“Chow time”… again!
Keeping families fed can seem like a full-time job for homeschool moms! Three meals a day adds up to a lot of “chow time”! How can you stop chow time from derailing your homeschool day? Well, make a breakfast and lunch plan! When my sons were young, I had one or two plans. Now that they are older, they eat more and like more variety. Hubby also now works from home and eats at home. So, at this point, I have six rotations of plans. However, just beginning with one plan for breakfast and one plan for lunch is a great start!
Planned “chow times” save time!
Breakfast and lunch plans save me so much time! Because I have a plan, I don’t have to waste time trying to come up with what I’m going to make on the fly. I also don’t have to waste time going through my fridge and cupboards to see if I have the right ingredients to make something. Because I have a plan, I already used the plan when grocery shopping on the weekend. So, I know already have the right ingredients. Because I have a plan, I don’t waste time answering the constant questions of ‘what will we have for breakfast and lunch’. The plan is posted for all to see. Finally, because I have a plan, others can help. Since we all know what we’re having for chow time, others can easily help by setting the table, helping with prep, and/or making side dishes.
“Chow Time” Tips
To create your best “chow time” plan, follow these tips. First, set a breakfast time and a lunch time that is the same each day (if possible). Be sure to give yourself enough time to make breakfast and lunch by planning accordingly. Second, on days you know are busier (i.e. with activities, with work, with responsibilities), put the easiest things to make. Third, try to use things you can easily have on hand. Fourth, use set quick side dishes for lunch. Fifth, if you are going to have your kids help, train them. Sixth, consider a daily theme if you have multiple rotations.
How These “Chow Time” Tips Look in Our Home
Our set breakfast time is 9:30 AM, and our set lunch time is 1:15 PM. I give myself from 9:00 – 9:30 AM to make breakfast, shower, and get ready. This way, I can move my shower around based on when things need to go in the oven, etc. I know Mondays are busier, so I choose things I can prep the night before. Most of my recipes use ingredients I readily have on hand. For lunch, I have the same side dishes in each rotation; I only rotate the main dish. So, for example, though the main dishes change, Mondays always have green beans and cut apples for side dishes. All of my side dishes are quick and easy. Our kids can make all the side dishes and all the lunches. (Granted, they are older, so this was not always the case.) I put my time into making breakfasts they love, as I have more time in the morning. Finally, I keep a chow time theme by having an egg-based breakfast on Wednesdays, oatmeal on Thursdays, a chicken-based lunch on Mondays, a sandwich-based lunch on Tuesdays, etc.
Clickable and Printable PDFs of Our “Chow Time” Breakfasts and Lunches
Final “Chow Time” Notes
I hope this helps you consider making a “chow time” breakfast and lunch plan! Just start with one week’s worth of plans. Then, down the road make a second plan. Little by little, you will have a great rotation for chow time! Also, did you notice my hubby makes breakfast on Saturdays and Sundays? I love that, and so does he! If your hubby doesn’t cook, he can still get donuts or bring home muffins. Or, if you are flying solo, still make your weekends easier – paper plates, premade donuts, or pop tarts now and then are okay! Finally, use single servings of leftovers to make a quick ‘charcuterie board.’ Line a rimmed pan with tin foil. Put leftover ham/chicken/salami, cheese slices/cut up cheese sticks, a handful of grapes or quartered banana, a pile of nuts, and handful of several kinds of crackers, a box of craisins or yogurt raisins poured out, a cubed leftover muffin, a pile of pretzels – all work together to make a fun charcuterie board on Fridays!
P.S. Here’s the charcuterie board I just made for today! I used leftover oven roasted turkey (which I cubed), round Canadian bacon slices (which I quartered), two kinds of cheese sticks (which I cubed), two chocolate chip muffins (which I quartered and buttered), one banana (which I cut in thirds), one chocolate chip granola bar (which I cut in thirds), French bread (which I sliced), salad topper mix of dried fruit and glazed nuts (which I put in a cup with a spoon), Costco’s trio dips (which I used an ice cream scooper to put in each corner of the tray by the bread slices), and a handful of Cheeze-It and Club crackers. My sons LOVED it! They had such fun choosing and putting together what they each love best! Best of all? We used up our leftovers and the clean-up was as easy as taking the tinfoil off the tray, and washing the tray and little plates!