Listen up. I am about to share all of my lunch time-saving tips with you. So make note and commit a few of these to memory. Trust me. You will need them.
Over the course of this coming school year, it is likely you will need about 200 packed lunches, that is if your adorable children are lifers (I mean full time and full day students like mine).
That’s just for one child.
So lunch time-saving tips are not negotiable.
You can obviously make that a wee bit less onerous by opting in for the pizza days and the hot lunch days. I highly recommend this as a service to you dear parent/reader. I have been doing this lunch deal for years now and frankly by June packing lunch is so dreadfully tedious around here that I, like a lot of Moms, am more than ready for summer vacation.
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Now, before you get all hung up on the math and start to feel completely overwhelmed, take a moment and breathe. I have packed about a zillion lunches now with my kids helping. My kids are tweens. One is in grade seven. So I have a wee bit of experience in this department.
My Five Lunch Time-Saving Tips
I am here to make your life a bit easier by sharing my top five lunch time-saving tips.
1. Teach Your Kids How to Prepare, Help or Pack Their Lunch.
Get started early with this and repeat the lesson, or tutorial often. Kids are more likely to eat the food that they prepare.
They also need to learn a bit about nutrition and healthy eating from a young age, so work side by side with them and have them help make the sandwiches or wraps, or package up the fruit and veggies. Talk about the food groups and protein. You can ask where do we want the apple, first break? Second break? Then discuss why.
Believe me, this is a skill that saves you time and money. Also it’s a skill for life. (Starting at 5 or 6 they can easily take part in some of this process. My youngest daughter always wants to be involved in some way so she knows what she is getting. Plus it was a novelty for her to stay for lunch and she really enjoys helping in the kitchen.)
**Small caveat here – I still supervise these gals even though one is age 12. Why? Because of the infamous attempt to sneak a box of cookies and a bag of chocolate chips into her lunch bag just last year. **
Can you imagine that?
2. Make Lunch the Night Before (if possible).
Believe me, I am the first to admit this one goes out the window often by October, but keep it as a goal. Build it into your routine. It saves on late slips and annoying little oops we are out of bread moments in the morning. I encourage everyone to do this before bed no matter their age.
3. Prepare, Wash and Package Fruits and Veggies Sunday Night:
This helps take care of number one. If you and your kids wash and chop, then package five little packets of carrots and cucumbers, grapes, strawberries etc. on Sunday night, then for the rest of the week when your child is helping make their lunch, they have excellent choices already prepared and easy to grab. I like to stack the deck in my favour.
4. Leave a Ziploc Bag in the Lunch Bag or Bento Container:
Most schools in Ontario have a waste free policy, or something to that effect, meaning your child cannot dump their gooey banana peels in the garbage inside the classroom.
So, spare yourself the ruined lunch box, or rotting food stains, or disgusting mess and remind your child every day to put any of the wet garbage or wrappers inside the Ziploc bag. You will thank me for this one.
I have seen many new parents lose their mind going through 5 lunch bags a year. That’s really time-consuming and expensive. They put the garbage into the disposable baggie and it goes into your waste bin at home the moment they walk through the door. Not optional.
There are also reusable bags now for lunch waste – it’s still a good idea to convince the kids to put their waste into these cute reusable bags or Ziploc bags.
LOVE these by Erkoon – > Reusable sandwich bags.
5. Buy Packaged Nutritious Treats Each Week:
I like to have staples here that the kids love and will reach for – boxes of raisins, boxes of cranberries, tuna kits, Mott’s apple sauces. (I also stock reusable but inexpensive camping sporks – spoon/forks so I don’t lose my mind if they forget a spoon or two).
This is one of my crucial lunch time-saving tips, because as much as you want to have everything perfectly fresh for them, you will often need something fast and healthy to add that is ready to go. These Motts Veggie Treats fit the bill.
When I heard Mott’s had a Fruitsations Veggie Treat I was pretty ecstatic. That adds a nutritious, relatively low calorie option that can make packing lunches fun. These are 80 calories each pack. They have added veggies which is a bonus for me. Plus these are tasty. We’ve had them here this summer and been using them in lunches for day camp.
Visit the Life Made Delicious Facebook Page for special offers that might help you stay thrifty.
Do you have a lunch tip or favourite food to pack?
“Disclosure – I am participating in the Mott’s Fruitsations & Veggie fruit snacks Blogger Campaign by Mom Central Canada. I received compensation as a thank you for participating and for sharing my honest opinion. The opinions on this blog are my own.”