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Packing School Lunch

Avery had her first day of kindergarten this week and we were so excited to see her go to real school.  One of the things about “real school” is you have to pack a “real” lunch and doing that every day can get a bit overwhelming. I know you hear me, cause I read your comments! Here are 5 tips that are really helpful in simplifying the lunch-packing process.

Have the Right Supplies

Organize Supplies

  • If you can set aside a drawer in your kitchen to dedicate to lunch supplies its really going to make your life a lot easier to have everything in one place when you’re actually packing lunches.
  • Alternatively, you can store everything in a large plastic storage bin that you keep in your kitchen.

Timing

  • The only time you don’t want to pack your kids lunch is in the morning when you’re trying to get everyone out the door for school.
  • I have a lot of friends who pack lunches once the kids are sleeping. It allows them to be a little more organized and relaxed about the whole process, which always helps!
  • My favorite time to pack lunches is when I’m making dinner for the kids.  I have all my prep materials out; I’ve got cutting boards out; I’ve got fruits and vegetables and bonus: it saves on dishes!
  • The other thing to think about when you’re thinking about timing think about what you can make ahead? Surprisingly, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches freeze really well! You can make a big batch at the beginning of the week, then take them out and put them in your kid’s lunches. You don’t even have to thaw them.

Get Creative with Ice Packs

  • You can use things like frozen foods like grapes or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
  • My favorite thing is to freeze a smoothie.  If I make one in the morning I’ll freeze one for the next day. By the time your kid is having lunch, they have a nicely defrosted smoothie.  
  • The other thing you can do if you’re using a traditional ice pack is just to tape it inside your child’s lunchbox so they don’t throw it away.

Get Kids Involved

  • This can be as simple as asking for feedback on what they did or didn’t like in their lunchbox.
  • It can be about choice, for instance, what fruit they want in their lunch that day.  You just want to give your a child a sense of control over what they eat.

Learn Kid’s Lunch Style

  • Avery is my picky eater. I can’t give her a lunch box filled with all new, creative, and adventurous food; it’s just not going to set her up for success at school.  If she wants to eat the same sandwich every day at school that’s okay with me. I’ve come to terms with that.
  • I do try to introduce one new thing for lunch so maybe a different fruit or a hummus to dip her carrots in; something that will peak her interest but not freak her out.
  • Brooks is my more adventurous eater and I can get creative and offer him a lot of variety.
  • In the end, the goal is to learn your child’s lunch style so you can support it.

BONUS TIP: Lunchpool

  • There’s a carpool and really no reason there shouldn’t be a lunchpool! Get together a few friends and divide up who’s making lunch on which day.  Kids love getting an identical lunch to their friends. I personally love getting a couple days off from making lunch. The kids actually eat a little bit better when someone else is making their lunch.



Meg is a Co-Founder of What's Up Moms and the mom to three kids (9, 7 and 4). She wishes her kids asked for caramelized brussel sprouts and wild salmon salad every night. But most of the time, you'll find her whipping up a kid-friendly pasta or a sweet treat with a healthy twist. Her motto is: everything in moderation... except coffee. {{Privy:Embed campaign=591322}}