There is something about the nature of the school year that makes me feel pressured and rushed. I am sure many other parents feel the same way. Not only do we have our regular work, household and parenting responsibilities, but we also have additional chauffeur and homework proctoring duties. Oh yeah – and we have to squeeze in family mealtimes somewhere in there, too.
I am totally a Type A person – being organized helps me to relax and gives me the perception of having things under control. When it comes to making healthy school lunches for my kids, a little planning can go a long way to prevent me from staring glossy eyed into my refrigerator and pantry.
Last year, the kids helped me make a chart of their favorite lunch foods, and we posted it on the refrigerator. When in doubt, I just checked the list. Plus, if my husband had to step in and help out, it was a great tool for him (since he would have been clueless, otherwise!)
- buy items in bulk and use reusable containers (to prevent waste and save money)
- include protein, fruit, whole grains
- pack foods that are made out of real ingredients
- make the food / tools colorful (reusable food picks, spoons, fresh produce)
- use containers that the kids can open by themselves (and close again, to prevent spills)
So far, one of my most popular blog posts was one I wrote about school lunches 2 years ago, and republished last year. Take a peek. You will find lots of ideas for wraps, thermos treasures and more.
Here are a few other cool websites you can check out in your excessive free time (yeah, right!) :
Quick update: I recently took my kids to Japan Town in San Francisco. They have two “dollar stores” (items are close to costing a dollar, anyway) called Daiso and Ichiban Kan. We had a field day looking at cool lunch box supplies. I was even able to pick up a bunch of kid-sized stainless steel containers that I’ll put inside our lunch bags! Some of the plastic containers seemed to be poor quality and I was worried about chemicals leaching into our food…
What are some of your best tips for packing healthy school lunches?