I love to cook, bake, eat…but when it comes to packing lunches for school, I feel like I’m always at a loss. I don’t know if it’s the pressure of creating a balanced, tasty, yet convenient lunch that will travel well and not need too much refrigeration or if its the little part of me that hurts inside when I use a prepackaged food item because I was just not prepared enough or creative enough?
I’m sure some of you can relate. Now, it’s not that I spend my days fretting about this, these are just some of the feelings that have come up when I walk to the kitchen and open the lunch boxes after the children have gone to bed.
This year we have created a system for the children to pack their own lunches! Yay!
How did we do it? The past two years we have asked the children to pack their lunches on Sunday nights and occasionally other nights when we knew the morning routine would be tight. This year, before school started, we had a family dinner, discussed our goals for the upcoming year, and during that time I laid out a new nightly routine. After dinner the children would take care of their evening responsibilities (sweeping the dining room floor, clearing and wiping the table), pack lunches, shower, brush teeth and go to bed. We continued with conversation about what makes a healthy meal. Two weeks in…it seems we have adopted a new routine!
My hopes and dreams for a packed lunch:
1. I want lunch to be healthy and tasty. When I make dinner, I make two! The second one cools while we eat, and then once the kids start packing, its ready to be put into lunch containers. I recently did this with bean, rice and cheese burritos and even individual pizzas. I just double the pizza crust recipe and pretend I am cooking for a family of ten! 😉
2. I want to limit prepackaged items (a. to reduce waste, b. to limit processed foods, c. to cut down on costs) – I have invested in SmartBaby containers since the children were toddlers. I love the snapping lid, the leak-proof gasket, and the stainless interior. We continue to use these for everything from sandwiches to yogurt.
3. I want my children to enjoy the lunch that is packed. Every day can’t be a favorite, but I try to include some of their favorites every week. We have a grocery list posted in our family message center. The children can add a favorite food to the list so that I remember to pick it up while at the store.
Now that the children are packing their own lunches, I take the time to add a little note after they have gone to bed. Sometimes I write a little something on a post-it note. Recently the kids prefer a joke or fun fact so I use these from Lunchbox love (promo code LBLNOTES for 20% off). We enjoy them so much, we gave them out as Valentines last year!
We have partnered with Lunchbox Love to bring you a set of notes to get you started! Register below!