We have all sent our perfectly imperfect kids to school. Praying and hoping that they will have a great year. They will learn something new. They will make great new friends. They won’t get bullied. They will eat their lunches. They will make safe and healthy choices. They won’t get shot at school. All these things are on my mind every year.
As school is in full swing, so are the activities. Soccer, dance, art, piano, hockey, etc.; we moms and dads are running around town going one place after another. In between, we are trying to console the kids if they had a bad day or cheering them on for a great job. Long summer days are past us. Even though kids are in school, the days somehow become shorter; working, cleaning, cooking, volunteering, preparing for activities. And my biggest woe is now food.
With after school activities and homework, I struggle with dinner time. There is no stability for dinner times in our homes anymore. Some days it’s four in the afternoon, and some days it’s eight at night. Some days it’s a gas station or drive-throughs, which I detest. But what do you do when you have kids who are starving as I lug them around. I am sharing this because it has driven me crazy. I thrive when there is consistency. Anything short of that is chaos for me.
I expressed my woes to my in-laws and friends. After much discussion and research, this is what I have started to do. Any moms/dads have better ideas, please let me know.
Firstly, I have invested in heavy-duty hot cases and sturdy cups for shakes. I own two food Thermos and stainless steel bottles with inbuilt straws. I also own a bento box for snacks. One for school and one for on-the-move. Kids can eat hot meals between activities. I also carry extra straws in my car, just in case.
Secondly, I have resorted to meal planning. Kid centered meals. Being Nepali, I also feed my girls Nepali Food. I always cook Nepali food since my husband works from home. I usually make varieties of bean curries almost every day.
Our regular weekly meals are : ( I change them according to season a bit, but during the school year I stick to this.) Every meal has a salad. Just because.
- Monday – Breakfast night. Bacon, Eggs, Hashbrown.
- Tuesday – Taco Nights.
- Wednesday – Spaghetti sauce with cheese ravioli.
- Thursday – Black bean burritos.
- Friday – Broiled Fish and Veggies.
- Saturday – Chicken Noodle soup in bone broth.
- Sunday – leftovers or make your own panini night. I cook or prep Nepali/Indian food. Lots of sauce, curries, beans, and lentil soups.
Besides Breakfast and Fish, I make enough for two dinners.
ON THE RUN MEALS
If my kiddos have activities straight after school, I pack them hot meals that I have cooked for the day in the Thermos. I also have a mini thermos for ice-creme. The girls love it. I pack snacks in a Bento box on Fish nights since I can’t pack fish in a Thermos.
Here are some meals I pack on the go and for school lunches. I pack almost the same food for myself too. I eat dinner on the sidelines of the soccer field as I cheer my kids or wait for them to be done with activities.
- Chicken Noodle Soup
- Green Smoothies or Fruit Smoothies
- Cold cuts, cheese, olives, and fruit bento box
- Salsa chips and veggies with dips
- Dumplings (momos)
- Bahn mi Sandwiches ( I use tofu and bacon because my kids are fussy)
- Fried Tofu and seaweed
- Fried Rice with Ice creme for desert
- Chicken Makhani (Butter Chicken Curry) and Rice. (My girls love it)
My girls like the same food. We will change it when they want it. Meal planning has made life much easier for me. The girls will wake up and say – it’s taco nights today. Can I chop the vegetables? They like the meal routine. For us adults, I will make something fancy here and there because I love trying new foods. For them its always whats planned.
What do you think? Any suggestions?