Lunch Box Pack Hacks

A few nights ago, I packed my daughter’s first school lunch. I’ll admit that I was a little emotional about it. Kids grow up way too fast! I’m not sure I’m ready to have her gone at school all day. But ready or not, first grade here we come!

Growing up, I remember my mom disliking the monotonous process of packing school lunches. I also remember her rejoicing when my youngest sister graduated from high school and she no longer had to pack lunches. I haven’t reached burn-out yet; in fact, I think packing school lunches is kind of fun. I wonder if my mom would have enjoyed packing lunches more if she had more tricks up her sleeve. Here are some great “lunch box hacks” that will help with the school lunches.

Plan it! Sometimes the worst part of packing a lunch is knowing what to pack. Create a list of lunch ideas and post it on the back of your pantry door. Make sure to think about lunches as your plan your shopping lists and weekly menus. Packing lunches the night before is also be super helpful.

Organize it! Organize your pantry so it makes it easy to pack lunches. Have a box for lunch treats, another box for chips, a box for healthy snacks, and a place for juice boxes. You can quickly grab something out of each box or even better, let you kids help you pack their own lunches this way. You could also have baskets or bins in your fridge with similar items. A basket with everything you need to make a sandwich could be helpful.

Freeze it! A lot of people are concerned with keeping perishable items cool in a lunch box. Some items you can keep frozen and then put them directly in your child’s lunch. They will thaw by lunch time and keep the box cool in the meantime. Some great things to freeze are peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, cookies, grapes, Go-Gurt yogurt sticks, Capri Suns, and applesauce pouches.

Heat it! On the flipside, you may want to add a little variety to your child’s school lunch by adding some heated foods. Since not all school cafeterias have a microwave accessible to the kids, you can keep things warm in a small thermos. For example, if you cook some chicken nuggets and place them in a thermos while they’re piping hot, they should still be warm at lunch time. Of course, you would probably want to experiment with this a bit to see exactly how long things will stay warm. …And you don’t want a super-hot metal thermos to melt a hole in their lunchbox.

Pack it! If you are tired of buying a gazillion ziplock bags every year, try using a divided tupperware containers. You can also wrap sandwiches and tortilla wraps in plastic wrap or wax paper instead of ziplock bags. Reusable drink containers can also be helpful.

And if the task of packing lunches still seems overwhelming to you, use the greatest hack of all: sign them up for school lunch!


    Cristina Duke
    Monthly Newsletter Contributor since 2014
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