So, let’s talk about school lunches. It’s February, and we have some long stretches of school ahead of us with no breaks. I feel like it’s the point of winter where everyone is burned out on packing lunches and school in general. We’ve been doing something different this year, and I feel like after five months, I can say it’s working pretty well.
As I was planning before the school year started, I realized packing everyone’s lunches wasn’t going to be realistic for me this year. With Penny starting Kindergarten, we are up to 5 lunches a day (6, when Sawyer has preschool Monday and Tuesdays). I’d seen lots of suggestions on Pinterest for having kids pack their own lunch, which seemed like a logistical nightmare to me, but I figured we would give it a try. And what do you know, with some simplification it has actually worked for us.
We have this “cheat sheet” posted on our fridge :
When I go grocery shopping, I get most of the items on this list and stock the fridge. I’ve also started getting a few items from the frozen section for main course (individual pizzas, corn dogs, chicken nuggets) that the older kids can cook to share with everyone. We have 3 bins on the bottom fridge shelf labeled fruit, dairy, + veggies. When I’m unpacking from the store, I take 10-15 minutes to divide up fruits and veggies in snack size baggies, and stock the bins. Chips, cookies and granola bars are in other bins on top of the fridge and in a lower cabinet where the little kids can reach.
Every morning, the kids, from ages 15 down to 6, are responsible for adhering to this list and packing a sensible lunch. The chips and smoothies and cookies are first to go, but overall it’s been a good lesson in planning for all of them. And cut WAY back on the lunch complaints, because there’s something about making your own food that makes it more appealing? I think it’s also made them appreciate the work that goes into feeding a family more. So yay for that!
And there you have it. Super simple. Nothing new. But something that’s really helped make our life a little less crazy this year. Please pass along any tips or suggestions you have… I’d love to hear them!