Do your kids complain every morning that they don’t know what to eat for breakfast?
Is lunch prep a pain? (Also, who is making the lunches in your house?)
Do you get to dinner time and wonder, “What the hell am I making them tonight? Do I really have to feed them AGAIN?!?”?
If these are thoughts that have gone through your head, you are not alone.
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Back to Routine
Over the summer, our schedule gets more relaxed. The kids are all old enough to handle a late dinner and our meal planning tends to go by the wayside. As much as we don’t want the relaxed schedule and long days to go, routine is beckoning. I’m a sucker for routine, I must admit. It helps keep me sane.
Back to school also means back to meal planning mode.
Meal Planning Is Not Just For Dinners
We are all very used to thinking about meal planning as it relates to dinners, but in my house, it also has to do with breakfasts and lunches.
I know some of you will say that you give your kids limited breakfast options and they either eat or too bad. When dealing with a child on the spectrum, that isn’t always an option. The difficulty that I end up having is my kids will often choose not to eat, and that doesn’t work for me.
(I don’t know where they get their stubbornness from.)
Meal Planning Ideas – Get Your Kids Involved
Since it’s very hard to make a decision on an empty stomach, I sat down with my eldest (my guinea pig) and a blank sheet of paper. I made 4 columns: Breakfast ideas, Lunch ideas, Dinner ideas, Snack ideas. We then brainstormed foods that she would consider for each of the categories (she’s not my best eater). Some of the foods required prep, but I can work with that on a rotating schedule. I have prepared a free template for you to download to help you get started.
If you have more than one kid, I would suggest doing this process together, or you will start to feel like a short-order cook and it won’t end well.
Post your completed list somewhere that everyone can see, and when they come down in the morning, they have a place to go to get ideas – ideas that THEY came up with.
Some kids just need a bit of something small to eat in the morning before their brain can turn on and start making decisions. A glass of orange juice or some chocolate milk (my kids like this chocolate soy milk) is a great starter. That can be their go-to as soon as they come into the kitchen, and it can help them have a clearer mind to make other morning food-choices.
Finally, making lunches the night before (I recommend right after dinner is finished) will help your morning routine run MUCH more smoothly! If there are dinner leftovers, that’s a great place to start. Have the kids pack it up for themselves for the next day.
Wishing you all a great start to the school year!