Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Lunchbox Love: School lunch ideas, tips and tricks

Between my school age and preschool kids I will make approx 1350 lunches this school year. 

I have many parenting weaknesses but one of my strengths is making school lunches. I have been making them for 12 years and have another 12 plus to go. It drives my hubby batty but I do make individual lunches for each kid. Usually the fruit/vegetable and treat are similar but the main part is different. It is a long school day, I want my kids to eat their lunch, so I pack things I know they will eat. If they are having a tough day I want them to know that at lunch their favorite sandwich and treat is waiting for them. It is like a hug from me. Disclaimer: By May everyone gets the same lunch and it doesn't look nearly as pretty as the first week of school!

The picture above shows some of my kids favorite lunches.
Top Left: Cheese quesadillas (I make them in the morning then wrap them in tinfoil), carrots, and gummy bears 
Bottom Left: Sandwich, apples, and Oreos 
Top Right: Cheese, Crackers and Pepperoni (I use silicone reusable cupcake liners to keep them separated), grapes and carrots
Bottom Right: Pita Quarters, single serving of hummus from Wegmans, blueberries and carrots
Some other favorites are: chicken nuggets (I cook them in the morning and wrap them in tin foil), lunch meat and cheese roll ups, salads and burritos.

Most mornings I feel like Fred the Baker from the old Dunkin Donut Commercials..."Time to make the lunches"

I want to share one of my favorite lunch tools - easylunchboxes bento boxes. A friend introduced them to me over 3 years ago and they are awesome! The ones that I use have 3 compartments and a lid. They are sturdy, dishwasher safe (seriously, they hold up really well in the dishwasher) and only 2 pieces!! I love that the lid stays on but the kids can still get it off at lunch time without struggling. I also love that it cuts down on our use of plastic sandwich bags. My favorite part is that a set of 4 is only $13.95!! This is not an ad or sponsored post, I use them everyday for my kids school lunches. 

My tips and tricks for no lunch drama for mama in the morning are:
  • Do as much prep work the night before as you can. A week's worth of PB&J sandwiches can go in the freezer and be taken out the night before and put in the fridge to thaw.
  • Get the kids involved. My older girls make their own lunches the night before and my younger kids let me know what they want and pick out their snacks and treats.
  • Have some options left for the end of the week when the groceries are running low, i.e. bagels and cream cheese can work as a sandwich, oranges when the strawberries run out.
What do you pack for your kids lunches? 

Do you have any favorite school lunch tools and tips?