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Fed up of making lunch during lockdown(56 Posts)
Right then I need some help as am tearing my hair out here.
I am so so fed up of preparing meals 3 x a day. I love cooking but the prep, clear up etc is taking up all my time!
Can anyone help with some easy lunch ideas at least as usually we would all be out for that and it's driving me round the bend having to think about it.
DH- eats anything apart from fish
Me- eats anything but trying to do lowish carb/high protein Med style foods
DD- eats anything apart from sandwiches (I know )
Baby- weaning. Nearly 8 months.
Today I made a very basic sweet corn chowder for the baby as she hasn't tried sweet corn yet. Pasta for DH and DD. Salmon with greens for me. Then yoghurt with fruit purée for dessert. I feel like a chef.
Bowl of chopped salad? Add some chickpeas/cheese/chicken and/or rice/potato/quinoa if you feel the need. Baby could have cucumber sticks to chew and bits of whatever protein and carb you've added.
Carrot sticks dipped in hummus
Celery sticks filled with peanut butter
Soup? If dd won’t have a bead roll with it, then you could chuck in some pasta, noodles or rice and just make sure than your serving doesn’t have much.
My dc like minestrone and chicken noodle soup best.
This frittata goes down well www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/easy-cheesy-frittata
Get your DH to make lunch sometimes.
Soup. Bay can eat some before salt added, you can have alone or with cheese, everyone else with cheese and bread.
Today I would have just made sweet corn chowder for everyone
Blimey, I only prepare my own lunch, everyone else helps themselves... but I don’t have a baby!
Crackers & cheese
Leftovers from previous evening meal?
Perhaps the key is to make bigger portions when you do make, say, a soup, so it lasts for 3 days lunch.
Grilled chicken and green salad. Pop them in a wrap with caesar dressing for your dd and DH. Torn up chicken breast and bits of wrap would make good finger foods for weaning.
Our standard lunch is bread, cheese, salad and fruit. Sometimes pate or salami or smoked fish alongside eg. smoked mackerel fillets, smoked trout etc. I literally just make a salad whenever I have a minute throughout the morning and put stuff on the table to sit there under a teatowel till lunchtime (we have a v. chilly kitchen).
Other options include leftovers warmed up in the microwave, cereal, or Deliveroo sushi. If the kids don't like it, they can make ham or peanut butter & jelly sandwiches but they also have to clear up after themselves.
I can only cope with one hot meal cooked from scratch daily - not just the time it takes, and clearing up and the pots, but also the mental load of making decisions about what to have!
Things I make regularly for lunch are frittata, pasta dishes, salads like chicken Caesar, risottos, soups, quiche (although that's a bit of a faff to make), omelettes, etc. Sometimes I use leftovers, eg chilli with a baked potato. Also wraps if I'm feeling lazy!
I'm always surprised at how many people cook lunch. I can't be doing with that as a rule. Also, DH doesn't cook but he's perfectly capable of getting lunch for him and DD. At school she has a packed lunch of a baguette or ham sandwich, a baby bel, some carrot/cucumber/avocado slices, some fruit and a yoghurt tube so basically, she has the same at home with DH occasionally shaking it up by offering her eggs on toast or me providing a jacket potato.
I do make soup occasionally - in a big batch that lasts a few days - or heat up tinned soup. And we have the odd salad if there's appropriate leftovers to jazz it up. Once a fortnight or so I make a very basic pasta eg bacon and onion or just fried garlic and mushrooms.
But preparing a full lunch every day just isn't going to happen!
Oh, and like @Xiaoxiong I do try to add the odd bit of pate or smoked fish/meat to the shopping list most weeks to make the regular sandwiches for DH and I marginally more interesting than just cheddar cheese or peanut butter day in and day out.
I cook once a day and once a day only (and not every day at that). Lunches are diy and usually a sandwich or something on toast.
I can't remember what my baby had for lunch until they were toddler sized. Quite often something from a Hipp organic jar, probably. Or some little bits of home made puree that I froze. Or a mashed banana.
No way would I be cooking lunch AND dinner every chuffing day.
I occasionally make a quiche that they can help themselves to. We eat a lot of ramen, eggs, soup and leftovers. I don’t cook a meal as such at lunchtime - it’s something we can get through in 15 minutes and get back to work/school etc. I really am so bored of even my light lunch catering!
