Simple Tips for Making Packed Lunches Easy

It's back to school week!  Ahead of you are a seemingly endless stream of lunches to prepare.  Just how can it be easier and hassle-free?  Without resorting to the same things over and over again!  Is there anything worse than desperately trying to figure out what to put in your kids' lunch boxes?


Whether you do it the night before or in the midst of the morning rush, packing lunches is a decision process you really don't need.  Especially if your children keep coming home with half-eaten lunches or complaining about what you give them.

If you find yourself flustered, or end up in a panic and throw money at them to buy school lunch because packing it seems like too much of a hassle, have a look at the tips below.  They will help you get organized so fixing lunches becomes quick and easy.


Meal Planning Containers and Accessories

To start with, you will need to get some containers and accessories that you can use for planning your kids’ lunches.  Start with the lunch boxes, which should preferably have multiple compartments.  This makes it much easier to plan ahead and make sure they have healthy meals with all the different important food groups.

However, if your son really wants to use his Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles lunch bag, then you will need small individual containers that fit inside the lunch box in order to put his different lunch items inside.  Some other containers you might need are small mason jars, snack-size bags, and larger containers for the prepped ingredients.


Make a Child-Friendly List

Start by sitting down with your kids and to come up with a list of lunches they like.  This could include sandwiches and wraps, or even homemade lunch-ables, but it doesn’t have to stop there.  If you add a thermos to the mix, you can pack up reheated leftovers or homemade soup.  The key is to find lunch foods and snacks that your kids will eat that are also easy to pack.

Make sure you have appropriate containers, and then head to the supermarket to pick up everything you need for the week.  Don’t forget about snacks and drinks as needed.  The list should make this much easier.  Once you have several different lunch ideas your kids like and will actually eat, you can simply rotate through them.

Related post: Back to School Lunches - Go Beyond the Sandwich


Prep What You Can As Soon As You Get Home

When you get home from the supermarket, keep lunch foods out and see what you can do to prep things ahead of time.  Instead of putting that punnet of grapes away, wash and break them into small quantities you can grab and toss in the lunch box.  The same goes for things like carrots and even salads.  Prep whatever you can.

Some things you are able to do ahead of time include boiling eggs, chopping fruit and vegetables, and putting items like granola, trail mix, and pretzels into small containers or bags.  You could do this for the week on a Sunday evening, for example.


Pack Lunches The Night Before

Mornings are busy and not always the perfect time to have to worry about packing lunches.  Try making them the night before, perhaps straight after dinner at night.  Get the kids involved in lunch prep and cleaning up after.  You can store cold items in the fridge and have everything else sitting in the lunch box ready to go.

It won’t take you long to get into a rhythm of preparing lunches while you’re cleaning up after dinner.  Then in the mornings all you need to do is grab a couple of things from the fridge and their lunch boxes are good to go.


Clean Lunch Boxes ASAP

To make lunch prep even easier, get the kids into the habit of cleaning out their lunch box as soon as they get back from school.  Even the youngest can help with this.  Throw out any uneaten food and bring the containers to the sink to be washed.  Older children can easily clean their own containers.  And take some time to talk about what didn't get eaten and why.  Then having everything clean and ready to go will make it easier to pack the new lunches later on in the evening.


Meal prepping and planning is the best way to make sure your kids have healthy lunches they will actually want to eat.  Stick to these tips and it won’t take you long to get into an efficient lunch packing routine.  Don’t forget to get the kids involved and put them in charge of much of the preparations.  Not only will this make your life easier in the long run, it will give them a sense of ownership over their lunch which will make them more likely to eat it all.

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