School is just around the corner! If you’re like most moms, then thinking about making and packing lunches for your children is a looming task.
There is nothing worse than running late in the morning and trying to figure out something you can send with your children for lunch.
If you’re flustered, this article will help you stay organized and get rid of some of the stress of prepping school lunches.
I used to fight it, but I have long since given up on forcing my kids to eat food that they really aren’t that into. I loathe it when someone tries to force me to eat something I don’t like or want to try. I figure my kids have the same feelings as I do about being forced to eat something they don’t want to eat. And when it comes to food, I have learned to not be as picky. (Pick your battles as parents)!
Here are some tips for keeping organized and not stressing so much over school lunches.
Make a List
Figure out what your kids actually eat! While I like to try other cuisine, I know my kids usually like sandwiches, spaghetti, and mac & cheese the best.
The key is to find lunch foods that your kids will eat that are also easy to pack. My kids LOVE fruit! So easy to pack and they will actually eat it. Other suggestions would be sandwiches, wraps, or finger foods.
Make sure you have appropriate containers, grab your list, and go shopping. I will shop a week at a time. This means that I don’t have to scramble so much during the week days when everyone is swamped with work and events.
To make it easier, I separate out my list by how the store is spaced. I put all the dairy/cold items in one column and canned goods in another column. It is a lot easier to shop and keep track of where I need to go next.
Plan at least an hour and prepare the food you have planned for lunches. Have Tupperware containers for each kid, once for each of the five days of the week. It seems like a hassle but it’s a lot easier to have the lunches pre-made and ready to go.
Plan and put the food together for the week. This way, all you must do is grab the lunches you want for the day before you head out the door.
The best place to start is to get your children involved. If they are old enough, they can even be in charge of making lunches. Not only do you know that they will pack something that they will eat, but they will learn responsibility by being in charge of something.
The night before
Put out reminders so that lunches and other supplies aren’t forgotten. I can’t tell you how many times we have laid things out and planned, but we had to dash out the door and our plans were forgotten.
If the kids are older, give them the job of grabbing their own lunch. That way, you have more than one person thinking about it in the morning.
Clean in the evening
Get the kids into the habit of cleaning out their lunch boxes after dinner. Less work for you, and it’s good for the kids to know how to take care of themselves. Having everything clean and ready to go will make it easier to pack later on.
Of course, you want to encourage your children to pack and eat healthy as well. However, as we all know, forcing kids to eat ALL healthy foods can be quite the challenge. Strike a balance and compromise. Have the main lunch be something healthy, like a sandwich or a wrap. Then let them put in an extra dessert. Allow them to make choices. Your goal is to teach them to eat fairly healthy and make smart food choices.
These tips will help you create an efficient lunch packing routine. Have a plan! Get the kids involved! Make a habit of grabbing lunches in the morning and making one day a shopping run and prepping run. Not only will this make your life easier, it will allow your kids to have a sense of ownership over their food choices.
What do you do to make school lunches easy? Let me know in the comments below!!