Pack School Lunches Your Kids Will Actually Eat - Back to School, Part 1
How to Pack School Lunches Your Kids Will Actually Eat
Summer is coming to an end and school is about to start. It might have already started for some of you!That means it’s time to get back into a school year routine. For many households, part of that routine is packing school lunches. Packed lunches are an excellent option if your child doesn't fancy what the school has to offer or if you would like to have a little more control over what your child is eating (it may also be better on the bank for some). Even if your child(ren) are homeschooled, it can be very helpful to have an idea what to have for lunch the next day. Much like with dinner, you may often find yourself wondering what's for lunch or making last minute decisions.
If your child has dietary restrictions or food allergies, packing lunches is probably already your default option out of necessity. Packing a lunch allows you to include healthy foods your child will actually eat and it doesn’t have to cost any more than what you would be paying for lunch at school.Related Post: The Importance of Meal PlanningOf course, packing a lunch every day is of no benefit if your child doesn’t eat it or trades most of it away in exchange for junk food. It's important to find out what healthy food options your child enjoys eating.
Get Your Child Involved
Getting your child involved in their school lunch prep from the beginning will ensure everyone is on the same page and nothing goes to waste. Work with them in deciding what they want in their lunch box, compile the list of options, then bring them along to the store so that they experience the whole process. Depending on the age of your kids, or as they get older, you could even put them in charge of making their own lunches. Not only do you know that they’ll pack something they will eat, but it will serve as a small, yet significant lesson in responsibility. This Pinterest Board has some yummy ideas!
Don't Forget the Younger Kids!
Though younger children may be unable to pack their own lunches, they can still contribute with the prepping. Even your kindergartner can wash grapes and put them into a container, or pick a snack for his/her lunch box. Establish the habit of making lunches together the night before. As they grow, you can give the kids more and more responsibility for their lunches. This alone will help make sure they eat what they’ve packed. After all, it’s the lunch they made. You are also teaching them important life skills along the way.
Balance is Key
Keep in mind that you want to encourage your kids to pack and eat healthy foods. Obviously, insisting on all healthy, all organic options all the time may not be your best strategy. However, you can strike a balance and make compromises. For example, if your kids pack and eat a healthy wrap or salad, you could let them have some cookies for dessert. Teach them to make good choices, but don’t freak out if they decide to pack some Cheetos or a pack of Oreo cookies. The goal is for your child(ren) to favor eating fairly healthy and make smart food choices. Not restrict all access to junk food just because and cause them to trade with friends for forbidden Twinkies (*gasp*).
Do you have any hacks on how to pack school lunches that your kids actually eat? I'd love to hear about it below!