If you're a SAHM (stay-at-home mom) or a SAHD (stay-at-home dad), maybe you can relate to this. I don't think I'm overstating it when I say that I now despise lunch with every fibre of my being. I'm not talking about lunch with the girls - the patio, the frosty drink, the toughest decision required being what someone else will cook and serve for me; love those lunches. I'm talking about the everyday lunch. The "Mom, what's for lunch?" lunch. The, "What a lovely morning it's been. I guess it's time to go home and ...<sigh>... make lunch" lunch.
Ok, I can do this, I tell myself. It's just lunch, for Pete's sake. I've tackled far greater obstacles. If I let my son decide, it's actually pretty easy. "Jack, what would you like for lunch?" The answer is either (a) PB&J or (b) macaroni and cheese, without exception. (Okay, there's one exception. If I drive past a Wendy's, the answer is guaranteed to be "chicken fingers!!!!") If I thought I could live with myself, and if I could stand to eat it that often myself, we'd simply alternate between these two meals every other day. Problem solved. It's a good fall-back position, for certain. But surely, being the resourceful, educated woman I am, I can come up with something more creative. There's almost always something in the fridge and pantry that can be made into a meal, even if I haven't managed to get out of my PJs and to the grocery store in days. Ok, let's see, I've got a box of raisins, two fish crackers, and a hunk of celery. Done!
Maybe it's just me. Maybe lunches just aren't my thing. Other things are my things, and maybe I ought to focus my energy on them and feel good about what I do well. Lunch is just going to be one of those have-to things (like washing dishes, scrubbing floors, or cleaning peanut butter off of the cat) that we do so that we have time for the want-to things. Whatever your "lunch" is, may you find the strength to continue to do a satisfyingly mediocre job of it. Remembering to take time for the want-to things can help to provide that strength.
Here is a list of possible lunch menus - a personal gift from me to you. I hope you can find some inspiration here. I haven't included PB&J or macaroni and cheese in this list, because it is assumed that you will simply insert these into your lunch rotation at regular intervals. You'll notice that these suggestions are not particularly Martha-Stewart-esque. There are no fancy sandwiches shaped like dinosaurs or happy face pancakes on this list, but if you are so inclined almost anything on this list can be made to look less like food and more like your child's favourite Disney character. You are only limited by your imagination. If you're like me and have no lunch-time imagination, this list will help you to just get 'er done.
- brown beans, grilled cheese sandwich and cherry tomatoes
- ham and cheese sandwich with carrot sticks
- tomato soup, fishy crackers and cucumber slices
- mini pizzas - English muffin toasted with leftover pasta sauce, cheese and whatever else you enjoy (examples: pineapple, tomato, pepperoni, ham, olives, sweet pepper)
- cream cheese on a toasted bagel with fruit salad (slice some banana and apple and chuck in a few grapes - voila!)
- poached eggs and toast with veggies and dip (hummus makes a great healthy dip)
- muffin and a cup of plain yogurt with fruit (keep a bag of frozen fruit in the freezer - pop a few berries into a container of plain yogurt, store in the fridge, and enjoy the next day)
- egg salad sandwich (hardboil the eggs and store them in your fridge for up to a week) with peanut butter celery sticks (spread the peanut butter in the hollow of the celery stick - you can also use a soft cheese)
- and let's not forget leftovers - hooray for leftovers!
Let's do lunch!