We are to that point of the year when the kids are gearing up for school. Literally gearing up. There is a pile of supplies sitting in my office waiting for their new home at their respective schools.

Moving from a public school to a charter school has a few implications beyond just the classroom. First of all, there is no bus transportation default, so if Bubs is napping and I can’t get to the school to pick her up, I can no longer just throw her on the bus to walk the last block home. If I’m not able to get Peanut’s lunch together I can’t just fall back on the (disgusting) cafeteria lunch account to cover the day. I’m already doing the math on how to keep Bubs’ nap and get to Peanut’s school, but the lunches are going to be trickier. The popular (and costly) option is a catered lunch program where you can buy restaurant meals for them that are delivered to the school for their lunch period. I can’t imagine that would be a healthy option, but I haven’t really seen what the options are there. Instead I am going to try to systemize lunches for the family.

Basically I try to get one of the following groups into every lunch (or for Peanut, who will be packing her own lunches this year for the first time):

  1. Starch
  2. Dairy
  3. Protein
  4. Fruit/veggie
  5. Sweet

Then when I get groceries I try to have 2-3 options under each food group to select from each day. I’m not going to pretend that my kids (or my husband) will eat all those intricate bento box lunches you see on Pinterest. Here’s a better idea of what I keep on hand:


Sandwich Bread

Pretzel Sticks



Ritz/Saltine Crackers

Little Bites Muffins

Graham Crackers

Cheese Nips


String Cheese

Sandwich Cheese

Yogurt Tube


Sandwich Meat

Peanut Butter


Leftovers (usually chicken)



Cucumber Spears + Ranch

Small Salad + Ranch



Apple Slices



Bite-size Candy

Chocolate Chips