Planning School Lunches
Transitioning from the lazy summer months, to the busy school year can be a huge adjustment for the whole family. Purchasing school supplies, loading backpacks, organizing schedules, and of course, packing lunches. Packing a lunch may seem simple, but Mom’s and Dad’s know that it can often be a headache. The challenge is finding items that are affordable, quick, healthy, and perhaps the most challenging, something that your little one will actually enjoy! We have a few tips on how to stay organized as you lunch-plan this school year.
1. Store It
Storing “grab and go” lunch items in one concise area can make things much easier. We suggest having a container in your pantry with items such as mini bags of pretzels, fruit snacks, or goldfish, and a separate container in your fridge with cold items such as mini bags of grapes, pre-made deli meat roll-ups, and cheese sticks. You know your child’s favorites, so stock up on several different options for each container to provide variety.
2. Love it? List it!
This may sound silly, but make a list of all of the different items your child likes to eat. Have separate columns for veggies, dry snacks, fruits, proteins, etc., and hang it in the pantry. If you little one is old enough, let them plan their own lunches each Sunday afternoon to get ready for the week. We love this free printable from www.SportsMomSurvivalGuide.com!
3. Plan It
Each weekend, take an hour and plan out lunches for the week. This is the time to wash fruit, put nuts and raisins in baggies, bake spinach balls, or make deli meat roll ups. Use bento boxes, muffin tins, or Ziploc bags to separate each item and make it easily accessible. Label everything by the days of the week, and presto, you’re done!
4. Pack It
With steps 1, 2, and 3 done, packing should be a breeze. We suggest investing in high quality food storage containers, ice packs, and lunch box that your little one will love. With the right planning, storage, and organization, packing lunch before school should be as simple as grabbing a container from the fridge and heading out the door.
5. Make It Sweet
Maybe you aren’t the kind of parent who can make a sandwich in the shape of Elsa with carrots carved to look like Olaf, and maybe you are! Either way, sending something with your little one to let them know you thought of them is a great way to brighten their day. We suggest adding a quick and simple note or joke to your child’s lunchbox. There are several different resources for free printable notes (thank you Pinterest!) for you to use. Here’s one of our favorites: http://www.kristendukephotography.com/printable-kids-lunch-jokes/