Instagram mom of 16 shares simple trick to a mess-free lunch

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Moms don’t necessarily hate cooking for large families. It’s the cleanup that’s the real kicker, right? You stand over a hot stove cooking all your family’s favorites only to be left with a gigantic mess and cleanup. It’s hours out of your day that you could be saving. Is there any way to get around the cleanup and still have a family meal? One Instagram mom says “yes!”

So, most moms have seen the meal planning advice. You make careful grocery lists that map out a week of meals. Head off to the grocery store to collect the meal components. It’s even helpful if you can create a menu to post for the family so they know exactly what to expect. You then prep all of your items – clean, wash, peel, or anything else that needs to be done pre-cooking. After that, the plan can go several ways. One option is that you just have everything ready and stored in the fridge to begin meal assembly when the time comes. Another option is to pre-cook three days worth of meals on your day off and heat them up during work days;l, leaving the other two days to be simple meals like sandwiches.

The above meal planning is fine and all, but it still doesn’t really address the cleanup for mom, though. Sure, you save a little time in prep cleanup, but you still have dishes from the actual meal. There must be a better way?!?

Meet Jeni and Ray Bonell. These two parents have one of the largest families in all of Australia, and, with 16 kids, they’re considered a large family by anyone’s standards across the world. So, how does this busy mom handle lunch dishes with this many plates on the table? She gets it off the table. Hold that thought.

It’s kind of ironic that Jeni didn’t want kids when she and Ray got married. Now, they have nine boys and seven girls ranging in age from 30 to five. That’s a lot of mouths to feed. The kids easily eat a couple of loaves of bread and up to six liters of milk per day, according to dad. They can wipe out a pantry in mere minutes, he says. Even with rotating chores, mom has a heavy burden in getting meals done efficiently and effectively. So, how does she do it?

Jeni is an avid Instagram user, documenting her family dynamics for her 8,000 followers. One look is all it takes to see that this is one busy and nifty mom. So, it takes a little ingenuity. And, Jeni being a cancer survivor likely made it all the more important to get her family fed without tiring herself out too much. Jeni recently gave her followers one of her tips to getting lunch dished out without the dishes, writing “just feeding the kids.”

In the past, Jeni has shared her pictures of cereal alone completely filling the car’s boot, simple meal ideas, healthy meal ideas, and even how she manages her own meal planning and shopping. But, a fan-favorite tip came from one of Jeni’s Instagram posts on a lunch trick she uses to cut out the dishes without sacrificing family meal togetherness.

This nifty little trick is so simple that you’ll wonder why you haven’t long ago been doing it.

Jeni cuts a large square of paper. It’s put down on an open floor space. Cover the paper in chips. Add your sandwich, pizza slice, or other dish-free lunch menu item, or you can simply use this idea as a mess-free way to serve finger-food snacks. The kids surround the paper buffet and eat away! Simple. No mess. No dishes. Plus, the kids can all easily access the chips. Instead of scattering to their own corners to eat, the kids can all easily sit together and discuss their day and meal.

What an amazing family and a great tip!