Tuesday's Tip: Make One, Make 'Em All - FamilyEducation

Tuesday's Tip: Make One, Make 'Em All

September 21,2010
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.

It is hard to believe, but we are nearly one month into first grade for R. This year, so far, has gone incredibly smooth, a lot more smoothly than I had imagined. Sure, some days R comes home exhausted, and therefore, grumpy, but most days, a little down time and a snack are all he needs to cure his “phew, I had a long day at school-itis.” As an aside, it is amazing to me how much he eats and drinks at lunch can affect his after-school mood. On the rare occasions when he is really grumpy, I’ve looked to find a barely touched lunch or a water bottle that is still full. I have to remember that he is only 6, and sometimes he gets distracted or forgets to eat a full lunch, but I keep trying to gently remind him how important eating a good lunch is without hounding the poor boy. Amazingly, after a good snack and drink, his mood transforms back into my usual happy little guy. While R adjusts to eating lunch at school, I am trying to adjust to making and preparing lunch every night. With our early morning deadline to make it to the bus, it is essential that I make R’s lunch or at least the majority of it the night prior. If he takes something that is going to be warm in his thermos, I pack all of his other items, and merely heat up the item before packing it up too. This whole “make it the night before” has saved me so much stress, I do not even want to imagine. But even my best planning sometimes goes a wee bit awry, like last week when I was packing R’s lunch into his backpack and felt a little fuzzy headed. I zipped up his lunch bag thinking, “there doesn’t seem to be as much as usual in there.” Minutes after he left for the bus I found his diced kiwi (his current favorite fruit) in the fridge and threw shoes on G and I, as I ran after SPH and R to deliver the missing fruit. All of this is to share that while it has only been a month of packing lunches, I can’t believe it has already been a *month* of packing lunches for this mom. I’ve learned a thing or two, and one tip another mom recently shared with me, I wanted to share with you. Today’s “Tuesday’s Tip” is this: When you pack your school-age children’s lunch, go ahead and prepare your younger child(ren)’s lunch as well. This will give you a great deal of flexibility the next day. If you decide to go to a park during lunch, you already have a lunch packed! If you want to go on an outing, lunch is ready. And even if you stay home, what busy mom wouldn’t love a lunch at the ready to give their child? If nothing else, it can help your younger ones help feel connected to their older siblings, a very good thing indeed. SPC