As a soon to be empty nester, this is the first Fall in almost two decades I have not had to make school lunches. Although it like a chore some days, i’ll admit I’m going to miss it. As I did, you may start each school year with the best of intentions to make healthy, creative lunches to send with your kids to school, only to find yourself falling back on PB and J’s and Lunchables by the time Halloween rolls around. I get it. Between work, carpools, homework helping, and attempting to have a social life, lunches tend to become an annoying afterthought, but with a little planning and a few tricks, you can help keep your sanity and your child’s meal the envy of the lunch table.
- Think Lunch When Making Dinner. What’s better than leftovers. When making dinner (or ordering takeout) make a little extra to pop in you child’s lunch box the next day. Who doesn’t love leftover stir fry, pizza or homemade chicken soup.
- Freeze Mini Meals. Next time you make a batch of pasta, chicken and rice or enchiladas, put lunch sized servings in storage bags and pop in the freezer for easy and nutritious lunches for those mornings when you are short on time and creativity.
- Freeze Juice Boxes As Ice Packs. Place them in the lunch boxes the morning and by lunchtime they will be ready to drink. Extra bonus you will not have to harass your kid for your ice packs back . Yogurt tubes and, applesauce pouches work well too. .
- Make Lunches At Night. If nothing else, it leaves more time in the morning for you to get your kids up, fed and out the door in time for the bus.
- Use Creative Packaging. Using bento boxes is an easy way to pack a lunch, using each compartment for fruit, veggies, entree, and treats. And despite what you put in the box, it always looks like you put a little in a little extra effort.
Packing a fun, nutritious lunch is a nice way to let your kids know you are thinking of them during their school day. Enjoy it as this is one job that will be over before you know it.
Sherri Sacconaghi, Creative Strategist for EPB&B, is a former Health and Nutrition Coach, who definitely misses making school lunches.