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I hate packing school lunches. Like, really, really hate it. I’m not sure if it’s just because it becomes a monotonous chore for me or it’s because my kids are picky and I end up packing the same three things over and over. I’m not a morning person and the last thing I want to do is get up at the crack of dawn to think about what I’m going to throw in their box for them to eat. So I started letting the girls pack their lunches the night before. Except I noticed if I didn’t pay attention, they would pack just snacks and treats. Or they would whine and complain that they didn’t know what to pack. Then they would wait until the morning of and run out of time and I was back to packing school lunches myself because it was less stressful if I did it.
Last year though, I made this chart. I listed everything that they could pack for lunches and they would go the night before and look at the list, pack whatever they wanted from the list and it would take a fraction of the time and there were no complaints. It was so much easier for everyone!
I keep the list on the fridge where everyone can see it.
I also have a box of fruits and veggies bagged and ready to go into lunches inside the fridge. When I buy produce, I cut and divide them right away and toss them into the box.
Here’s a tip for sliced apples: Soaking them in salty water will prevent them from turning brown. One cup water to 1/4 tsp of salt is the measurement. Soak for 35 minutes and bag them and put them in the fridge. I’ve had them last up to four days. You can also put it whole in the lunchbox and cut it during breakfast so it doesn’t brown as fast.
Here’s a tip for carrots: I save all the ranch cups we don’t use at fast food places. Then I toss that into the bag of carrots so the kids have their carrots and dip and can toss it when they’re done.
I put all the snacks in a box on the shelf. They can choose a couple snacks from that.
I buy the big family boxes and divide and bag those right away as well. You get more servings for the price than buying the prepackaged bags and you can control how much goes in it. I usually use the serving size as a guide and then adapt as needed.
All the kids have their own water bottles, but they can also pack milk to go with their cereal or juice if they need an extra drink. And that’s how I organize myself for packing school lunches, and getting the kids to help!
Feel free to download the chart for your own use. I’m happy to share anything that helps!