Article courtesy of Lauren Kretzer.
If the thought of a new school year– and packing those darn lunches– raises your stress level a few notches, we hear you. Coming up with a variety of healthful, plant strong meals for your little one is no easy feat, but can be done with a little pre-planning and a strong rotation of go-to recipes. As always, we’ve got you covered! Read on for our best tips on making lunch packing as stress-free as those last few sweet days of Summer.
First up – lunch packing supplies! We like using bento boxes for their sturdiness and handy compartments: this one is especially pretty to look at, and this option is leak-proof. These re-usable sandwich bags are eco friendly and adorable– a must have for sending that PB&J off in style! Your kiddo will also need to hydrate, so be sure to pack a BPA-free reusable water bottle for them to sip on at mealtime, and throughout the day! For colder months, we love this insulated Thermos (with a folding spoon!) for keeping soups and pastas warm until lunchtime. And, of course, no lunch is complete without a note from Mom (or Dad)! We love tucking these sweet tear-out LunchBox Jokes next to their sandwich to put a smile on their face.
Once you’re set with supplies, you’ll need a solid lunch packing strategy. Here are the rules we live by each school year:
1. At the end of each weekend, plan out a full week’s worth of lunches. Go shopping immediately to pick up any necessary ingredients, plus all of your staples (juice boxes, disposable napkins, etc.). Come up with a list of favorite sandwiches and wraps, soups/stews, pastas, grain/bean salads and rotate them each week for variety.
2. Do as much as you can the night before – fill those water bottles, cut up veggies and fruit, defrost some soup. It may not seem like much, but it’ll be a huge time and sanity saver during those frantic, rushed mornings when every minute counts.
4. Include a fresh fruit or veggie with each lunch. Whether it be sliced apples, a juicy pear, or carrot and celery sticks, if you include something fresh and raw with lunch, you’re setting your child up for a lifetime of healthy eating habits.
5. There’s no shame in relying on a few store bought items– we already know you’re supermom, so don’t feel like everything in your child’s lunch needs to be from scratch. Occasionally throwing some vegan yogurt, pretzels, or crackers into the bento box will be a treat for your kid and a major time saver for you!
Feeling like a pro? Try our Lunchbox FUN Ideas!