The hardest part of going back to school is the grind of packing lunches day after day, while ensuring something resembling a nutritious meal is consumed. Honestly. The whole IDEA of having to start up with the lunch packing again has me feeling irritable. In our house most of the lunch is packed the night before and the kids all have a say in what goes into the lunch. Although it seems easier to just finish the job yourself, remember that ownership over the lunchbox will increase how much of the lunch is actually eaten and not tossed in the garbage! This year, I’ve sworn I’m not packing anyone else’s lunch but my own so… I’ll let you know how that works out. In any case, here are my top time saving lunch ideas and packing tips to get your school year started like a pro!
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In any case, here’s how we pack lunches in our house.
A well designed lunch bag is critical. I prefer top loading lunch bags because they keep everything upright during transport. The one in the link has a front pocket that fits a freezer pack perfectly. I’ve had ours embroidered with their names on top, because with three kids heading out the door, well labelled lunches reduce the likelihood of the wrong lunch getting grabbed and desperate phone calls at lunch time!
We’ve invested in quality reusable lunch supplies. Having reusable supplies is better for the environment, costs less and makes food taste better! A good thermos makes packing a hot lunch a snap and a handy spork can be used for every meal. I recommend you buy a bunch of sporks, they’re inexpensive and you won’t go insane when your only have three spoons left in your cutlery drawer! And these ingenious sandwich wraps make life so much easier and save maybe a thousand plastic baggies over the school year!
Label everything. Now that you’ve spent all that money on reusable supplies, be sure to label the tops and bottoms of each part. That way, you’ll be sure to get your items back from the lost and found. As a teacher, I can tell you that most kids can eat an entire meal from their lunch and not recognize a single part of it after the break. My classroom is well supplied with a variety of containers from all those reusable containers no one claims day after day. If you listen to any advice from this, just go buy some Mabel’s Labels and label like a possessive lunatic. Seriously.
Prepare food in quick bite sized portions. Preparing food into bites makes it easier and faster to eat the “good stuff”. Unfinished portions can easily be saved for later without going bad. I love these lunch bots containers. They have some magical ability to keep food fresh for days and the lids are all interchangeable so every lid fits every bottom and that makes me happy when I’ve got five lunches lined up on the counter! In any case, make it easy for your kids to actually eat their snacks and lunches and you can be the smug mom who isn’t wrangling hangry kids at the end of the day!
And if you want some more inspiration for fun with food, come check out my Pinterest board: