My oldest son is a busy high school student. He doesn't have time to eat like I think he should and he, of course, gets tired of hearing me nag him to eat better. So I thought, instead of fight it, I'd work with it. He loves peanut butter and jelly sandwiches but sometimes just doesn't have the time (or doesn't want to make the time) to make the sandwiches himself and I won't do it for him…. he really is old enough to make his own lunch, ya know. Every now and then he might get a pass from me and I'll make him lunch – but not often these days.
The goal was to make lunch making more convenient. I wanted to find a way to help his sandwich making time become less inconvenient and my need to see him eat a bit more satisfied. So I set out to determine how long a sandwich will last and still pass as worth eatting by a finicky, rather-go-out-to-lunch, kid. Plus I wanted to make sure he's eating decent food, not just plastic wrapped junk. Granted, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches aren't nearly as healthy as other things he could be eating, but compared to his hit or miss eating habits, it's a step forward.
So the experiment begins. I made 2 full peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and cut each into 4 pieces. This gave me 8 sandwich samples to work with. I put each piece in a plastic zipper bag. Then I stored 2 in the cabinet, 4 in the fridge and 2 in the freezer. My kids love uncrustables, but I won't buy them often. I waited until the next day and we tasted one sandwich from the fridge and one from the cabinet, both passed as “fine”.
We continued to wait a few days and then taste more sandwich samples. Tonight we finished the rest to see how they tasted days after prep. 5 days after making the sandwiches, the ones stored in the cabinet tasted fine, but the bread was starting to go stale. The sandwiches in the fridge were ok, but again the bread was not all that great – and the jelly was starting to soak through. The sandwiches in the freezer, however, turned out great. We pulled them out of the freezer and let them sit on the counter about an hour. My son said he was happy with it and starting frozen would end up completely thawed by the time he ate lunch.
YAY! Success. Not nearly as fun an experiment as if we grew mold or watched baking soda volcanoes explode, but useful none-the-less. Now I just need to get him to stop for 10 minutes and make a pile of sandwiches once a week so all he has to do is grab a few and head to school. Progress is good.