This is the third part of a series covering my experience with food insecurity. For the introduction to this series, please click here.
Lunch doesn’t really have a set time around here. It’s really just the moment when the kids realize that breakfast has worn off and it’s time for a “pick-me-up”. It is literally just the time between breakfast and lunch for them. Most of the time they even make it themselves as life skills are a huge part of our homeschool.
When I was a child, lunch was a sandwich. Chips sometimes accompanied it, but for the most part… it was a sandwich. Now during the school year, it was a bigger meal. We often qualified for free or reduced lunch. There were quite a few years that I remember being able to pack my lunch. It was still a sandwich, but there was also a snack cake and fruit.
Summertime, it was “sandwich and go”. We lived in a decent sized city and were what is now called “free-range children”. I read articles now about how free-range parents get arrested for their kids walking a few blocks to a park and I thank God that it was allowed when I was a kid (and no, times were not safer back then). We would go out after doing chores and have a set time to check in (why hello lunchtime). Then we would clean up our messes and go back out until our next check-in time. So we would scarf down a peanut butter and jelly sandwich before running back outside. I remember making my dad a bologna and cheese sandwich with mustard one Father’s Day and serving him while he worked on the fence outside. I was the only one who remembered that it was Father’s Day and it was the first time I remember seeing him fight back tears. Sandwiches may not seem much but when you don’t have much, they are love.
So my kids get sandwich days year round, but we also eat leftovers from the previous night. Sometimes the kids will make a light meal with leftovers being had for dinner. I don’t really make a huge deal over lunch.
Some cheap and easy lunch ideas are sandwich and chips, sandwich and fruit, sandwich and veggie, leftover dinner, ramen noodles (VERY RARELY), spaghetti, quesadillas, and soup and sandwiches. Lina is addicted to ramen noodles… please don’t judge. You don’t need expensive lunch meats all the time either. Believe it or not, no one has died from eating hot dogs or bologna. They may not be the healthiest but this is SURVIVAL mode. Heck, even a fried egg sandwich would be acceptable.
Now “cheap and easy” don’t always equal “filling”. So there is a snack time between lunch and dinner. The only rule I have is that they are not allowed to snack once I have started cooking dinner or one hour before dinner is to be done (for the crockpot meal nights).
Popcorn is our number one snack food. It’s cheap and it’s whole grain and it’s filling. I also keep some form of fruit (even if it’s canned) available for snack time. As well as carrots. You can get a pound of carrots for a dollar and cut them into sticks yourself. No need for pricey baby carrots.
The time between breakfast and dinner doesn’t have to be much to have an impact.
Please come back tomorrow to see how dinners can be done.