This year has brought many challenges and changes but one completely threw me off guard; we kept running out of food mid-week for school lunches. I couldn’t seem to figure out how to make lunch food last all week. I knew I had to make some changes when my son told the neighbor we didn’t have any food in our pantry and I almost died of embarrassment.
I hate going to the store mid-week (with my toddler…). Everyone knows every time you’re in the store – even if for only 1 item – you are tempted to buy more for convienace reasons.
I called my mother-in-law for some input and shared with her that I almost felt like I had to ration the food but of course I didn’t want to do that. Her reply was, “Oh yes, you do!”
How did she do it?
She’d hide it…
Yes, in the house.
Most kids (and husbands ;)) operate on the assumption: out of sight, out of mind. They didn’t buy it so they’re not aware that they have it unit they see it. Everyone has “lost” a bag of veggies or pound of meat in their own refrigerator at some point – it’s the same concept but it works to your benefit.
Stock up on lunch meat and throw some in the freezer. Just take it out the night before.
I leave produce in the plastic bag it was purchased it (I save my eco-friendly bags for other grocery items) then shove it in the back of the fridge behind the stuff they can have. The stuff they can have is washed and put in a bowl, inviting them to eat.
I shove it way back on a designated drawer or shelf in the pantry. These is the “do not touch” area. Again, it’s very helpful to put other stuff in front that they can have. We actually have a whole shelf for free to take items. I make sure it’s full to reduce temptation.
It is magical how well this works. Not sure if it’s a sign of laziness but none of them ever take the time to rummage through the fridge or pantry. I really think it’s because they’re satisfied with something right in front of them.
This whole idea also gives the illusion that when the bag is empty, the food is gone. They know they’ve emptied the bag so they won’t ask if there’s more. But low and behold, when needed I can pull the back-up bag from my hiding spot.
I also buy really unripe fruit. We eat the time sensitive produce first (like strawberries and bananas) and when they’re gone, the more stable produce (like cantaloupe) is just about ready.
How do you make food stretch throughout the week?
Photo courtesy anotherlunch.com via Flickr Creative Commons