Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Independence & Food Prep

Now that the boys are almost 11 & 12 (wow!), we are working on getting them to be more independent with their food prep & assistance with meals. They've been helping with dinner here & there (making salad, making pasta, etc), but either M or I have been making their breakfast & lunch. I've been wanting to get them more involved for a while, but M is a little bit more . . . specific about what they eat for each meal. We've now reached a good place, where we're all in agreement that the boys are old enough to really plan & prep their own meals.

I spent quite a bit of time with them this weekend, shopping & buying things that would be relatively easy to prepare, helping them make a menu plan, and prepping food (muffins, cranberry bread, mini frittatas, sandwich bread, etc). We also talked a lot about nutrition, looked up protein & calorie requirements for their ages, & I think we've all learned a lot.

Our grocery bill was higher than normal this week, thanks to all of the easier prep food, but I think it's worth it in the long term. We'll be able to eventually replace some of the top favorites with more homemade options, and it's one of my goals over time to also give them a budget to work with. We're not quite there yet. :-) Our picky eater has also started to realize how challenging it is to plan meals, which is a great revelation!

Today's breakfast was: protein/berry smoothies, pineapple & 1/2 a bagel with cream cheese.

Sam's lunch: tortilla soup + empanadas, & fruit, & a treat
Nick's lunch: leftover mac & cheese + fruit, veggies & a treat

I wish they made square thermoses! The round ones are fine for liquids, but not as easy for other food (taquitos, a grilled sandwich, etc). I've searched Amazon, and the only ones they make have terrible reviews. Does anyone have a recommendation?

I know this is a state of transition, so I'm trying to dedicate an extra 10-15 minutes each morning to help the boys get everything sorted, as well as to be patient that they may not get it right all the time. But, it's a good investment of time in the long term.

What about you? At what age did your kids make their own breakfast & lunch? We'll stick to family dinners, as I'm prepping one thing for everyone. Please share any easy meal options as well!


  1. I'm an enabler! Just for shear convenience, I do most of the meal prep, other than her picking fruit and making cereal, oatmeal, a sandwich, etc. Cold foods and reheat she is fine, but the cooking skills need to be learned.

  2. My 9 year old makes his own breakfast. Cereal, yogurt and a waffle, banana and yogurt, etc. We do lunches the night before (unless we are adding a hot item, that would be done in the am). My kids (4) have always made their own lunches starting around 6th grade and breakfast it just depended on the kid. I am happy to make breakfast but the little guy likes to do it himself.

  3. I don't remember when my kids started getting breakfast and lunch on their own. My oldest likes to cook & is an early bird, so she will actually get up and crack a few eggs, etc. My youngest is way less inclined to put any effort forward in the morning and pretty much eats cereal or smoothies unless I make her breakfast (which I sometimes do). As for lunches, they take a lot of leftovers and salads. Neither one likes sandwiches, but they will use tortillas for a roll up type sandwich or just meat & cheese rolled and stuck together with a tooth pick. Our schools have microwaves for student use in junior high and high school, so they can just pack leftovers with an ice pack and heat it in the microwave.

  4. I am a very lazy mother. I stopped making breakfasts and lunches for them when the youngest was about 7. They make bunches of pancakes/waffles and hard-boiled eggs on the weekends. Then they either eat oatmeal, grits, cereal, yogurt, fruit with the pancakes/etc or they make some bacon. For lunches, they either have leftovers, chicken nuggets, mac and cheese, soup, sandwiches, wraps, etc. Every now and then as a treat, I will make grilled cheese, but even that they started doing a couple of years ago. They are 14 and 13 right now. They have to help with dinners, but my husband or I makes those typically.