Back to school = back to crazy-busy mornings. Luckily, these lunch ideas can help take the edge off.
- Put safety first. Before you even start to pack a lunch, you need to think about food safety. It’s just as important at home as it is in the store. Temperatures can be managed using ice packs and thermal containers. And don’t forget to clean your containers after they’ve been used.
- Serve it sustainably. Use reusable food containers, drink bottles and utensils to help reduce waste.
- Make what will get eaten. With your setup ready, it’s time to think about the food. The best way to make sure your kids (and you) will eat the lunch you pack is to pack a lunch they want to eat! If they don’t like celery, don’t pack it.
- Don’t wait until the morning. Are your mornings too busy to even consider packing a lunch? Do it the night before. If you have everything packed and ready, you’re more likely to take it with you the next day. Make several lunches, or bake muffins or cookies on one of your calmer days. Pre-pack containers with sliced veggies, cut fruit, cooked meat, grapes or other snacks. Boil some eggs and keep them in the fridge for an easy-to-pack protein hit.
- Your freezer is your friend. When it comes to convenience, your freezer is key. Freeze the meals and baked goods you prepared ahead of time for easy access later in the week. Place a fresh fruit smoothie, cottage cheese or a container of yogurt in there overnight. Muffins, cookies, smoothies, cottage cheese and yogurt can be packed frozen in the morning to thaw by the time lunch rolls around.
- Show your leftovers some love. Did you make an awesome dinner last night? Portion out a serving or two while you’re cleaning up, so you can easily send it with the kids (or take it for yourself) the next day — or two.
- Find finger foods. Lunch doesn’t have to be a sandwich or even a fully prepared meal. Create your own Lunchables-style meal with carrots, berries, crackers, cheese and pepperoni slices.
Learn the basics to packing healthful lunches for your kids this school year.