Meal Planning Monday ~ Back to School Lunch Remix

This week’s post is by Kim Bergeron of Extreme Coupon Professors.

We have 180 days of school, that means 180 days of packing school lunches times 5 kiddos for me. Hmmm, how fun does that sound? With that being said, I plan on posting several tips this school year along with some creative, easy recipes. Hope it will make your school year a bit easier.

Let me get you started with a video HERE where I explain how to pack the lunches for a week in about 30 minutes. I get so many great emails by the middle of the school week from many happy moms.  Here are a few out of the P&J box ideas for you to try:
-Peanut Butter and Fruit Sandwich: replace jam with fresh sliced strawberries, bananas and/or blueberries. We like to use fruit swirl bread too.
-Peanut Butter and Jelly Ritz Cracker Sandwiches
-Make your own Uncrustables
-Peanut Butter and Jelly Waffle Sandwiches: replace the bread with your favorite flavored waffles or even pancakes
-Peanut Butter, Raisin and Granola Apple Sandwich
Let’s get away from sandwiches here and there, instead pack a child’s favorite- Homemade Chicken Nuggets. My kids love finding these in their lunches and it’s an easy lunch to put together.
Recipe: Cut your chicken breasts into cubes, bread them with Shake N Bake. We used the Pretzel Shake and Bake-the kids love it. Bake according to directions.  Slice Cheese Sticks in half the long way, core out an end of the cherry tomato and fit the cheese stick on top.
Another idea is to make Lunch Kabobs: cube the cheese sticks, rotate the chicken nugget, cheese cube and cherry tomato on the skewer.  Invest in a good thermal thermos for soups. We make Chicken Soup all throughout the school year.
Here’s my quick simple recipe: Use leftover chicken or cook up a couple chicken breast or thighs. Pour a carton of chicken broth in a pot and warm on the stove. Add your cooked chicken. Add veggies. I use diced carrots and usually 1/2 cup of corn. You can add some frozen mixed veggies if you choose. Then add your fun noodles such as alphabet pasta, bow ties or wheels. Cook until pasta is done.  Make your soup as hearty as you like it.  Pack a roll, soup crackers, goldfish crackers or Cheez-its. My kids like to add goldfish to their soup.
This is a tasty lunch for kids and it’s quick and easy to put together. We call these Inside Out Sandwiches.  We used Pillsbury Bread sticks, bake according to directions. When completely cooled, spread cream cheese on one side of the bread stick. We used veggie and chive cream cheese. We then take a slice of turkey, slice in half the long way, and twist it around your stick. I use one half of deli meat on each stick. Pack in a container and pack it in the lunch box.
One of my favorite pieces of advice is make it easy on yourself. Repeat the meals a couple times during the week and rotated your lunch menus every two weeks. This makes your grocery list easy for you, too.
I’m a wife, mommy and a lover of life enjoying everything from playing board games to cooking to traveling. Finding deals for our family has allowed us to do the fun things in life with enjoyment and less stress. When I find a deal I’ll always share it on my blog, Extreme Coupon Professors. Hop on over to see all the ways to save!