Call Me The Summer Lunch Lady


I can’t be the only mom that is dreading her summer grocery bill! And this year, between grocery prices and my growing children’s ability to devour food, I have been really worried about how we will keep up.

Obviously, during the school year, they are able to eat on a schedule without starving to death. So why is summer so different? Then it dawned on me, the answer is pretty simple, and it is kind of my own fault. The problem is the access they have and the overwhelming number of choices I give them in the kitchen during summer.

When they are in school, eating school breakfast and lunch, the school gives them a few choices, and that’s it!

They can’t come and go from the cafeteria and grab snack after snack. They have the small snack I pack them and then their choice of breakfast and lunch.

It’s when they get home to our open pantry that all of a sudden, all control has left them, and they are eating everything in sight. So to save myself and to keep us all from just mindlessly snacking all summer long, we are going to make some changes and see how they work for us this summer.

Change #1

Mom’s kitchen is no longer the kitchen; it is the cafeteria. And unless we are doing a craft or it is meal time it is off-limits.

Breakfast will be from 8:30-9:30 (I mean, it’s summer, I’m not waking them up at 6; I gotta give us a tiny break)

Lunch will be from 11:30-12:30

Snack time will be from 2-3 pm

Change #2

I will be coming up with a monthly menu for breakfast/lunch and snack time. There will be two options for each, and that is it. You can select one of the choices, and that is it, no negotiations or substitutions. (Obviously, I am picking options I know they like. I’m not trying to serve new or unfamiliar foods here. Just make sure they are eating whole, nutritiously balanced meals instead of snacks all day.) 

Related Reading: Creating a Summer Meal Capsule

Change #3

Extra snacks cost. Just like at school, if you want an extra snack with your lunch, it is going to cost you. Since my kids are smaller and don’t have cash just floating around, we will probably do some sort of chore exchange or let them earn Monopoly money that they can then trade in for their extra snacks by reading books, doing chores, etc. This change will probably need some tweaking along the way.

But I think this is the perfect way to test how much they REALLY want that extra bag of chips. Or are they just eating them because they are there, and available?

Change #4

Weekends will still be more relaxed and have more flexibility. But, this will not be when we eat everything in sight. You must make yourself real foods and not replace meals with 18 snacks because if something runs out before it is time to go to the store, I will not be running out to replace it.

These changes I think will really help our house! I’m curious how do you handle summer snacking?

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Jennifer is a Coastal Bend Native, born and raised in Ingleside. She began contributing to the Corpus Christi Moms Blog in 2018 and stepped up as the Community Engagement Coordinator in 2019. She is happiest when she is crafting, writing, or doing anything artistic. She loves music, especially ANYTHING from the 90's, and is often seen dancing around the kitchen to Nsync while cooking dinner. She is married to Derik and has two kids, Connor and Keeley (pronounced Key-Lee). Jennifer still feels like a novice when it comes to parenting and enjoys letting other moms know they are not doing life alone. She also admits she watches copious amounts of Netflix, but balances that out by reading to and with her kiddos as much as possible each day.