An Organized October and Unprocessed School Lunches

This month I’m participating in October Unprocessed on Eating Rules. Today’s menu is a look at school lunches and what to pack for kids when avoiding fruit snacks, packaged cookies and juice boxes. Plus, how to manage busy home and work lives.

I admit that Friday is not the day to be planning a menu, but if you’re anything like me, you’ll be doing your grocery shopping sometime this coming weekend, so consider it a gift to get you thinking about what to put in those lunch boxes that doesn’t come in its own shiny packaging.

This week I shared some of 10 of our favorite unprocessed foods for school lunches on Eating Rules. I fully intended on then posting this lovely offering that same day. However, life interfered. I’m not talking about the kind of life that gets out of hand when you have four kids all going in four different directions, a full-time job as a freelance writer and plenty of other responsibilities piled on top of all that.

When life is crazy, I simply manage. Having a good memory works a lot of the time, but if I rely completely on that…I falter. Everyone does. No matter how impeccably like an elephant’s your brain may be, you’re bound to mess up sometime.

Luckily, when times are hectic, whether it’s as a result of travel schedules for work or unexpected ER visits and stays in the PICU, online calendars can make life a lot easier to manage away from home. They’re easy to pull up anywhere and can be shared with family members who happen to be graciously staying at your home while you are away.

As part of my work with Day-Timer and the Enough Time Moms group, I had the opportunity to try out the HomeLife calendar, which has been a great resource, both in the last month of travel and as my family made its way through another stay in the pediatric intensive care unit with Kjell.

I wanted to thank all of you for your care and support earlier in the week. We appreciate everyone who prayed for us, said kind words and thought about Kjell as he was recovering. For now, we’re back home, recovering and returning to life as normal, including many a packed school lunch.

Monday – Homemade bagels with cream cheese and strawberries, banana, cucumber slices, roasted pumpkin seeds

Tuesday – Red pepper hummus, homemade naan, cucumber slices, pumpkin pie fruit rolls

Wednesday – Homemade granola bars, apple, sunflower seeds, carrots and avocado ranch dip

Thursday – Hard-boiled eggs, cinnamon popcorn, dried mangoes, raw mini bell peppers

Friday – Frozen fruit smoothies, carrots, roasted pumpkin seeds, apple

The Preparation Shortcuts:

1. Plan ahead to use similar foods in your dinner menu. We love naan pizzas as a meal, and making a big batch of naan is just as easy as making a small one.
2. Hummus can be made ahead and stores for 4-5 days in the refrigerator.
3. Bagels can be made and frozen far in advance if you want, and it’s a fun baking project if you’ve never tried to make your own before. Otherwise, we love visiting our local bagelry here, too.

Last week from Food for My Family:

Strawberry Groundcherry Jam
Finding Health Through Food
10 Chili Recipes to Warm Up With
Fed Up with Lunch’s Mrs. Q Reveals Her Identity

For more menu plans:


  1. Simple & great lunch solutions Shaina 🙂

  2. I’m so glad Kjell is back home! We are definitely thinking about y’all, Shaina.

  3. Great food ideas, Shaina, thanks (and thanks again for your terrific guest post!). More importantly, I’m glad Kjell is back home and doing okay. Big hugs!

  4. I was just looking for an online calendar yesterday, so thanks for sharing that! Glad you are back home and I’ve sure been thinking about you and your family.

  5. So glad to hear Kjell is home and recovering, hope you all get some rest this weekend. Like how you start organizing on Friday for the next week, makes shopping over the weekend so much easier!

  6. I have to check out that calendar I have the bad habit of trying to keep everything organized in my head and that is not the best method.

  7. Welcome home, Kjell, Shaina and family. Lots of hugs to you all!

  8. Okay – so I gotta say it – nothing beats time saving in the lunch box trenches then this radical way to do it…..and it would work perfectly with your method!

  9. great ideas!

  10. Great job miss thang. I adore your commitment to health and happiness. 🙂

  11. I didn’t know your child was I’ll but I’m so happy that all is well now.

    Your menu sounds great and quite healthy. You’re lucky your children are so open to eating different foods like this. I wish I had raised mine on fish. My daughter at 22 is just now acquiring a taste for it.

    I hope you and your family have good health the rest off 2011 and 2012.

  12. So glad that Kjell is home now and you guys can get back to regular life. You always have such wonderful lunches for your kids. Thanks for the inspiration!

  13. Thank goodness Kjell is home. You are incredible. Humungous hugs.

  14. It is great to learn about homelife calendar. There were many instances that my memory failed me and this calendar is what I need. And great ideas for school lunches Shaina. Thank you for sharing.

  15. I hope Kjell is doing better!!

    I’m the worst about keeping it all in my head. Need better planning strategies.

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