Anyone else looking through Pinterest for lunch ideas?
I have been pinning like a mad woman since our kids are starting school next week and it helps them when I have a list of ideas for them to choose from when THEY make their own lunch.
Yes, your kids can make their own lunch! My kids started at 5 yrs old.
We can delegate some of those responsibilities that make for a hectic morning and can be done by your children. Mornings can be hectic in our home between making breakfast, lunch, making sure they are dressed, and walking out the door with lunch, backpack and homework… I felt like I needed a nap by the time I got every one out of the house.
Guess what though, you can delegate some of this stuff! Just in case you’re wondering my boys are 12, 9 and 5.
So, I came up with this lunch packing routine that has literally changed our life. Well, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit but I have been amazed by how our mornings are more peaceful all because I delegated a few things.
Our kids pack their own lunch now and they are responsible to pack everything like back they need the night before. I no longer do mid day drop offs for that project they forgot at home because they didn’t pack the night before.
I wanted to try out our life-changing routine for a few months before I shared it with you all just to make sure it was a winner in our home but then I forgot to post it. Oops! So, here I am sharing it a year later but now I can tell you it worked wonderfully the WHOLE school year for our familia!
In order, for a stress free morning it’s important that they pack it the night before so it was ready to go the next morning. Before you know it is a part of their nightly routine!
Added Bonus, I was Surprised!
An added bonus to them packing their lunch was that they ate all their food even their veggies because they picked them and made their own lunch.
Now that was a delightful surprise!
Sometimes I had to check to ensure they didn’t end up with a carb and sugar filled lunch. Sugar is hidden in so many things. So another added bonus was through my guidance they were learning about nutrition.
This may not sound like an unhealthy lunch but it’s sugar packed: peanut butter and jelly sandwich, bag of chips, graham crackers, yogurt and juice. Wow, I thought to myself this is a recipe for an afternoon disaster with all that sugar and not to mention carbs in their lunch bag. Then we wonder why they are falling apart by 1:30 p.m. I try to encourage them to have protein in whatever form in their lunch.
Anyways, this is how our Pick 1 Lunch system worked, I hope it works for you!
Our Pick One Lunch Packing Routine That Changed Our Life
This is how our system worked ALL YEAR long! I call it the Pick 1 Lunch Routine.
- PRINT off the free printable either:
2. Every night after dinner or sometimes before dinner, I would ask them to go in the kitchen and make their lunch. The printable is on the fridge to remind them what goes in their lunch.
I basically broke it down into 5 categories and they have to pick one from each item to make up their lunch. They have to put 1 item from each category in their box: Main meal, fruit, vegetable, treat and drink. For our kids, water always has to be in their box and if they want to add milk to it they can.
3. My only responsibility is to keep the fridge stocked with the items for them to make their lunch. There were days throughout the year that I didn’t make it to the grocery store in time, so they would just pack leftovers.
- The first couple of weeks will be a learning lesson for all of you. Be patient!
- Don’t make lunch for them because it’s easier. Remember they are learning some life skills in the process.
- Stock up on baggies of different sizes and tupperware of various sizes.
- It will take them some time to figure out how long it takes to make their lunch and to remember to make their lunch the night before.
- Purchase lunch bags with built in freeze sacks that they can add if needed to their lunch bag. Also buy a thermos for soup if you think they’ll take soup for lunch.
- Also, be patient! You’ll need to teach them how to make some basic things.
- Start off with 2 simple main meals and practice for a week. Then add something else as the school year continues.
- Also, you’ll need a few weeks for you to figure out what veggies and fruits to stock up on that you notice they enjoy a lot more.
- But with that said don’t be afraid to add a variety of veggies and fruits they may find they like the new veggie.
- There were weeks I didn’t have to remind them to make their lunch but most of the time I did give them a quick reminder.
Here are some ideas for the categories:
main meal: leftovers, ham & spinach pinwheels (with hummus as the base), cold pasta salad with veggies (left over pasta from dinner), hard boiled eggs, quesadillas, pizza bagel, bean and cheese burrito, grilled cheese, french toast kababs (left over French toast), apple & turkey wrap, tuna salad, waffle sticks, bagel sandwich, chicken salad (left over chicken from dinner), taco in a bag Ieft over ground beef from dinner), crackers with deli meat and cheese, baked Pretzels with cheese & pepperoni, …
veggies: broccoli, carrot sticks, red & green bell peppers sliced, cauliflower, peas, green beans, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, celery, corn, zucchini, lettuce, spinach, salad…
fruit: pineapple slices, apples, oranges, bananas, strawberries, papaya, peaches, pears, kiwi, watermelon, raspberries, cantaloupe, grapes, grapefruit, watermelon, plums
treats/snacks: cheese, graham crackers, saltines, hummus, apple sauce, yogurt (low in sugar), wheat tortilla with peanut butter, toast with cheese, animal crackers, pretzels, trail mix, popcorn…
This is so easy it to start in your home that it doesn’t hurt to try it. Yes, your 5 year old can learn how to make their own lunch. Making a sandwich is not hard and doesn’t require any major kitchen tools. You’ll need to guide them at the beginning but after a few weeks they’ll have it down.