Simple Prep of School Lunches- Simplify school lunch preparation by having your kids pack their own lunches! With a little prep, you can ensure they are packing a healthy, balanced meal. ~Practigal Blog

Simple Prep of School Lunches

As promised, this post is designed to help you with making packing school lunches more simple. The easiest way to simplify school lunch preparation is to have your kids pack their own lunches! Even the youngest kids can begin packing their own lunch with some help from you. And with a little prep, you can ensure they are packing a healthy, balanced meal.

I’ve found that my kids enjoy packing their own lunches, probably because they get to have some control over what they eat. So, unless packing lunches is something you LOVE doing for your kids, you can stop. 😉 This is for those of you who, like me, get stressed with all that has to get done in the morning  before school.

Simple Prep of School Lunches- Simplify school lunch preparation by having your kids pack their own lunches! With a little prep, you can ensure they are packing a healthy, balanced meal. ~Practigal Blog

A Place for School Lunch Supplies

The first thing you need to do is designate places for their lunch box, water bottle, thermos, and anything else they need to pack their lunches. You might want to include plastic containers, utensils, or ziplock bags depending on what types of foods you want them to pack. We put all of these things in one easy-to-reach cabinet. Here is our cabinet of lunch packing supplies:

The top shelf in this low cabinet holds their lunch boxes, thermoses, and plastic containers. Wine rack for keeping water bottles organized and not falling over! A back to school routine should be simple so that it alleviates stress instead of adding more! Here are four routine ideas that will work for any family. ~Practigal Blog

Tip: Try a wine rack for storing your family’s water bottles. It keeps them all in one place, AND keeps them from tipping each other over!

Second, create a place in the fridge and pantry (where your kids can reach) for them to find their meal options for the week. Keep it simple with only two or three options each week. They will be happy to repeat lunches as long as you picked foods they enjoy. I try to always include a beverage, a fruit or veggie, a protein, something dairy, and sometimes a grain. That way, they know to grab one of each, and they always have a balanced meal!

School Lunch Prep

Tip: Wash fresh berries and cut strawberries right after buying them. They keep longer that way in a plastic container in your fridge!

A Time to Prepare School Lunches

Third, you need to have a designated time for food prep. It works the best for me to do food prep right after I go to the grocery store. Maybe you want to try setting aside time every Sunday evening for getting foods together for your kids’ school lunches. This week, I got back from the grocery store and began washing and cutting up fruit and veggies. Then I put their fruit in plastic containers and bagged up the rest. Here is what I put together for my kids’ school lunches this week:

Simple Prep of School Lunches

Beverage: apple juice
Fruit: strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries
Veggie: carrot sticks
Meat: turkey snack sticks
Dairy: cheese sticks
Snack: popcorn

Tip: Try to include healthy options that your kids like. You don’t want to temp them to throw away their food when the get to school!

HONEST MOMENT: Our kids haven’t always ate very healthy. Healthy isn’t always easy, and my kids can be picky. I am working on coming up with healthy options that are easy for them to make as well. Nothing fancy here…just simple, balanced meals! I think the next step will be getting rid of juice boxes and just packing water bottles. We are working our way up. 😉

Simple Prep of School Lunches

Fourth, put all parts of their school lunches together in the fridge and pantry. I use white baskets to consolidate school lunch food so the kids always know where to find the current week’s options. One basket goes in the fridge, one basket goes in the pantry. I showed the kids where these baskets are, and I explained how they should take one of each item in their lunch box.

Tip: Leftovers and other warm foods can be reheated and placed in a thermos for school lunch. It will still be warm for them at lunchtime!

At first, you may need to assist them in packing their school lunches, especially for your younger children. My youngest child is in kindergarten, so she can barely make a sandwich…but I’ll let her try. 😉 My older kids are in 4th and 5th grade and are able to make things in the microwave, so they will sometimes heat up something and put it in their thermos to keep it warm until lunchtime.

With consistency from you in prepping their meals every week and consistent practice from them, they will be packing school lunches on their own in no time! Can you feel the relief?!

Simple Prep of School Lunches- Simplify school lunch preparation by having your kids pack their own lunches! With a little prep, you can ensure they are packing a healthy, balanced meal. ~Practigal Blog


What part of packing school lunches is most stressful for you? Let me know in the comments!

Practigal

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6 Comments

  1. What a great article. Not only are you adding to eating healthy, but this is also starting small responsibilities at a young age. This will be a great start to their over all well being!!

    1. Thanks! I am all about keeping things simple for me, and that means everyone needs to help out! I know I won’t regret that they are getting more independent as they get older. 🙂

    1. Yes! It would definitely work for travel mugs! There are some shorter wine racks than the one I have as well. Shop around for one that fits in your cabinet. 🙂

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