Back to School
Easier School Lunches
Are last-minute lunches adding stress to your mornings? Here are some tips to help make packing hassle-free.
Mornings can be hectic starting the minute the alarm goes off. Getting kids up, dressed, fed and to the bus on time can seem like a fire drill…and somewhere in that chaos, you have to pack lunches, too. But with a little advance planning, you can make the lunch routine more manageable. And with all the time you save, you might even find that you have time for a cup of coffee, too.
- Get a head start by prepping lunches the night before. Take a few minutes after the dinner dishes are done to assemble sides, drinks, utensils and napkins. Pack items that need to be chilled in reusable containers and leave in the refrigerator overnight.
- For an even bigger head start, get the kids involved. Include them during post-dinner prep, and spend a few moments discussing what’s on the lunch menu. Do they want whole wheat bread or a pita pocket? Apple slices or grapes? Kids love to have a choice about the foods they’re eating, and chances are they’ll love to help pack it all up, too.
- Banish the soggy sandwich. Even sandwiches can be “made” the night before. Just pack ingredients separately in small, reusable containers. Older kids will have no trouble quickly assembling their sandwich at lunchtime.
- Get smart about leftovers. Next time you’re grilling chicken, making pasta, or roasting vegetables for dinner, make extra for lunch, too. Save in individually sized containers, and you’ll have ready-made, kid-approved favorites to easily pack for the next couple of days.
- Buy in bulk. Instead of filling your panty with (and spending extra for) single-serving bags of chips or pre-cut cheese cubes, buy larger sizes and then repackage into individual containers. Before the school week starts, dole out healthy portions of chips, crackers or trail mix, and cut up veggies, fruit or cheese into bite-size pieces.
- Dedicate some pantry space. Buy a plastic bin or organizer to fit on your pantry shelf, and fill it with your repackaged (non-refrigerated) lunch items. With everything in one place, kids can help by choosing their own ready-made sides to add to their lunchboxes.