With homeschool co-op starting next week and regular schools starting around the same time, you are undoubtedly starting to think about packing lunches.
Keep reading for lunch packing tips. If you are looking for lunch content, head over to this post for 50+ creative school lunch ideas.
To begin to prepare for our lunch packing, we headed to our local Walmart (Allie’s favorite place on earth).
The kids had their lists – Goldfish crackers, fresh fruit, and cheese. I had my list – Wet Ones®, ham, fresh veggies, and lunch containers. Joe had his list, too – coffee creamer and sports drinks (but those have nothing to do with our lunches).
I try to sneak all the food groups into our lunches – meat, starch, fruit, vegetable, and dairy – even though I know it’s not necessary to include every food group in every meal. My kids are so darn picky that I try everything I can.
6 Tips for Easier Lunch Packing
1. Let the kids choose.
I give my kids options as often as I can. As I said above, they are extremely picky, and giving them options means they have ownership in the process. If that means pink princess Goldfish Crackers instead of regular ones, fine. If it means carrots instead of green peppers, great.
The bottom line is that letting them choose means they will actually eat the foods I’ve provided, and that’s my goal.
(You would think I have more control over what mine eat since I’m usually eating it with them, but you would be wrong.)
2. Put the kids to work.
Meals that kids have prepared will be more likely to be eaten by said kids. Put them to work stuffing baggies, cutting ham into hearts, and chopping bananas (give them a kid knife if they’re not old enough to handle a sharp one).
3. Prepare ahead of time.
When you’re rushing around to get out the door in the morning, you don’t have time to pack five different foods into individual-sized baggies or containers. The process is so much easier if you do it on the weekend.
So do this.
Get your big containers out on Sunday night. Pack individual servings into bags: 5 bags of veggie sticks, 5 bags of crackers or pretzels, 5 containers of cheese (skip these if you’re using pre-packaged cheese wedges or sticks or containers of yogurt). You’ll be all set for the week ahead.
Notice I saved the fruit and meats for the day of. In my experience, those things don’t always keep all week when they’ve been cut and prepared too far in advance.
4. Create a lunch bin in your refrigerator.
Storing all the lunch items together just makes sense.
Corral all the pre-packaged foods in a bin in the fridge. Include the mayo and mustard if your kids like those on their sandwiches. Or the jelly. Or whatever.
5. Create a lunch bin in your pantry.
Likewise, store all the non-perishables in a bin in the pantry. We keep peanut butter, fruity snacks, granola bars, fruit cups, pudding cups, applesauce pouches, and the like in ours.
You could also pre-make little baggies or containers of Goldfish Crackers, pretzels, and cookies. Or chips. Grace says not to forget the chips.
Also, don’t forget the drinks. We usually pack water bottles, but will do juice pouches or drinks for a treat. They hang out in our lunches box in the pantry.
6. Set up a lunch packing station on your kitchen counter
So I’m not the neatest person, but I like having this stuff sitting out on the counter. Maybe if you had all your junk put away, you’d put these in a bin and hide it in a cupboard. Do what works for you.
The key is to have all of your containers, lids, baggies, love notes, Wet Ones® Singles, silverware, water bottles, and other paraphernalia in one spot.
Wet Ones Singles are really nice to pack instead of a napkin because they are anti-bacterial. Kids can wipe their hands before and after lunch to wipe away germs that would otherwise get on their food.
After the sick summer we’ve had, I’m 100% for getting rid of stray germs.
Learn more about Wet Ones and Goldfish Crackers at the Wish I Had Wet Ones and Goldfish Crackers in my Lunchbox website.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Wet Ones® + Pepperidge Farm® . The opinions and text are all mine.
© 2015 – 2016, Tara Ziegmont. All rights reserved.