If you have been looking at these meal plans for the last several weeks, you have probably noticed that lunch is not included on them. The absence is intentional. It isn’t that we don’t eat lunch; we certainly do. We’ve just figured out some strategies that help us avoid having to meal plan at a significant level for lunch.

The easiest and possibly hardest step has been putting our kids in charge of what they eat for lunch. It’s a gradual process. We start with getting them involved as young as possible (think preschool) with picking what they are eating and gathering supplies (if they can get to it, toddlers fetch really well!). This slowly progresses to having them put the non-main course part of their lunch in bags or containers. Eventually, we have them take over making sandwiches or even boiling water for pasta to put in a thermos for later.

Getting this to happen has taken time and patience. Each one of our kids has gained their current level of lunch independence at different rates. Sometimes, exhaustion or frustration gets in the way and we need to step in to help a little bit. And, yes, we still have to monitor the lunches to make sure that they are nutritiously balanced.

Sun. – Falafel (did you know you can use a cake pop maker to cook them?!), bourekas, Israeli salad

Mon. – Salmon (might try to use up some of the summer squash exploding out of our garden), french fries (we love making fries in the basket of our air fryer – lots of crunch and no extra oil), cut veggies

Tues. – Meat leftovers

Wed. – Pizza

Thurs. – Hamburgers, grilled corn, cut veggies

Shabbat Dinner – Fried rice, egg rolls, hot and sour soup, sweet and sour turkey (we’ve got a chicken allergy in the house, so there will be a twist on this classic Chinese dish), orange beef

Shabbat Lunch – Zucchini soup, lasagna, garlic bread, cut veggies, dips