Monday, April 25, 2011

Is Your Kid's Lunch Ruining Your Breakfast?

School Lunch. When we were kids it was never a big deal. Mom packed it, you ate it. But alas, like many other things today, what was simple has become complicated. Now there are zillions of options and opinions. What do the kids want? What is healthy? What is affordable? And most importantly, and usually the last considered, what is simple?

Don't worry - there is hope. I'm here to suggest a way to simplify and organize your kids school lunches so they are not the bane of your existence. But, like any good idea, you are going to have to make some sacrifices. Well, not you specifically. Your kids. And they might not even consider them sacrifices.

Have you been running a lunch counter for your lids every day? Have you been giving them options? Choice? If so - why? Do you EVER remember your mom/dad asking what you wanted for lunch every day?

Time to bring back the good old days.  I'm not suggesting you just put any old leftovers in their lunch. I'm suggesting that you sit down with your child and pick out a few acceptable choices for lunches. Acceptable for you in terms of cost, nutrition and ease of assembling, and acceptable to them in that they will eat it.

Here's my method for organizing kid's school lunches:
  1. Sit down with your kids and decide on two lunches. PB & J, ham & cheese, cream cheese on bagel - whatever. As long as it's something they like and nutritious. If you have multiple kids, maybe you will get lucky and they choose the same ones, But don't count on it.
  2. On Sunday, make lunch for the week. Yes, I said for the week. Make FIVE OF EXACTLY THE SAME LUNCH. Five PB & J, five ham and cheese, whatever. Make five of them. Yes, this means your child will be eating the same thing for lunch all week. Trust me. It's okay. The lunch police are not going to come after you. And, your child won't really mind in the long run. Expect some grumbling at first. But don't even tell them. Once they're at school the choice will be to eat something they like, that they also liked yesterday, or starve. I'm guessing they will eat. And surprisingly enough, most kids like this. They don't crave variety like adults do. They like the same thing over and over. After all, how many different types of food do they actually eat anyway?
  3. Wrap the sandwiches in foil, reusable bags, whatever. Put them in the freezer, with their name written on it. Yes, the freezer. I have never met a sandwich that won't last a week in the freezer. 
  4. Once a week make/buy dessert. I bake a batch of brownies, cookies, whatever and package them up into individual portions. Put these in the freezer also.
  5. Whatever else your child takes for lunch, put in one central location. Bags of pretzels, fruit bars, whatever. The idea is to have a weeks worth ready to go on Sunday, stored somewhere easily accessible. And you can freeze pretzels too if you want everything in one place.
  6. Get refillable metal water/juice bottle. It can be popped in to the dishwasher when needed.

That's it!

You are now ready for the best part. Picture this, it's Monday morning, the kids are getting ready for school, lunches need to be packed. 

  • Your job: Say clearly "Don't forget to pack your lunch".
  • Their job: they pack their lunch.

Since all the parts are there and easy to grab, they pack their lunch. And fill up their water/juice bottle. You are successfully transferring responsibility over to them, where it belongs. You are no longer chief cook and bottle washer in the morning. Your children are sharing part of the work load.

It's a beautiful thing........

be organized...evelyn

If you would like more organizing tips, find more in my eBook, 30 Days to an Organized Home, by clicking on the title. You can get a free sample download here too! 


Unknown said...

Lucky for me...the only thing my daughter eats for lunch is pb&j. My younger daughter, we have the "what do you want for lunch" fight every day. Thanks for the suggestions.

Evelyn Cucchiara said...

Thanks Deb for commenting! I'm lucky that one only likes bagels and cream cheese.....alternating with ham & cheese.

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