Little girl came to live with us at 4 years old. This meant that she would be starting PreK at the school I work at. Lunches were a whole new dimension. I mean I have packed lunches before but for myself or my husband. For me usually leftovers from the night before. With this wonderful addition, mornings were now filled with loads of activity. You know the routine. I am not a breakfast eater. I will usually have snack mid-morning with my students. Well, now there is a small human being that needs to eat shortly after getting dressed and she wants to eat EVERY DAY! What? I know, mind blown. Early on my husband and I learned 3 quick hacks. I hope they will help you as well.
#1~Did you know peanut butter and jelly sandwiches can be frozen? I shop the buy now die later shelf at my local grocery store. I get much better bread at a fraction of the cost. My husband had the task of building sandwiches loaves at a time-crust cut off! Once assembled they would be tossed in our deep freeze for use later. I always said I would never be the parent that day after day cuts the crust off. Well since we inherited this habit when she came to live with us it was easier to accommodate. She was severely underweight when she moved in with us and to get her to eat anything was a win! Peanut butter and jelly was one of the few foods she would eat. We also tried to pack her lunch the night before. Even if it was that morning the sandwich would thaw come lunch time.
#2~Pancakes. Pancakes also can be frozen as well. I would make a batch at a time and pull them out as needed. Along with freezing them, you can hide A LOT of stuff in pancakes! To get fruits and veggies into Little Girl I would use applesauce and bananas. I even got to the point where I was buying pureed veggies in baby food pouches and adding it. By the time you put the chocolate chips in and the syrup you can hardly taste the extras. I would add the extra fruit or veggies and then add milk a little at a time until you get the consistency of pancakes. Cook them as usual and freeze them AFTER they cool. They are easier to pull apart. I heat mine in a microwave for 30 seconds or you can use a toaster oven as well. One hint is to avoid green foods. I made the mistake of using a kale pouch once. Although she ate the pancake it did raise an eyebrow. The last thing I want is for her to catch on! Stick with neutral foods up to the color orange to avoid detection!
#3~Pizza cutter! If you are a parent to several younger children a pizza cutter will be your best friend. It is created to cut. Not just pizza. It can cut sandwiches quickly. It can slice up pieces of pancake or waffles. It can also cut up hot dogs and other various foods into bite-sized pieces quickly. I actually learned this hack while serving a pancake breakfast at our elementary school. We had a lot of little kids who needed food cut up. Enter the pizza cutter! A real time saver for moms or dads with lots to cut!
Do you have a hack that has saved you time, energy or sanity? I would love to hear it! As we navigate these daily waters of routine some days we are in survival mode and other days we are making good progress! Hang in there mom’s and dad’s!