The school lunch box routine can take some getting used to! I know a lot of mums who loathe the daily task of packing lunches. I have to admit it’s not high on my list of jobs that I love to do either.
I thought I’d share these 8 tips I use to take the pressure out of making school lunches.
- Lunch Bags
Start with a lunch bag, It’s going to be used every day so ensure you buy something that is easy to clean and sturdy. Keeping our school lunches cool is a high priority living in Queensland. This year we will be using the Smash ‘The Fridge’ for the first time. The bag comes with removable gel ice packs to keep food colder for up to 7 hours. It is made from a durable PVC making it easy to wipe clean. You can find The Fridge at Officeworks and Coles
2. Lunch Boxes
Once you have your bag you’ll need to choose a lunch box that fits. I was converted by Smash to using a Bento-style lunch box and will never go back. Bento lunch boxes have multiple compartments to keep food separate. There are a lot of variety and styles of Bento lunch boxes available, but I haven’t been able to go past the size and flexibility of the Bento Switch Up. This will be our second year using the Smash Bento switch up for our school lunches. I’ve loved that this lunch box is versatile with changeable compartments You can find them in Woolworths, Coles, Big W and Officeworks.
3. Buy two lunch boxes
You might be thinking are two lunch boxes really necessary? You defiantly only need one and can certainly make that work, but these are my reasons for having two. Firstly it’s a great back up if one is left at school or temporarily lost. But the main reason is because I like to make lunches the night before. Having a second lunch box means I don’t have to wash and dry one up before I can start making school lunches for the next day. It also means if my kids aren’t home with their lunch boxes, I can still make lunches and start getting organised for the next day while they are at after school activities etc.
4. Make it a routine
I mentioned that I like to make school lunches the night before, that’s 100% because I’m not a morning person! I’ll do everything I can the night before so I can sleep a little bit longer. For me making lunches the night before was a game changer and I know it has been for a lot of other busy mums. Our school lunches are still fresh the next day and I’ve have had no complaints from the boys. You know yourself when you work best and what suits your family. Choose the time that suits you and make it your routine.
5. Pack what they like
If you want your kids to eat their lunch, you need to pack foods you know they like and will eat. I don’t mean pack a school lunch full of treats you know they love, but if they are happy to eat a Vegemite sandwich each day, I will pack a Vegemite sandwich each day. One of my boys is a creature of habit and would take the same lunch each day. The other one likes to mix it up a bit more and takes a variety of sandwiches and wraps.
6. Have a trial run
This one applies more to children in Early Years. Pack their lunch in their lunch box and allow them to practice opening their lunch box and any packed food. You’ll be able to show them any sneaky secrets for opening packets or tricky containers. It can be useful to slightly open packet for them to make it easier. There is nothing worse than the over-zealous opening of a chip or popcorn packet and most of it going on the floor! Or the little one who’s too shy to ask the teacher to help open anything.
7. Be Flexible
You know yourself that some days you’re hungier than others. While I’m happiest when their lunch boxes come home empty I’ve agreed that as long as they eat their sandwich and a piece of fruit, I’m happy. My boys know these two are non-negotiable and that that’s what they must eat first.
8.Keep it simple
I’ll always come back to this rule in all areas of organising, creating habits and routines – Keep it simple! Do what works for you and your family. Take one or all of my tips and adapt them to suit your family, make them work for you!
Happy lunch making