Simple Solutions for School Lunches

Well, here we are just 3 weeks into the school year and already I’m tired of making lunches. I have yet to meet one parent who enjoys this task. There are a few things I’ve learned in the last decade of packing lunches that help make this job a bit less stressful. For what it’s worth, here they are.

-         Keep lunch containers in one spot – a drawer or shelf - with bottoms and matching lids together. It doesn’t have to be neat and tidy as you can see from my cupboards. I just stuff round containers and round lids in one spot, rectangular containers and lids in another and another one for water bottles.

-         When planning meals, (see Sept 5 post) plan leftovers for lunches. Cook an extra chicken leg or two and use to make a sandwich or wrap. Last night, I sliced leftover steak very thinly and made wraps for our lunches. (I added leftover grilled peppers to my wrap but my kids would have none of that.)

-    Try to have food on hand (in the fridge, freezer or cupboard) that can be used to make lunches when you’re stretched for time: yogurt and pudding cups, cheese strings, fresh fruit, fruit cups; whole grain bagels, muffins and crackers. Here’s a lunch we put together one morning when we were running late. My son packed the grapes, yogurt and muffin in about 90 seconds (honestly!). The thermos has soup that I heated while eating my cereal. It took less than 5 min to put this lunch together.

-         Get your kids to help make lunches right from the time they start JK. Have them put lids on containers, add a spoon, fill a water bottle, make a sandwich, slice some cheese, empty their lunch bag, wash containers… anything helps and will help them get used to packing their own lunches.

-         For more ideas on packing lunches check out our resource One Month of Mini-Meals for the Balanced School Day.

Other links I like to use are:
·        Eatright Ontario and
·        Canadian Living .
o       Enter ‘packed lunches’ as the search term.

Michele RD