School lunches giving you a headache? The solution is here!
I know I’m not alone here so I’ll jut say it – making school lunches is the worst! Wait until you read how easy it is to put balanced lunches in your kid’s backpacks with just a little prep time + organization. Bonus! Your kids will love helping make these lunches + eating them too. At the bottom of this post find my Free School Lunch Shopping List Printable.
I’m so excited to share this mom hack in my first post! I was struggling with finding healthy options to put in school lunches (that my kiddos would eat). Ham & cheese roll-ups with fresh fruit was my go-to. When in a rush I often just grabbed whatever was convenient, think pre-packaged and processed foods (cue the Mom Guilt). A typical last minute lunch in my house is an Uncrustable, apple sauce squeeze and a bag of Pirates Booty. Sadly not a well balanced lunch. Sound familiar? Don’t get me wrong, I still have Uncrustables on hand in my freezer at all times, and Pirates Booty is a staple in my pantry, but I’m able to offer my kiddos better choices by being organized and planning ahead.
This summer I decided with my daughter starting Kinder (gulp) we should also start a new lunch routine. No more mom guilt over last minute (unbalanced) lunches. I was determined to find a more efficient way of packing healthy lunches. Also check out 10 Kid + Mom Approved Snacks that Belong in Your Pantry!
Mommas this is so easy! Not only are my kiddos eating balanced lunches, they are actually excited about what they’re eating.
My five year old daughter is picky eater, but now that she’s making the choices about what goes in her lunch she is eating a variety of new things! Who knew cucumbers taste better when you pack them yourself?
I used mDesign clear bins, these are the best! I love these bins because they are clear, stackable and durable! Perfect solution for saving space in the fridge too.
Here are some examples of what you’ll find in our bins, all things my kiddos will eat, but also keeping in mind healthy options.
Shopping List Inspo Free Printable!
Here are a few things you’ll find in my fridge/pantry bins that my kiddos like to eat! Click Here for my Free School Lunch Shopping List Printable. If you’re a subscriber you can access the printables in my content library!
- Fruits: berries, grapes, apples, cuties
- Veggies: baby carrots, sliced cucumber, sugar snaps, mini tomatoes
- Protein: ham roll-ups, salami, turkey sticks, almonds, hard boiled eggs
- Dairy: string cheese, yogurt, sliced cheese
- Grains: Bitsy’s smart crackers, wheat thins, pretzels, rice crackers
- Treats: yogurt covered raisins, my super cookies, fruit roll-ups
*Must Read Tips*
Tip #1: Be sure to list on the labels the number of items per bin. My daughter would just eat fruit if she could so I limit this to one item (also limits the sugar). For protein and dairy, I allow two items because most of the options I’ve provided are small portions. Grains I limit to one because of the portion size. Veggies…I’m lucky if they eat one!
Tip #2: My daughter doesn’t hardly ever eat her veggies at dinner, but she is motivated by sweet treats. I created a treats bin for her to pick one sweet treat for her lunch if she eats her veggies the night prior. This doesn’t always work, but we are making progress on the veggie front!
Tip #3: I limit the number of each item per bin. Once we run out I don’t replenish the bin until its empty. This forces my kiddos to eat a variety of things and not pack the same lunch every time.
Tip #4: For things like ham and salami I roll it up and put it into a container that goes into the bin. You can also pre-package into snack size ziplock bags.
Tip #5: This hack is what my daughter is most excited about and me too – no plastic baggies here, these reusable silicon cups help portion out the food. Can you guess what these actually are? Cupcake/Muffin Baking Cups (who knew) but perfect to control portion size and my kiddos love to pick the color and shapes to put into their lunch boxes! Easy to wash out and leave on the drying rack for the next day. Just make sure they don’t throw them away at school!
Tip #6: Making lunches the night prior will make you more efficient in the morning. Build this into your nightly routine (less then 10-minutes) and you’ll thank me when you have five extra minutes in the mornings.
happy kiddos + happy mommas = happy lunch making!
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