Anyone else hate school lunch?? This is our first year dealing with packing a school lunch every. single. day. *hits head with hammer*. It was a constant struggle. He didn't want what I packed, I was mad that he would waste food or throw it away, there was always a last-minute scramble to throw things haphazardly into his bag as he races out the door. SIGH. Have no fear, Mama J came up with a system that is working nicely for us! I've got some school lunch ideas, tips, and tricks for you in this week's Millennial Moms video.
(Psst – be sure to check out my own FunCheapOrFree YouTube Channel while you're at it!)
NOW, ON TO THE VIDEO!
(And some added bonus tips at the bottom of the post that aren't mentioned in the video!)
Watch the video online or click and watch below:
Let's recap, shall we??
1 – Have your kids do it!
Take the stress off yourself, and get your kids in on the action! It creates autonomy, sets good habits, and puts the pressure on them (because goodness knows mama really needs one less thing on her plate, #AmiRight??).
2 – Keep things at eye level!
(picture of hutch getting a lunch sack out)
I keep bins in my pantry that are just the right height for little hands to pick and choose from. It keeps me from running in and out of the pantry all morning while he's packing so I can get the other kiddos (okay, and myself!) ready for the day, too. (Check out this post to see more about how I organize my pantry!)
3 – Let THEM choose their own food
We sat down and made a list of things he'd like to eat in his lunch, categorized by:
- Main food (sandwich, cheese/meat/crackers, meat and cheese roll-ups, leftovers – see bonus tip below – etc. )
- Fresh fruits/veggies
- Healthy snacks
We then loaded up on those things and put them in their own bins. Main food, snacks, and treats are all “TAKE 1”. Fresh fruits/veggies and healthy snacks are “TAKE 2”. Allows him to choose his own lunch, using parameters that I'm fine with.
4 – Freeze sandwiches!
Remember that you can FREEZE PB&J's?? If you aren't doing this, you are doing yourself a disservice! We try to sit down on Sunday night and bust out an entire stack of sandwiches for the week. They not only come in handy for school lunches but also for snacks on-the-go. Also works great with meat and cheese sandwiches, just leave off any veggies or condiments.
5 – Leave them love notes!
This is more of a reminder than a tip… but try to stick a love note in their lunchbox every once in awhile. Words of affirmation mean the world to kids, and your little act of love will mean more than you know!
- Pack leftovers in a thermos! We had homemade Mac N Cheese for dinner, and Hutch wanted it in his lunch the next day. We loaded up a kid-friendly thermos from Costco and it kept it warm all day!
- Freeze sponges to use as ice packs! As I showed on Instagram, this is an inexpensive way to keep food cold, and not worry about losing fancy ice packs.
Sponges aren't just for cleaning! Quick back to school hack: Take a clean wet sponge, put it in a ziplock bag, and stick it in the freezer. Now you have the perfect ice pack for your kids lunch box. Not only will it keep their food cool, but if they accidentally forget it at school it's cheap and easy to replace. Booya! ??Do you have any other school lunch hacks or tips? #TheFrugalMinute #SchoolLuchIsMyNemesis
There you have it! I'm still a bit of a novice, but those tips have really helped.
What do you pack for school lunches? Do you have any tips?Share in the comments below!