There is nothing worse than running late in the morning and then desperately trying to figure out something you can put in your children’s lunch boxes. Sometimes having a detour to follow if your morning isn't working out the way you'd like would be welcome. If you find yourself flustered, or end up buying school lunch because packing it seems like too much of a hassle, take a look at the tips below. They will help you get organized so fixing lunches becomes quick and easy.
Start With A List And Go Shopping
Start by sitting down with your kids and come up with a list of lunches they like. This could include sandwiches and wraps, or even homemade lunch-able, but it doesn’t have to stop there. If you add a thermos to the mix, you can suddenly pack reheated leftovers, homemade soup and the likes. The key is to find lunch foods and snacks that your kids will eat that are also easy to pack.
Make sure you have appropriate containers, and then head to the grocery store to pick up everything you need for the week. Don’t forget about snacks and drinks as needed. The list should make this much easier. Once you have several different lunch ideas your kids like and will actually eat, you can simply rotate through them and make the ingredients part of your weekly shopping trips.
When at the grocery store avoid the trap of buying the "convenience" foods for your child's lunch box. These foods are filled with GMOs and additives to avoid like BHT, TBHQ, artificial colors, flavors, and tons of added sugar. These are foods I ate as a child and had digestive issues as a result.
A great resource for recipe lunch box ideas is from Nom Nom Paleo Paleo Lunch Box Ideas. If you like what you see on her website, you can access her recipes through Real Plans. I like to use Real Plans to help simplify my weekly meal planning and shopping. I follow a paleo diet that makes eating gluten free easier. The paleo diet is a whole foods based way to eat focusing on healthy protein, healthy fats, eliminating processed foods and added sugars.
Prep What You Can As Soon As You Get Home
When you get home from the store, keep lunch foods out and see what you can do to prep things ahead of time. Instead of putting that bag of grapes away, go ahead and wash and store them in little bags you can grab and toss in the lunch box. The same goes for things like carrots and even salads. Slice cheese as needed and just thing about what you can prep as soon as you get home.
Pack Lunches The Night Before
Mornings are busy and not always the perfect time to have to worry about packing lunches. Try making them the night before. Try packing them after dinner at night. Get the kids involved and have them help with lunch prep and clean-up after. You can store cold items in the fridge and have everything else sitting in the lunch box ready to go. It won’t take you long to get into a rhythm of preparing lunches while you’re cleaning up after dinner. You’ll appreciate this new habit in the mornings when all you need to do is grab a couple of things from the fridge and toss them in the lunch boxes.
Get In The Habit Of Cleaning Lunch Boxes As Soon As The Kids Get Home
To make lunch prep even easier, get the kids into the habit of cleaning out their lunch box as soon as they get back from school. Even the youngest can help with this. Have them toss any uneaten food and bring the containers to the sink to be washed. Older children can easily clean their own containers, while you’ll probably have to do the washing for your youngest. Having everything clean and ready to go will make it easier to pack the new lunches later on in the day.
Recommended Products - Chemical Free Solutions
We live in a convenience centered world, constantly being told through media like television commercials, magazine and newspaper advertisements and the internet that we are too busy and deserve an easier life. What easy costs us though with our health is not shared with us.
Dr. Mercola discusses this in his article Practical Options to Store Your Food without Contaminating Them With Plastics.
Dr. Mercola shares plastic can be very useful, but it is important to understand that it may contain a hazardous mix of chemicals and additives, such as:
PBDEs, which cause reproductive problems
Phthalates, another group of reproductive toxins
BPA (bisphenol-A), which disrupts the endocrine system by mimicking the female hormone estrogen
The article also states these chemicals leach into whatever food or beverage you put in them, in amounts that vary depending on your use. For instance, if you microwave plastic containers or bottles, or put hot liquids or foods into them, BPA leaches into your food or drink 55 times faster than when used cold! There is also evidence that chemicals leech from plastic faster when the container is:
There are better alternatives to use for your food storage and lunch prepping. Some of the products are:
Frego BPA Free Glass Food Storage Container
Stainless Steel Divided Food Containers
Planet Wise Reusable Clear Sandwich/Snack Bags
Reusable Produce Bags
Stick to these tips and it won’t take you long to get into an efficient lunch packing routine that will make it a snap. Don’t forget to get the kids involved and put them in charge of much of the preparations. Not only will this make your life easier in the long run, it will give them a sense of ownership over their lunch.