Only weeks into the new school year and summer holidays nothing but a distant memory, are you already feeling like the last week of school when it comes to school lunches? Packing lunches can seem like quite the chore. You know it’s important to send your offspring to school with a well-rounded nutritious lunch but you also know the way you feel after coming home from a day at work and packing lunches isn’t high on the list of things you want to be doing. Leaving this task until the morning is also hard as most days it can be a mad rush just to get out the door on-time let alone pack a well-balanced meal. So how can you make this necessary task a bit more manageable? Get the kids involved and spend one hour on Sunday doing prep. Taking just one hour Sunday evening to do this prep work means huge time savings throughout the rest of the week.
Divide & conquer, leave the shopping and prepping to the parents and the actual lunch packing to the kids.
- Draft up a list of “5 Days of Lunches.” If you have a guide to work with it eliminates time spent brainstorming lunch ideas on the fly. This also saves time at the grocery store knowing exactly what needs to be bought.
- Cut up a week’s worth of raw veggies making it easy for small hands to grab bunches and place in individual containers. Carrots, celery, broccoli, radishes, cauliflower, peppers, cherry tomatoes are all good choices as these veggies stay fresh days after being cut up.
- Make a batch of freezable mini-quiches. Another easy grab-and-pack item for small hands and also easy to tailor towards a child’s palate. Simply cut up ham cubes and add these along with grated cheese, salt & pepper to eggs, pour into pre-made tart shells, bake for 25 minutes and voila!
- Boil a dozen eggs. A great source of protein and easy to peel and pop into a lunch box the day of.
- Have some sort of treat (whether it’s store bought or homemade) individually packaged and easy to grab and add). Cookies, fruit snacks etc.
- Top up the fruit bowl each week with produce that is not only easy to grab individually put also easy to peel and eat. i.e. apples, bananas, mandarin oranges.
Make it your child’s responsibility to ensure that their lunch kit and all re-usable containers are cleaned out and ready to go each night, and also that they have their water bottles washed and filled.
Dividing up the chore of packing school lunches, not only lessens the burden on the parents, but it is also a valuable lesson for children on responsibility and chipping in around the household, giving them a sense of accomplishment and pride, a win-win for everyone!