4 Tips To Make School Lunches Easier
Imagine this—you’ve slept in. This now means that everyone in your home is running late. The school bus will be here in 10 minutes, and you haven’t figured out what to send for lunches, let alone getting breakfast ready. Where is Johnny’s other shoe? What happened to that backpack? Are all the school books and homework packed?
There is nothing worse than running late in the morning. On days like this you blow your food budget by buying lunch at school, or grabbing something at the pizza or sub shop and dropping it off at the school later for the kids.
If you find yourself flustered on days like this, look over these 4 tips. Then you can see how quick and easy packing school lunches really can be.
- Start with a list and go shopping
- Prep what you can as soon as you get home
- Pack lunches the night before
- Clean the lunch boxes as soon as the kids get home
1. Start With A List And Go Shopping
Sit down with your kids and come up with a list of lunches they like. Including your children will help them eat their school lunches more often. This list could include:
- wraps or pita pockets
- or even homemade lunchables,
but it doesn’t need to stop there. If you add a thermos to the mix, you can suddently pack reheated leftovers, homemade soup and more. The key is to find lunch foods and snacks that your kids will eat that are also easy to pack. Don’t be limited by just sandwiches—especially if your child is wheat intolerant or has other dietary restrictions.
Make sure you have appropriate reusable containers, and then head to the grocery store to pick up everything you need for the week. Don’t forget about snacks and drinks as needed. The list should make this much easier.
Once you have several different lunch ideas that your kids like and will actually eat, you can simply rotate through them and make the ingredients part of your regular grocery shopping trips.
2. Prep What You Can As Soon As You Get Home
When you get home from the store, keep the 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 them. Then store them in little zipper bags or reusable containers in the refrigerator. This way you can quickly grab and toss them in the lunchbox.
The same goes for things like carrots and even salads. Just don’t add the tomatoes yet—they will make the lettuce turn brown faster. Tomatoes need to be left separate and added at the time of eating. Cheese is another item that can be prepped ahead of time too. So look at the potential school lunch items and see what you can prep as soon as you get home from grocery shopping.
Prepping foods now will save you time later.
3. Pack Lunches The Night Before
Mornings are already busy enough. Reduce the stress on you and your family whenever you can.
Packing lunches from scratch first thing in the morning is not always the perfect time. Instead, make them the night before.
In fact a great time is to pack them immediately after cleaning up from dinner.
Get the kids involved and have them help with lunch prep and clean up afterwards. You can 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 preparing lunches while cleaning up after dinner.
You’ll 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.
4. Get In The Habit Of Cleaning Lunch Boxes As Soon As The Kids Get Home
To make lunch prep even easier, get the kids in the habit of cleaning out their lunch box as soon as they get home from school. Even the youngest can help with this. Have them toss any uneaten food into the kitchen compost. Bring the containers to the sink to be washed. Older children can easily clean their own containers, while you’ll probably have to do the washing for your youngest. Having everything clean and ready to go will make it easier to pack the new lunches later on after dinner.
Cleaning and washing lunch containers right after getting home from school allows the containers to dry fully before assembling tomorrow’s lunch items inside after dinner.
School Lunches Really Can Be Easy
Stick to these tips and 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. With that ownership of their lunch comes their excitement to eat it.