yogurt, breadsticks
That day was so hot I couldn’t send a soup with my son even though he loves it and the other kids were going to have some. Instead I sent what we use to accompany soup: breadsticks. Day care menu was: turkey on wheat, veggie soup, bananas with pumpkin bread and pretzels and cream cheese as snacks.
Blueberries, watermelon; muffin; crackers;
turkey burger; broccoli; butternut squash risotto

Day care menu was: Chicken and rice, diced carrots, applesauce with string cheese and crackers as snacks

Chicken, butternut squash risotto; spinach and dressing;
watermelon; muffin

Day care menu was: Diced ham, cheddar potatoes, baked beans, apple slices with an apple muffin and lemon Italian Ice as snacks. My husband and I decided my son could eat the Italian Ice. It was a hot day and it would have been hard for me to pack an equivalent.

Snack bar; chicken stew; corn; breadsticks;
watermelon; strawberry yogurt

Day care menu: Meatballs with pasta in a butter sauce, corn, watermelon with sliced provolone and yogurt as snacks. I believe that the day care has made big strides in their lunch offerings. I’m encouraged.


My lunches

Watermelon; spinach and blueberry salad; crackers;
eggs; blueberry yogurt; apple

I’m trying to eat more salad. I’m taking baby steps by eating “mini” ones.

Turkey and spinach sandwich; chocolate yogurt;
blueberries; olives, watermelon

Watermelon, ketchup; turkey burger; bar;
butternut squash risotto; spinach

That risotto was from a package. Yep, it was one of the rough nights (the day before).

Chicken sandwich; blueberries; coleslaw

Chicken stew; watermelon

I “jazzed up” a chicken stew recipe. It’s not my own so I won’t be sharing it.
Have a great week!

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10 thoughts on “Lunch Wrap Up: Week of June 6th

  1. I love that you pack stuff like leftover turkey burgers for lunch, Mrs. Q. I never think to do that. I could very easily cook an extra burger or two when I'm making dinner. I'm making a mental note to give it a try.

    I agree that the daycare lunches and snacks have improved. There seems to be more variety this week, too.

    Your butternut squash risotto reminded me that I have a bag of frozen diced butternut squash that's been hanging around for awhile. I could add some to rice pilaf or mac 'n cheese. So thanks for more inspiration, Mrs. Q!

    I think frozen vegetables are hands down the best convenience food ever invented. They're often cheaper than fresh, too. I make a big batch of roasted vegetables a couple of times a month. One of my favorite combos is eggplant, zucchini, and bell peppers. When peppers were $4.99/lb. here a couple of months back (even the green ones, ouch!), I bought 1-lb. bags of frozen red, yellow, and green bell pepper strips on sale for $1 each (regularly $1.49). Talk about a bargain, even when they're not on sale! It was a bonus that I didn't have to prep them, too. Just snip the bag open, pour them out, and you're good to go. If it wasn't for keeping frozen vegetables on hand, I don't think I would eat nearly as many vegetables as I do.

  2. I always make extra dinner to pack for my husband's lunch the next day. My son (3 1/2 years old) and I also eat leftovers for lunch on many days. No matter what it is I'm cooking, I try to make a lot. It gets used for lunches, a second dinner later in the week, or thrown in the freezer for a later day. Cook once, eat twice (or more)!

    I think the daycare lunches have GREATLY improved. It's awesome that you instigated that change for the children, Mrs. Q!

  3. Most nights, I think I'd fall in multiple places on your hierarchy – I do a lot of jazzing up of packaged foods. We buy a lot of frozen pre-cooked meat (grilled chicken strips and salmon burger patties are the biggest staples), because meat is the part of the meal that takes the longest to cook. I look for stuff with recognizable ingredients – Trader Joe's is good for that kind of thing. We eat a lot of salad – it's great to be able to just heat up some pre-cooked meat and focus on chopping all the veggies for a salad. I also make & freeze giant batches of homemade pasta sauce, so we can just saute some veggies (or heat up frozen ones), make pasta, and heat up some chicken from the freezer – dinner can get on the table in 15 minutes. And for lunches, I can throw pasta, sauce, and still frozen chicken & veggies in a tupperware, and they'll be defrosted by the time I'm ready to eat – and as a bonus, the ice from the frozen foods keeps the pasta sauce from getting too dried out in the cranky old microwave at my work! We're also in love with the fresh bruschetta you can find in the fridge case with the hummus. Bruschetta on good bakery bread covers our grains and gets some extra veggies, and just requires making toast!

    Cooking from scratch is great, but for anyone who's busy, having a repertoire of healthy, low-prep options is key.

  4. Love seeing your lunches. Thank you so much!!! Really, really encourages me and challenges me to reconsider what I send for my kids. And it has been so interesting to see the changes in the day care lunches. It was really obvious this week that they are trying! That is wonderful!!

  5. I'm curious about the "ground beef" from the daycare. It is on the menu every week. Is it seasoned? Or just browned up and thrown on the plate. That just seems peculiar to me.

  6. @Kim – if you can plan ahead, bell peppers are really easy to freeze on your own and they're pretty easy to grow (organically). Bell peppers are #8 in terms of worst foods for pesticides (Ref: 2011 EWG Dirty Dozen), so whenever you can go organic on them, it'll make a big difference.

  7. My son is in daycare and we pack his lunch. Once in a blue moon, a bit of his food will come home because he doesn't care for it.

    Friday, I realized how amazing that was! The school had a Summer Kick-Off "Cookout". This consisted of – they provide a hot dog, you provide the rest of the lunch. And they invited parents. I luckily work about 15 minutes from the school and was able to join them for lunch. My son polished off his lunch, like usual. But oh, to look around and see all that was thrown away! One kid had a prepackaged apple sauce with about two bites gone PLUS a whole apple with about 2 bites gone. Plus lots more he threw away. I was amazed by the amount of food thrown away as well as the amount of disposibles thrown away. (I guess the reason my son's food has come home is that it's not packed in a disposible container and so he just put it back in the lunch box.)

    It was quite an eye opener.

    Mrs. Q – I know you wonder how much your son eats and how much is thrown away and I couldn't help wondering if the other parents were aware how much of the food they sent in their children were throwing away, since it wasn't visible to them?

    P.S. And time didn't seem to be an issue, like it is in the public schools.

  8. Mrs. Q, you really are an inspiration to us all. I don't have children yet, but I really do aspire to pack my lunches to work – just as an initiative to keep my husband and I from eating junk during the rush that is lunch. I love how you compartmentalise everything and how neat it all is – I hardly think you just throw things together in the mornings and I'm sure we all know and appreciate how much thought you put into your menus. Please do keep blogging, you're awesome!

    p/s: I love your pyramid and wish I had more time to cook too! My dream job is to be a housewife, go figure! Hahaha..

  9. Many thanks for the suggestions, Marie. I'm keenly aware of the so-called "dirty dozen." Organic peppers are not available in my area at all times but you can bet your life that's what I buy when available. It's impossible for me to grow organic. I live in an end-unit townhouse and have plenty of garden space for vegetables but my condo association sprays our grass and needless to say, I don't want to eat those pesticides. If you live in a place where all of the dirty dozen are available as organics all the time, you are very lucky indeed. That's not the case everywhere unfortunately.

  10. Do all of the kids at your son's daycare eat lunch there or do a few like yours bring their own food? I pack my son's food for daycare (2-3 snacks and a main).

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