Packing the Best School Lunches – Top 10 Tips
Packing a school lunch is kind of an art nowadays. From knowing what to pack that your kid will actually eat, to knowing how to make it nutritious, to having fresh ideas for what to pack every single day, there sure is a lot to think about when it comes to a healthy school lunch!
In this article, we’re giving you 10 tips for packing the best school lunches. We’re covering everything from nutrition, to planning, to mixing in different cuisines. These are sure to give you tons of school lunch ideas that go beyond packing the usual granola bar, celery sticks, apple slices, and lunch meat sandwich in your kids’ lunchboxes.
10 Tips for Packing the Best School Lunches
Talk to Your Kids
Our first tip may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how often it’s forgotten. Talk to your kids about what it is they actually like, and what it is they’d prefer to pack in their lunchbox. Kids will be much more likely to enjoy the lunches you pack if they are involved in the decision-making process!
Of course, this doesn’t mean just let them eat whatever they want (unless you want to be packing chocolate bars for lunch every day), but rather to involve them in the process, and let them settle on a range of options they enjoy that still make a healthy lunch. See if they want to be involved in the lunch packing process so they can see the healthy food and snacks going into their lunchbox.
You’d be surprised how much easier it is packing school lunch if you plan ahead for the week! Take some time each weekend to make a lunch schedule. Even if you just write it out and make kids’ lunches on the day-of, you’d be surprised how much time you save by simply knowing what you are going to pack each day. This also allows you to ensure that kid’s lunch hasa sufficient variety of fresh fruit and veggies, and are in line with a healthy lifestyle. Planning goes beyond your child’s lunchbox – you can even plan ahead on your own lunch to make sure you’re also getting a healthy lunch!
Prep Ahead (On Your Own Schedule)
If it works for you, then you can also prep ahead! Meal prepping is a popular trend these days, because it allows you to save time throughout the week by preparing all your meals at one time. Not only do you save time, but you save money on ingredients, and you make sure that your lunches are sufficiently healthy. If you have the time, then look into meal prepping as an option for school lunches.
Mix It Up
Our next tip is to mix it up! Lunches are so much more fun if they have sufficient variety. Don’t settle for the same old boring ham sandwich each day (although we’ve got nothing against the ham sandwich!). Try to settle on a few solid lunch options, and rotate through them regularly. This doesn’t mean you have to craft new lunch creations each day, but rather just to have a well-established routine of different options.
Hide the Veggies
For kids, we all know how difficult it can be to get a picky eater to eata veggie. Our next tip is to hide the veggies whenever possible. This is especially relevant for younger children, who simply might not eat their lunch if it contains something they don’t like. Whether you puree the veggies into a pasta sauce, hide them in a cheese quesadilla, or simply add them to a sandwich, there are many ways to make healthy options more tolerable for kids!
Don’t Be Afraid of the Classics
Our next tip is to not fear the classics! There can be a tendency among parents to think that the tried-and-true lunches lack sufficient variety, or that they seem like a “lazy” option. But remember, the classics are classics for a reason. So, don’t fear the turkey sandwich, the PB & J, or the ham & cheese sandwich. These all became lunchroom staples for a reason, after all.
Get Good Containers
Our next tip is to buy good lunch containers. Lunch containers make it so much easier to pack lunches, and you can find different varieties to suit your needs. Whether you need an insulated container to keep food fresh, a container with dividers to separate food, or simply a container that is easy for your child to lug around all day, there are many options, and you’d be surprised what a difference it can make in packing the perfect lunch.
Buy in Bulk
Next up is an economical no-brainer. Anything that you can conveniently buy in bulk, you should! Whether it’s non-perishables, or something that you know you will be using quite often, you’d be surprised at the money you’d save by buying in bulk. If you find you’re packing rice in school lunches often, then why not buy a big bag of it? Not only do you save money, but you save yourself additional trips to the grocery store.
Don’t Be Afraid of Repeating
Don’t be afraid of doing the same lunch twice in a row! While it might seem a bit weird at first, there’s nothing wrong with repeating lunches day after day, especially if it’s a well-balanced lunch that your child really likes. Just be sure to talk to them to be sure they’re really enjoying it. If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it – it’s just lunch after all.
Don’t Be Afraid to Try New Cuisines
If you’re running out of inspiration and new ideas for lunches, why not look to a different cuisine altogether? Looking to different styles of cooking for new lunch ideas can be a great way to spark new inspiration and get you excited about lunch all over again. For example, if you’re tired of the same old sandwiches, maybe try a bento box style lunch.
Include a Treat (But Not Every Day)
Finally, there’s nothing wrong with the odd treat every now and then. Because let’s face it, nothing is going to get a kid more excited about lunch than a treat! Not everything has to be perfectly healthy, so why not throw something in there that they’re guaranteed to enjoy. Just remember, as with all areas of nutrition, it’s about moderation. Portion control is huge, and you definitely don’t need to include a treat every day. After all, it’s not really a treat if it’s just a staple of their everyday lunch!
We hope you’ve enjoyed our guide to packing lunches. With a few easy tweaks, we’re sure you’ll be packing lunches like a pro!