A Tuesday's Tip from Erin - FamilyEducation

A Tuesday's Tip from Erin

March 02,2010
Sweet Pea Chef
Jessica Efird

Jessica, aka the Sweet Pea Chef, is a former U.S. Senate staffer/weekend gourmet turned full-time mom/family gourmet. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband and two sons.

My friend Erin has it together. I know she would laugh at this notion, and would have a witty response as to why this is not the case, but does any mother of a preschooler/kindergartener feel truly “together?” When I wrote a post a couple months ago about packing school lunches, she sent me this reply. I asked her if I could post it verbatim, as it really offered some good thoughts on making school lunch preparation work well. So without further adieu, take it away Erin: “Hey, saw your post about the lunchbox stuff. I think those laptop lunch and bento boxes are cool, but I am just not sure that they would be right for me. I'll tell you what I've done all year and I think it has worked out really well so far and will probably stick to it. (You are welcome to do something different!!) I bought those hard plastic sandwich containers at Target ($1) and I have 2 of them, so I always have one clean. I put J's half a sandwich in it and then fill the rest with carrots, goldfish, etc to save space. I use a Lands' End lunchbag with her initials on it and stick the plastic container in it. (I also write a sweet note to her every day and stick it to the container) I have those long rectangular ice packs and put it up against the container to help keep the sandwich cool. Then ideally, I have 8+ tiny Glad containers and I fill them all at once with goldfish, pretzels, etc. and keep them in a big basket that I used only for lunch items. Then in the morning, I take down the basket and after making her sandwich, just grab whatever I think looks good. In my basket: small plastic containers of snacks (they need one every day) note paper and stickers to decorate fruit snacks or teddy grahams as an occasional treat napkins spoons/forks So, I have more of an assembly line. I grab an applesauce or thing of oranges from the pantry, grab whatever I need from the basket and shove it all in the lunchbag. I'll grab grapes and put them in a small plastic container as well. I mean, it's the same "idea" as the bento box, but cheaper, and more flexible in my opinion. I don't like using lots of plastic bags, so I use the reusable containers. I have maybe 15 of those small plastic round containers and just find it really nice to "grab and go". Cheaper than buying the individual bags of pretzels, etc. Hope that helps. I have no doubt you will rock at making lunches every day!!” Thanks Erin! SPC