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I hope you all had a good Easter (and enjoyed some good Easter music)! We weren’t able to be with family, but did spend the afternoon enjoying fellowship with some friends from church. And of course, we had a large variety of food, which is necessary to celebrate any holiday properly.
Feeding people is one of my talents and something I enjoy and take pride in. And that can be my downfall as well.
The feeding of the four
I can understand the concern Jesus’ disciples had when they had a large crowd of people and food was miles away; their hands grow sweaty and hearts start racing as they realize it’s lunchtime, they have five thousand people to feed, and… only one kid thought to bring food?!? (A boy after my own heart. If I had been there, I probably would have had a few fish and loaves hiding in the folds of my robe, but would have hoarded them to give to my five-year-old so she wouldn’t complain about being hungry and I could listen to Jesus in peace).
Lunchtime at my house often feels like this. Fear and trembling. And I only have to feed the four of us.
Sanity Saver #1: Menus
Lunch at my house does not consist of everyone eating the same thing. Everyone gets to choose, within reason, what they’ll eat. I also have a five-year-old and an eleven-year-old who both have type 1 diabetes. They get shots every meal based on how many carbohydrates they plan to eat. So not only do we have to know what’s for lunch, we have to count the carbs and calculate the insulin needed (the 11-year-old does most of her calculations, but still needs some guidance).
For a few weeks after my oldest began insulin shots, lunchtime was chaotic and miserable. Kids were hungry and asking what to eat and how many carbs it had. As I would start to figure out carbs for one kid, I would get sidetracked by another question, and totally forget where I had left off with the first kid.
I knew that if each kid had a menu of choices that they liked, it would eliminate the need for me to explain what was available for lunch. Every. Single. Day.
So one morning when the kids were occupied with a project (part of my Sanity Saver from last week!) I went on Canva (a great free site where you can use professional quality graphics and just insert your text) and spent way too long looking for the right blend of cute graphics and functional layout. Then I spent close to an hour just typing in foods that my kids enjoy. After I finished the first menu, I saved it and used it as the template and tweeked the menu selections for the next kid, so each kid ended up with their own personal menu. I grouped foods into categories so they could see that there is something from each food group that they enjoy (even if I did have to add zucchini cake, greens protein shake, and corn as the only vegetables my oldest will eat).
Below is a sample of my menus. If you create an account at Canva, you can even edit this and personalize your own menus.
Sanity Saver #2: Prepping my meals for the week
I found that while I was helping everyone else get their meals ready, mine wouldn’t be ready until they were finished. And then I was tired and grouchy and didn’t feel like making something healthy, so I was eating late and not very well.
I went to Amazon and bought some Reusable Meal Prep Containers that were just for my lunches. I try to make five salads for the week, (with lettuce, spinach, other veggies, nuts or seeds, sometimes dried cranberries (yum!), turkey or chicken, and dressing) then I can grab one and eat, sometimes before my kids so I’m all done and can read to them while they eat.
The combination of menus for the kids and pre-made lunches for me has made a big difference in my stress level and the amount of time that we spend just doing lunch every day. Is there anything that you prep ahead of time that makes a difference in how your meal times go? Is there anything you would like to begin preparing ahead of time? How would it help you? We’d love to hear about it in the comments!