Large Family Lunches


A Guest Post from Katie at Simple Foody blog. 

In our family, lunches can be the one thing I’m always unprepared for. It’s generally just me and the kids, there are enough of us now that I need to actually prepare a large meal yet we ate breakfast only a few short hours ago and no-one is ‘starving’ as they like to tell me at dinner.

It’s an inconvenient meal, it breaks up the homeschooling rhythm, nothing ever ‘sounds good’ and the baby is generally ready for a nap and a lunch time meltdown is sure to come shortly. After months of grumbling about our lunchtime routine, I finally found something that works!

Large Family Lunches

Soup. We’re gluten-free in our home due to two celiac children and little boxes or packets of microwavable food just don’t work for our large family (and our budget, ahem). But soup….soup works. And I think it will work for you too!

Every Monday morning I make a large pot of soup during breakfast clean-up. This pot of soup would ideally feed your family twice (you’ll eat it for lunch on Monday and then again for lunch on Wednesday). Double or triple your favorite recipes to make this work for your family. Tuesday morning I make another large pot of soup during breakfast clean-up, this pot of soup will feed you Tuesday and again on Thursday. Friday we have a meal the kids help assemble: sandwiches, veggies fruit and hummus, or crackers and cheese. It’s a fun meal and since Friday is our errand day it works well with our schedule.

Why Soup?

Soup is generally frugal, easy to assemble, nourishing, and who doesn’t love the thought and smell of a simmering pot of soup. Once bowls are ladled up for the day I carefully pour what’s leftover into half gallon glass jars and store in the fridge for it’s appropriated day.

Large Family Lunches

Depending on the soup served depends on what I serve with it. A chicken and rice soup is generally hearty enough to be considered a meal all on it’s own. Vegetable soup or tomato soup are served with a slice of cheese toast (easier to make than grilled cheese and I use half the bread). A beef stew will be served with a veggie platter and on occasion I’ll serve our daily soup with a heaping bowl of home canned peaches or applesauce much to the delight of the children.

What are your favorite lunchtime meals?

14 Comments on Large Family Lunches {simplified}

  1. Hi Katie,
    It is hard to stop the homeschool momentum to make a lunch! Great idea! I usually do a large pot on Saturday for the weekend but never thought to make it for the weekdays 🙂 Thanks for sharing some time-saving and menu ideas.

  2. I give the kids a much-needed recess while I cook lunch. We usually have soup but sometimes when it is warm we have a salad bar.

  3. While I love this idea, as soup can be so easy and frugal, most of the year it is too hot for soup. Do you really have soup multiple times a week year-round? I know some people do, but we just can’t seem to get on board with having soup in the summer. I should make soup more often come fall. Especially with homemade chicken broth, soup can be very nutritious!

    • Lyss, I live in CT where it’s always cold! It’s chilly today and the kids are outside in jackets. Now when we lived in Texas I probably wouldn’t be making soup year round, but I would for most of the year, especially the school year. Salads are another great way to make an easy lunch. Prepare the night before and just pull out of the fridge when it’s lunch time. This may or may not work for everyone as some kids aren’t into salad, but my little ones love it.

      • Hmmm cold in CT…. I like that. Long hot summers in PA. And I’m not a fan of hot/humid weather. Even with central air, just don’t like the heat.

      • Ah! Thanks for replying. I live in Texas, so good to hear that you can relate! I’ve never lived where it’s always cold…central Texas is pretty much always warm! We only have two kiddos(so far), so lunches for us are usually sandwiches or leftovers. But I love having soup for dinner when it’s cold! It just isn’t, well, always cold here. ; )

  4. I am beginning to move this direction as well. I’ve always been in the mindset that a ‘real meal’ for lunch just takes so much time in preparation and clean-up… especially b/c if it’s sandwiches, my girls can assemble those almost unassisted. However, a warm ‘real meal’ makes the kids so happy and fills everyone’s tummies. And really, it isn’t that much more clean up. Plus we’re not having to come up with ‘sides’ for our sandwiches, like apples, which have to be sliced, and chips, which I don’t like to buy or feed the kids. So soups are coming into our lunch menu again these days, and I’ve also found that baked potatoes are a great option for lunch as well. And if we have chili for one of our weekly soups, then we can have chili baked potatoes on another day for lunch. And the bonus is I will have something prepared for my husband’s lunch the next day! 🙂

  5. I love the idea of making soups but I am NOT good at throwing them together. Would you be able to (or maybe you already have somewhere on your blog) share some of your soup recipes…Or guidelines, as the case may be!


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