Making school lunches seems to be one of those tasks that most parents loathe. No matter how on top of them you try to be, you may find yourself frustrated with what to make, lacking time and feeling overwhelmed by what to put in that lunch bag.
The truth is, there are ways to make lunch packing easier, faster, more efficient and even, dare it be said, more enjoyable.
1. Be Prepared
Make it a point to pack your child’s lunch the night before. This is especially true if you are not a morning person. In fact, you can spend time packing your little one’s lunch when you are preparing dinner as you probably already have the knife and cutting board available already. Make it a point to ensure you plan ahead, as that reduces any stress you may have associated with rushed school mornings and attempting to prepare a healthy school lunch.
2. Make it Easy
Focus on packing a balanced lunch for your little one by ensuring that you include a vegetable, a fruit, a protein and a carbohydrate. This way you know their lunches are well balanced and ready to give them the fuel they need to get through a busy school day. Remember that kids have a short attention span and a very limited amount of time to finish their lunches, so it’s important that you make it as easy as possible for them. Using a bento box allows kids to see all their food choices without having to dig around in a lunch bag or force several small containers open.
3. Keep it Simple
Don’t overthink lunch and aim for variety throughout the week. Lunch doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be enjoyable and healthy for your child.
4. Use Leftovers
Who doesn’t love the ideas of taco night leftovers made into a delicious wrap to enjoy at school? Just remember, if it was a winner during dinner time, it will be a winner during lunch. Not only does sending leftovers please the kids but it simplifies lunch and makes it so much easier for you.
5. Talk to the School
When school starts for the year, find out how long they have to eat their lunches each day and ask about any challenges children usually face at lunch time. For example, lack of time, hard to open lunch boxes etc. This will help you to ensure you pack the right kind of lunch.
6. Use a Sponge as an Icepack
A sponge acts as an ice pack in a pinch. Simply soak the sponge in water, place in a plastic bag and freeze overnight. Not only can ice packs be expensive but the seem to be lost rather easily. Creating your own icepack is a great idea.
7. Preheat the Thermos
No one wants a thermos full of lukewarm food for lunch. So to preheat the thermos, fill it with boiling water. The added heat will help to make sure that the thermos’s contents will be hot until at least lunch time.
8. Use Silicone Muffin Liners
Sometimes little ones just really hate it when their food touches. Silicone muffin liners work as perfect little dividers for food. Not only are the malleable and soft but they will fit into any space and are also waterproof. This will fix the food touching issue once and for all.
9. Let the Kids Help
Let your kids help pack their lunches for school. When children help to create their lunches, they are more likely to eat them than if they hadn’t. Not only that but it gives you a bit of a break and teaches them how to do it independently. Just start small by allowing them to prepare and pack one snack and then try more from there.
10.School Lunch Programs
There is no shame in taking part in weekly pizza days, pasta days or sub days. If the school offers lunch programs a few days a week take advantage of them. This will give you a break from school lunches a few times a week.
There are many ways to master the school lunch. It doesn’t have to be difficult, just keep it simple and don’t forget to plan ahead.