For all the parents with small school children. Hats off to you! Yes, I was there once, stressing to get out of the door and off to work on time while attempting to get the kids off to school. And God forbid that I overslept! Mornings like that, I remember, were so overwhelming that I’d often resort to going into work late or not at all, just to get the kids off to school on time, But there is something that’s even worse than running late in the morning and that is desperately trying to figure out something healthy that you can put into your child’s lunch box. If you find yourself flustered each morning and end up buying the dreadful school lunch for your kid because packing it seems like too much of a hassle, take a look at these 4 easy, quick tips for the busy parent that will help you get organized, stay organized, and keep your kids lunchbox choices clean, simple and healthy.
- Start With A List And Go Shopping
Start by including your kids when it comes to creating the “school lunch” shopping list. Sit down with them and come up with a list of lunches they like but with your own healthy twist, of course. This could include sandwiches and wraps, or even your very own homemade lunch-able, but it doesn’t have to stop there. If you add a thermos food storage container to the mix, you can suddenly pack your own clean, healthy reheated leftovers, homemade soups, salads, whatever your heart desires. Make sure that you also write down on your list the types of storage bags and containers that you’ll need for packing. The key is to find lunch foods and snacks that your kids will eat that are easy to pack, and that’s healthy, too!
Make sure you have your reusable, grocery tote on hand and then head to the grocery store to pick up everything you need for the week. And remember healthy. To try keeping your kids sugar intake down to a minimum, do so by replacing their cookies and juice with fruit, yogurt, veggie sticks, and water, The purpose of the list is to make things much easier. Once you have several different lunch ideas your kids like and will actually eat, get creative with your kids and come up with at least one new recipe a month. This will change it up a bit to help keep things interesting and exciting.
2. Prep What You Can As Soon As You Get Home
It can be a huge chore going to the store especially with young children in tow. The whole experience can be every bit of mental, emotional and physically exhausting. But do try your best to endure to the end. If you do this one tip regularly then the battle to stay organized and to keep your kids’ meals healthy will be half-won. Immediately when you get home from the store, purposely keep the lunch foods out and get busy prepping things ahead of time. Instead of putting that bag of grapes away, go ahead and wash and store them in little bags or containers so that when it’s time to pack, you can just grab and toss them right into the lunch box. The same goes for things like carrots, salads, cheese slices or chunks, etc. Having these items ready to pack, helps keep the mind from making a molehill into a mountain.
3. Pack Lunches The Night Before
Of course, this is a no-brainer but this and pre-prepping are usually the two steps most neglected that causes the morning mayhems. Often your mornings are going to be busy anyway so it’s definitely not the time to have to worry about packing clean, healthy lunches. So, always set aside some time to make them the night before. If you can, get the kids involved and have them help with lunch prep and clean-up after. You can store cold items in the fridge and have everything else sitting in the lunch box ready to go. It won’t take you long to get into a rhythm of preparing lunches while you’re cleaning up after dinner. You’ll be definitely appreciating this new habit and will be thanking yourself in the mornings when all you need to do is grab, toss, and go.
4. Get In The Habit Of Cleaning Lunch Boxes As Soon As The Kids Get Home
To make lunch prep even easier, help get the kids into the habit of cleaning out their own lunch box as soon as they get home. Even the youngest can help with this. Have them toss any uneaten food into the trash and bring the containers to the sink to be washed. Older children can easily wash/wipe down their own lunchbox and even some of their containers. Having everything cleaned and ready to go will make it easier to pack the new lunches for later. You could also use that time where everyone together can pack the new lunches for the next day.
Stick to these 4 easy tips and it won’t take you long to get into an efficient lunch packing routine that will make it a snap to get organized, stay organized and to pack clean, healthy lunches for your kids. Don’t forget to get the kids involved and put them in charge of much of the preparations. Not only will this make your life easier, in the long run, it will give your children a sense of ownership and accountability for their overall health by establishing conscious food choice habits.
What’s your morning routine like? Do you have tips that you’d love to share to help others get organized and keep their kids eating healthy, clean foods? Share your thoughts in the comment box below. We’d love to know what you think.
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