I'd look quite hard at getting a set of ideas where you can just produce one meal with variations rather than 3 different things.
We regularly have sandwiches (yes, I know carbs and one child wont eat them), and DH drops the bread and has a mound of salad with the ham/cheese/tuna/egg.
"On toast" - scrambled egg, beans, cheese or make mini pizzas.
Noodles (this is a DH one, somehow carbs are ok if he cooks.....)
Weekends - quiche, jacket potatoes, English breakfast.
A few suggestions:
- Batch cook and freeze purees for the baby. Don’t worry so much about tried and not tried. Just aim for variety overall. Also try puréeing a bit of what everyone else is having (do you have a stick blender?) or feeding as finger food.
- Is your older DC school age? If so then I would lighten up about carbs until she’s back in school (hopefully not long 🙏) It will make your life much easier as the things the whole family will eat for lunch do tend to be carb based. (other than soup but you can’t eat soup every day and even that comes with bread usually!)
- In the same vein perhaps you could allow lunch to have carbs but then have a low carb dinner. This may be easier assuming DC eat tea separately and are in bed when you eat dinner?
- Meals 3x a day? Tell DH he’s in charge of one meal a day. My DH cooks adult dinner after the Dc are in bed. After I’ve done lunch and DC tea I am not making another meal. If he’s working late I have a picnic of bits and bobs.
- Buy fruit yoghurt. No need for dessert after lunch anyway surely.
Will your DD eat pitta bread or wraps?
Pitta bread pizzas
I feel the same. Breakfast isn’t too bad. Toast/cereal
Fruit, yoghurt, breadsticks dip
Ham sandwich - mine don’t like them either but will eat when given
Sausage in a hotdog roll (I do onions etc for mine it’s lovely)
Mince and potatoes - I don’t add Salt so my 2 little ones had it whilst weaning as I have 2 older bots and I refuse to make more than one meal
Meatballs I put carrot and onion in (make extra and freeze - freeze mince too - or is lovely the next day)
Salmon and roasted veg
Chicken dinner - all my boys love this
However I don’t do all the cooking and yes I feel like a chef on occasion and o get tired of standing in the kitchen tripping over puppies and children. Make stuff you can pull out of freezer for days you are tired or not in the mood, cook extra so you make the most out of standing in the kitchen. And don’t make more than one meal / my 10 year old doesn’t like meatballs but loves spaghetti and cheese (weirdo) or I’ll take a mince out of the freezer. I’ve got a tiny kitchen so no space for lots of different dinners
I'd cook to the lowest common denominator, i.e. baby
Large batches of different soups, frozen in suitable portions, puree some for baby when defrosted.
You definitely nicely need to lower your standards.
Eggs on toast
Cheese, crackers, grapes, celery
Salad with or without pitta bread/a wrap/a baked potato/cous cous or some such
Leftovers from whatever last night's dinner was
Pancakes with yoghurt and fruit
Hummus and stuff to dip in it
No idea where that 'nicely' came from!
Could you just do double of your dinner from the day before and serve that at lunch?
Or you or your DH batch cook and freeze lunches for the week ahead every weekend? Things like shepherd pies, soups, chickpea and butternut squash casserole?
Alternatively divide meal prep up and your DH does lunch, you do dinner, and everyone except baby gets their own breakfast?
Or just have a rolling very simple plan of things on toast, cheese, sardines, scrambled egg, interspersed with samosas, pasties, sausage rolls - all served with easy bags of salad and batons of carrot, cucumber, mini tomatoes, radishes etc.
Or just lower standards further and buy some pre-prepped foods for lunches: frozen or microwaveable.
I'm fed up with it all too!
Take a look on the PON website they do some really easy fabulous things and no wacky hard to find ingredients. They have a section for batch cooking too which is a life saver!
I never cook lunch - only evening meals. Lunch is always sandwiches, soup, sausage rolls, or a shop bought pizza... houmous and falafel in pitta features very heavily. Maybe a ready meal if I find one reduced.
Standard lunch here is soup (homemade lentil or leek and potato), boiled eggs, omelette, beans on toast or leftovers.
A pack of noodles and put some veg in with it carrots, broccoli and baby sweet corn.
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