Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Free or Reduced Lunch (aka "Surprise Lunch")

I don't mean to make light of the program for school-age kids which provides a free or reduced lunch, but my kids and I frequently eat a home version of this. At least once a week, sometimes 2 or 3 times, our lunches are compilations of various leftovers and odds and ends. This makes our lunch virtually free because we are eating leftovers from another, "planned" meal and/or eating something I might have thrown away as "too small" or "not enough" to save. My mother called these "surprise lunches" when we were growing up; her creativity and enthusiasm concealed the fact that she might have been postponing a grocery trip one more day or siply didn't have enough lunch food. We kids were none the wiser. Surprise lunches were our favorite!

This works especially well for preschoolers who like to eat small bits of various things and don't have a preconceived idea of lunch being a sandwich, chips, and fruit. Nearly anything can constitute a surprise lunch. Here are some of our recent compilations (there is usually 1-2 of each item with the exception of super-small items like raisins). And, let me assure you, no one goes away hungry! There is usually something left at the end on everyone's plate.

Pecans, craisins, carrot sticks, chicken strips, pickles, and cookies (each person got a small clump of the ingredients on their plate)

Herb bread with butter/honey, leftover carrot and cucumber sticks, 1 apple split 4 ways, large pieces of yogurt-cheese pie with strawberry sauce (the "pie" is no more sweet than sweetened yogurt you might buy at the store, but the kids think it's extra special!)

Bread with butter and honey, cheese cubes, apple slices, cucumber sticks

What are some of your favorite preschool lunch combos?

No comments: