What is it about packing lunches that just sucks? Is it all the options? See Variety Is A Ploy of the Devil...Or the whole making it through the day, feeding people, cleaning up from the day only to get out stuff for the next day and make another mess in the kitchen? My mind is ready to shut down at just the point it needs to make yet another 3-5 decisions for 3-5 people and I just want to be done!
Here are some tips, and super easy lunch box ideas to help you out this week:
1. Keep. It. Simple. As much as I feel like my love and parenting ability is wrapped up in what this lunch is like...it is not and I can stick to what I know and what I know they like.
2. Ditch the Bread. Making sandwiches can be on of my most dreaded chores of packing 5 lunches for the kids. But giving them a roll up or just some meat and cheese with or without crackers (similar to a lunchable minus the price and packaging) accomplishes the same thing: main meal.
3. Eliminate all the options. I grew up on the same lunch, 5 days a week with maybe a slight variation in my chips or dessert option. Granted, it was in the days when peanut butter and cheetos were allowed in school, but here I am no worse for the wear. It's ok to not ask your kids what they want for lunch every single day.
4. Stick to a few basics. There are a couple of items I pack in their lunch boxes nearly every single day. Such as a granola bar, applesauce, a fruit cup, and a piece of fresh fruit.
5. Invest in a decent water bottle for each child and give them only water. I occasionally buy the mix-in flavors so they feel like they are having something special.
6. A few inexpensive, simply divided containers make the packing that much easier and clean up a breeze. A few favorites are listed below and don't portion of your child's education fund.
7. When all else fails, no one ever died from eating 1 lunchable a week.
A few of Amanda & Lily's Go-To's:
*it should be noted that Amanda is the most reliable source when it comes to lunch packing. Lily makes packed lunch 1-2 days a week which is enough to send her into a tizzy and be known for avoiding it all together by bringing a bag of popcorn and sack of apples to share on the floor of the gym...
Water water water
Rollups: 1) meat & cheese, 2) peanut butter & nutella, 3) peanut butter & jelly, 4) peanut butter & honey, 5) cream cheese & avocado, 6) cream cheese + shredded cheese
DIY Lunchable: Crackers, sliced cheese, sliced meat or pepperoni
Pita Chips + to-go hummus
Side ideas that don't involve much prep work and can be thrown into those containers mentioned above: apples, clementines, carrots, cucumbers, squeeze applesauce, frozen yogurt tube (usually thawed by lunchtime), granola bar, grapes, mini bell peppers, fruit cups, popcorn
And sometimes just for fun, I throw in a little something special that makes the kids smile. Maybe their favorite cookie or a simple hershey kiss.