Busy parents understand what it is like to attempt to keep their children fed and happy over the long summer months. We find ourselves locked into the school year routine where we wake up, make breakfast, pack a lunch or load some money onto a lunch card and then at some point meal plan for dinner. Snacks are not a concern and there is no mid-day clean up from the kids lunch and snack. During the summer months everything changes. Kids seem to forget that they were able to make it through the day with only a simple bagged lunch and an apple or vegetable for a snack. They also seem to forget that cleaning up is something they are entirely capable of.

The first stop at the grocery store may still seem normal and routine. You find yourself buying all of the same food and snacks that you purchased throughout the school year. Your budget has not swayed. Mid-way through the week you realize things were not rationed out properly and you are running out of snacks. Summer stomach is a real thing that kids seem to experience. This is probably due in part to the fact that they are not desk bound and learning all day. Your children are up and out playing and burning a lot of their pent up energy. You probably bought 1 bag of apples every week so you could include one in lunch or snack. Your children are now consuming two to three apples every day in addition to everything else in the kitchen.

Grab a hold of your Folgers ground coffee and brew a pot because you are going to need it to stay in tune with your kiddos this summer. The plus side to summer break is the fact that you won’t be running around trying to get them ready and out the door or to the bus stop on time. You can now drink your coffee hot and from your favorite mug. You might need that added caffeinated boost to help get you through all of their activities but enjoy this time because summer really does fly by and before you know it you will be shopping for back to school clothes and supplies.

You can still ration out what they consume and work on a better meal planning budget. If you have the flexibility to meal plan you can tackle all of your kids lunches for the week by separating them into reusable and easy to seal take and go containers. Label each kids name and label the meal breakfast, lunch or snack. These containers are easy to wash and are also dishwasher safe. You can make oat meal, yogurt parfaits or hard boiled eggs to get you through the week. This will limit your prep and clean up time every morning and at lunch. Focus on your park, bike riding, fishing or day-trip time with your kids rather than meal planning and clean up. Make the most out of summer by not worrying about what the kids will eat 3-5 times a day.

By Laura