We are on week 3 of school, which means most days there is one or more children in tears at my house by 5 pm as we all seek to adjust back to the life of schedule and early rising. One thing that has been a non-issue (for the first time ever) is the school lunch routine. Last year, I shared this post about how we do lunch. The kids have been packing their lunch from day one this year, and I’m convinced it is one of my better mom decisions ever. Here are a few things that make this work :
01 // The Fridge List
Honestly, this is probably the most crucial part of this process. We have this list posted on the fridge, and I make sure to be stocked at the beginning of the week, so they are able to pull from each category. Feel free to take this list and print it out, or make your own. During the school year, I try to do my grocery shopping on Sunday afternoons, and we have a brief “prep party” that evening to stock our fridge bins — make sandwiches, bag fruits and veggies, etc. Typically, the list is ever-evolving with what’s in season, etc; but here’s what we generally have on hand :
+ pre-made turkey sandwiches (I saw a pinterest video where the mom packed mayo + mustard packets with the sandwich. Anyone know where I can buy those?)
+ baggie with sliced cheese + rolled up lunch meat. pair it with crackers and you have a “lunchable”
+ tuna or chicken salad in pita
+ Peanut Butter or Nutella sandwich (kids make these day of). Although I’ve also had success making and freezing “uncrustables” — no need to get the sandwich sealer, a regular drinking glass works fine.
+ Corn Dogs, Chicken Nuggets or Frozen Pizza from Trader Joe’s (cooked the morning of and wrapped in tin foil)
fruit or veggie //
+ grapes (bagged in individual servings. i like to use the snack size bags from Target)
+ in season fruit : clementines, apples, peaches, etc
+ gogo squeeze applesauce packets
+ baby carrots (bagged)
+ sliced baby cucumbers (i like the persian cukes at TJ’s)
+ TJ’s yogurt probiotic smoothie (the kids are obsessed with these)
+ yogurt cup
+ string cheese
+ laughing cow or babybel cheese
+ bag of chips, pretzels, etc (sometimes I buy the pre-packaged, sometimes I bag it up myself)
+ goldfish or cheez-its
+ bagged cookies
+ granola or z bars
02 // Buying in Bulk
My friend Nora raved about using Jet.com and after my first order, I have to say I’m a big fan. Their wholesale shop is my new best friend. Can’t beat the free two day shipping (part of my order came the next day). I found Jet easier to search and purchase than Amazon, the shipping was quicker than Boxed, and don’t even get me started on how much I prefer shopping online over a trip to Costco! Tip: When I buy in bulk, I hide most of it, and periodically restock bins and baskets as needed.
03 // Good Lunch Containers
I feel like I’ve tried about every plastic lunch container out there and these are hands-down my favorite. Reasonably priced ($18.99 for a set of 3), with removable compartments, dishwasher safe, and leak-proof. I also recently discovered these water bottles. I love their smallish size and again, they are leak proof. We’ve had too many wet backpacks from faulty water bottles over the years to make that mistake again!
I’m all about making the lunch packing process easy and fun for the kids, because let’s be honest, it’s saving me a ton of time. With a little leg work at the beginning of the week, it can be done. Happy lunching!