I am now a SAHM but I wasn't always. Mornings can be rushed at the best of times but when you add the baby of the family NOT being a morning person it all goes bad pretty fast. I didn't have enough hands to deal with her morning routine and make sure that lunches remained nutritious at the same time. With a good sized family and food prices high we decided that it made more sense to buy in bulk. One morning after sending the kids off to school with money yet again for snack shop at school I decided that there had to be a better way to make things work. There was and I found it!
Here's what I did.
When we went grocery shopping with our list we followed our list and bought the things we needed in bulk. Made sure we grabbed the snack and sandwich baggies and cellophane and headed home. I sat at the table after all the things were put away except what I was working with. I got a big bowl and a measuring cup ( found this worked the best) and dumped the item in the bowl. It is way cheaper to buy party mix chip in the big bag then in the small 1 serving sizes. This goes the same for Ritz bitz, fish crackers, and anything you can think of. I would measure out the 1 serving for each bag for all the lunch items we brought home. Then I would got to the veggies. We buy these in bulk as well so I would go through the same process with them and do any cutting etc that was needed at this time. The next step was the cookies. If the cookies were store bought I would bag them up and put them in the same pile as the crackers chips etc, but if they were home made I would put them in a different pile (the freezer pile). Home made cookies squares and muffins don't taste as good if they are left out too long so all these items go into the freezer (still individually packed). For the main part of the lunch is use items like meat buns (bread dough rolled out like Cinnamon buns meat and spaghetti sauce spread on it or cheese and ham or what ever you can think of then roll it up and bake it in a muffin tin then I wrap them in cellophane), left overs in a reusable lunch container, I will even do a big cook and make a few different types of meals like beef stroganoff, spaghetti, chili, or stew. Basically anything that you can freeze I make it. They are all froze in lunch size portions just like the chef on the shelf at the grocery store. They get nutritious food that they like and it take no time in the morning. Don't want to do the big cook? No problem, just add a little extra to your pot at supper. Then instead of leaving it in the fridge for leftovers put it in the freezer for lunches.
So lets recap:
Buy in bulk
home made goodies go in the freezer (the baskets that sit in the freezer work great)
main items go in the freezer too
fruit and veggies go in the crisper (grapes and strawberries work well too)
divide up the rest of the items up into bins with the child, mom or dads name on it. Decide when it will be time to refill bin. Then let everyone know that there is enough snacks to last till then.
(this last step helps to keep sneaky fingers out of the snack box)
The most important thin that will help to make this work is to NOT pack away all of the snacks. Everyone likes to have a snack now and then and the bins poss a temptation on those days. So if you save some cookies for the cookie jar that will be hit first.
Hope this works for some of you!
ps. some or all of this would work for the home schoolers out there too.