I started packing lunches for my daughters when she was two and when my husband switched jobs And working very long hours I started packing his lunch as well. My mornings became crazy with getting everything packed and everyone out the door – it was a nightmare. Meal prepping became my go to on Sunday afternoons so our weekday mornings (and evenings) started going smoother and I knew everyone was getting the healthy lunches they need to boost their energy levels.
When planning out lunches I try to follow a balanced meal pattern:
- Whole grain
- Sweet treat
This helps me ensure my kids are getting all the healthy nutrients they need to fuel their bodies and brains. Bright colors and small sweet treats make lunch time more fun. Since packing well balanced lunches I have noticed my oldest has less afternoon meltdowns before dinner. Also, prepping out lunches in advance helps me to manage the weekday time crunch so I can enjoy more time with my kids rather than being stressed and occupied with chores. Keep reading for some great examples of easy kids school lunches!
- Pepperoni and mozzarella mini pizzas on whole grain flatbread
- Cheddar cheese cubes
- Yogurt covered raisins
- Mini chocolate chip cookies
- Whole grain banana mini muffins
- Unsweetened applesauce
- Chopped strawberries
- Sliced cucumbers and Greek yogurt ranch on the side
- Vanilla yogurt covered pretzels
- Turkey & cheese kitty cat sandwiches
- Fresh chopped carrots and Greek yogurt ranch on the side
- Fresh raspberries
- Babybel cheese
- Danimals yogurt smoothie
- Dark chocolate covered blueberries
- Whole grain scoop chips
- Seasoned ground Turkey
- Shredded cheese
- Fresh strawberries
I use these dishwasher safe style “bento” boxes with multi-colored plastic lids. Each day gets a different color and when I prep out lunches I take an hour or two out of my Sunday afternoon to assemble everything. The produce and foods that will hold up a bit longer I put in the colors I reserve for the end of the week. Anything that I know will go bad quickly – like berries – either gets added the day of or is in the earlier in the week containers. Some other helpful tools can include:
- Condiment cups with lids
- Cupcake wrappers (my kiddo is younger so I use the paper ones right now – but use silicone ones for older kids/adults).
- Cookie cutters and shaped punches (for sandwiches, veggies and cheese)
- Sandwich picks
- Reusable/dishwasher safe bamboo silverware
Do you have any helpful tips or fun lunches your kiddos love? Anything that works well – or doesn’t? Let me know!