In my recent post about how I do monthly meal planning, I mentioned that I do weekly breakfast and lunch planning. This is not for my own meals, but for the kids meals each week. This helps me during the morning rush, and also when I need lunchtime to be quick so that we can get back to school if necessary. We generally stick to the same options for these meals, so it’s more a matter of looking at what we are having for dinners so as not to repeat certain types of foods in the same day. I know, I’m special. For instance, I don’t make macaroni & cheese on the same day I plan to serve spaghetti for dinner. I will also look at the week’s dinners, and if I know that I typically have leftovers from a certain dinner meal, then I use that as lunch for the next day. Or breakfast in the case of our breakfast-for-dinner meals.
The Rotating Options
We typically stick to the following for breakfasts Monday through Friday: Oatmeal + Fruit, Eggs + Toast/Bagels, Cereal + Fruit (with honey too!), Yogurt + Fruit, and any kind of leftover breakfast items from our “Brinner” nights. For lunches Monday through Friday it rotates between some of these: sandwiches (PB&J or Deli), macaroni & cheese, turkey hotdogs in crescent rolls (that should be croissant), pizza bombs, dinner leftovers, chicken nuggets (yes, frozen chicken nuggets), warmed naan bread with hummus and veggies, snack tray assortment (various veggies, fruits, cheeses.. a kid’s charcuterie board)… you get the picture. I serve every lunch with a fruit and vegetable. I serve most breakfasts with at least a fruit. I personally eat a lot of vegetables with my breakfast, but I haven’t done that much with my children unless it’s in a smoothie. Do you serve vegetables at breakfast? Let me know in the comments!
The Visual Menu
I keep a small chalkboard menu on my kitchen counter and I plan the week of kid’s breakfasts and lunches on that. This way I can see it throughout the week and I am prepared, but also, my kids (those that can read) can see it and know what to expect every day. Bonus: My 8 year old sometimes starts making breakfast before I get to the kitchen! In the example below, Thursday’s breakfast is leftovers from Wednesday night where I have Overnight French Toast Casserole planned. I always make two batches so there are plenty of leftovers for the next morning. These can always be changed around, but I don’t do a la carte meals for my kids (with few exceptions here and there). It’s the whole, “You get what you get, and you don’t pitch a fit” mentality.
Now, my kids all eat fairly well for their ages, but like all children they have their likes and (strong) dislikes. For instance, my six year old will eat raw tomatoes and cucumbers, but won’t touch a carrot. My eight year old will eat raw carrots, but won’t touch a raw tomato or cucumber. My four year old will eat all of that plain or with hummus. My two year old will eat most of that if it’s in my homemade vinaigrette. So, when it comes to vegetables I do take some extra steps and give them what I know they will eat without complaining. I figure if they are eating vegetables, I will cater to that for those instances. Do you find that your children won’t eat things as they get older that they used to devour when they were younger? So frustrating.
Now, having said all of this… there is absolutely nothing wrong with winging it everyday or cereal every morning for breakfast. I’m pretty sure I ate cereal most mornings growing up, and my husband (who doesn’t actually eat breakfast) would LOVE it if he could have cereal (ahem… Captain Crunch) every day for breakfast. I’m just sharing the system that has worked for us for several years now. It has definitely helped my anxiety about what to serve and keep variety, what to buy at the store, and how to maximize our grocery budget. I know the basic staples we need for each week for breakfasts and lunches and I just make sure to add the things we are low on to my list. It is extremely rare for us to have to run to the grocery at any point between our weekly visits. There are times I can stretch to every week and a half. I tried doing a two week trip, but I just didn’t have enough space in one shopping cart and we didn’t have enough space in our fridge/freezer. I would love to be able to shop for two weeks at a time in the future though!
How often do you grocery shop? Are you a one and done gal like myself, only going to one store? Or do you like to visit 2-3 places to get everything you need? Do you plan out your breakfasts and lunches for your kids? Let me know in the comments!