How To Pack School Lunches Like A Pro!
Summer break is over and the new school year has officially begun. This school year marks the end of an era for us aka 5th grade. Watching your kids grow up is one of the best parts of motherhood, it’s also pretty damn sad when you realize your baby isn’t a baby anymore. This time next year I’ll be the mom of a MIDDLE SCHOOLER!! It’s just hard to believe.
But anyway, it’s time to put my tissues away and get back into a school year routine. Part of that routine in many households is packing school lunches. My daughter doesn’t bring lunch every day but a couple of times a week. Packed lunches are a great option when your kid isn’t too thrilled about the lunch menu for the day or you just want a little more control over what your child is eating.
Of course, if your child has dietary restrictions or food allergies, packed lunches are a MUST.
Packing a lunch everyday doesn’t do any good if your child doesn’t eat it or ends up trading most of it away for junk food. How many times have you packed a lunch for your child thinking they will love it only to find at least half of it still chillin’ in the lunch box at the end of the day? Quite a few times for me. The key then is to find things that your child loves and enjoys eating. Packing a lunch allows you to include food your child will actually eat and it doesn’t have to cost any more than what you would be paying for lunch at school.
The best place to start is to get your kid involved. Depending on the age of your child, you could even put them in charge of making their own lunches. I let my daughter pack her own lunch but I usually have to go in and swap a couple of things out so she doesn’t end up with a lunch box full of snacks. Letting your child pack their lunch also teaches them responsibility, win-win!
If you find yourself flustered or end up buying school lunch because packing it seems like too much of a hassle, take a look at the tips below. They will help you get organized so fixing lunches becomes quick and easy.
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Make A List And Go Shopping
If you are one of my O.G readers you already know how much i love making a list. Maybe it’s just the mom in me but they really help me get organized when I have what feels like a million things to keep track of. If you haven’t already grab my FREE Mom-ing Like A Boss Bundle
Sit down with your kids and come up with a list of lunches they like. This could be something simple like sandwiches and wraps, or even homemade lunch-ables, but it doesn’t have to stop there. If you add a thermos to the mix, you can even pack reheated leftovers. The key is to find lunch foods and snacks that your kids will eat that are also easy to pack.
Make sure you have appropriate containers (very important), then head to the grocery store to pick up everything you need for the week. Don’t forget about snacks and drinks. The list will make this much easier. Once you have several different lunch ideas your kids like and will actually eat, you can simply rotate through them and make the ingredients part of your weekly shopping trips.
When you get home from the store, keep lunch foods out and see what you can do to prep things ahead of time. Instead of putting that bag of grapes away, go ahead and wash and store them in little baggies you can grab and toss in the lunch box. The same goes for things like carrots and even salads. Just think about what you can prep as soon as you get home.
Pack The Night Before
Mornings are super busy and not always the perfect time to have to worry about packing lunches. Try making them the night before. A good time to pack is after dinner at night, you can get the kids involved and have them help with lunch prep and clean-up after. Store cold items in the fridge and have everything else sitting in the lunch box ready to go. It won’t take you long to get into a rhythm of prepping lunches while you’re cleaning up after dinner. You’ll really appreciate this new habit in the mornings when all you need to do is grab a couple of things from the fridge and toss them in the lunch boxes.
Clean Lunch Boxes When The Kids Get Home
To make lunch prep even easier, get the kids into the habit of cleaning out their lunch box as soon as they get home from school. Even little kids can help with this. Have them toss any uneaten food and bring the containers to the sink to be washed.
Older Kids can easily clean their own containers. Having everything clean and ready to go will make it easier to pack the new lunches later on.
Your goal is to get them to eat fairly healthy and make smart food choices, not restrict all access to junk food, causing them to trade with friends for the “forbidden Twinkies”.
If you stick with these simple tips I promise it won’t take you long to get into an efficient lunch packing routine that will make it a snap. Don’t forget to get the kids involved and put them in charge of much of the preparations. Not only will this make your life easier in the long run, it will give them a sense of ownership over their lunch.