It feels as though the school year just started and we’re already just weeks away from kicking off the second quarter. By now students, parents, and teachers have probably settled into the new school year and weekday routine.
One of the things I looked forward to the most before my daughter started school for the first time, several years ago, was packing her lunches. I scrolled and saved so many pins from Pinterest with snack and lunch ideas. I would always start off the year strong and eventually lose my groove due to lack of time or energy.
My daughter went through a phase where she preferred the school cafeteria food but quickly became bored with the weekly lunch options. Then we, as a family, made changes to our nutrition which encouraged me to step up my lunch prepping game.
This past summer I organized myself a lot better because I didn’t want to leave room for any excuses. With time and experience has come an interest in nutrition. It’s knowledge I strive to share with my daughter early on so she can make the right choices on her own as she gets older.
The school year routine always adds a new level to the juggling act we try to balance in parenthood. It isn’t always easy but I’m here to share some of my tips and tricks for keeping up with school lunches, in a simple and even FUN way, all year long!
SNACK & LUNCH GEAR
Stock up on lunch accessories that are going to help you save money, make lunch manageable, and interesting for kids.
-Reusable Water Bottle
-Reusable snack/storage bags
-Silicone cupcake wrappers
Create a Menu
Write out a weekly menu with your children. My daughter chooses five entrees she would like me to prep for her for the week. Of course, there are times we make last-minute changes, but having an idea makes the job easier for both of us.
While it’s much more convenient to purchase pre-packaged snacks, and sometimes I do, I prefer to buy bulk and store snacks for the entire week in reusable plastic bags or containers. I just store them in our pantry and make it accessible for my daughter to pack her lunch. Most of the time she helps me stuff the bags too.
Start a Station
Along with pre-packing snacks comes a lunch station. I always encourage my daughter to choose a) veggie b) fruit and she always gets c) a special treat to go with her main course. We always pack an extra snack like crackers or a granola bar for emergencies too. My job is to keep the fridge and pantry stocked and organized in a way that she can grab what she wants and pack it either the night before or the morning of.
Whether your child prefers the school cafeteria food or taking a lunchbox from home it can be challenging to come up with snack and lunch ideas all while keeping nutrition at the center of it all. With a little organization and creativity lunch prepping can be a simple task that even the kids can be a part of.
Don’t forget to sneak in a special note in their lunchbox every now and then. It’s sure to make them smile!