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school lunch ideas

What’s in Your Lunchbox? Back-to-School Tips and Tricks for Lunch

It’s hard to believe summer is coming to an end, and we’re all gearing up {again} for the school year. As much as I look forward to the hustle and bustle of fall and holiday season, getting all the kids organized, ready, and prepared for the school year is tough. Many schools provide lunches for the kids, but some do not. I pack three little lunch boxes every day for my kids. With waking them up and getting them out of bed, dressed, fed, and ready for their day, making lunches can be challenging. So today, I’m discussing my top back-to-school lunch ideas to make your typical stressful morning a little less stressful!

My Top 5 Tips on School Lunch Ideas

1. Pack the Night Before.

We all know how hectic and crazy the mornings can be getting all the kids fed, dressed, and out the door. Making lunches the night before really saves time and makes a big difference in the mornings.

With 3 lunches to pack, this tip is a huge time saver for me!

2. Pick the Right Supplies.

I love PackIt lunch boxes. These lunch boxes have built in freezable gel packs so you do not have to use ice packs. You just place the whole lunch box in the freezer, and it keeps the food cold for up to 10 hours. I make my kids’ lunches the night before and place the food in a sandwich bag. I place the whole lunch box in the freezer. Then, in the AM, I transfer the containers into their school lunchboxes. No dealing with ice packs, melting ice, or warm food.

I LOVE these lunch boxes!

I’m also obsessed with these little containers designed for packing lunches. You can usually find them at Old Navy. They are the perfect size and have the perfect number of compartments to pack a well balanced lunch.

Don’t forget that you can pack warm meals and open up your options. This option is great for my kids because they aren’t so keen on sandwiches. You can pack meals like spaghetti, chicken tenders, rice, or whatever they love. I LOVE Funtainer thermoses. They are the perfect size for lunch boxes, keep the food warm for hours, do not leak, and come in lots of fun patterns.

3. Use a Peanut Butter Substitute.

We all know there are strict rules with schools and peanut butter, but some kiddos just love peanut butter and jelly. I find great substitutes that taste just like peanut butter but are actually peanut free. Your kiddos won’t even know the difference. My favorites are at Trader Joe’s!

Check out these easy and tasty peanut-free snack recipes!

4. Organization is Key.

I know Katie will make fun of me for this one, but like I said already, pack the night before! You will thank me for this one! PROMISE!

Create a “lunch caddy” station!  Get a small organization caddy and place all your go to lunch box items in them. Then when you’re packing, it’s easy to just grab and go.

5. Tips For Picky Eaters

I am well versed in the child that will not eat anything. I have two of them! Over the years, three things have really helped to get my children to eat more variety:

  1. Let them help you make their lunch or any meal. Including them in the process helps them feel like they are a part of the decision. They are proud of what they make! And let’s be honest, many times our kids are picky eaters as a control tactic. Mommy and daddy say to eat, and they refuse because they can.
  2. If your child’s school offers meals, let your child get school lunches (of course, only if you’re comfortable with the meals they provide). My kiddos are more willing to try and eat different foods when their parents are not hovering over them.
  3. Use cute cut outs to make the food more fun and entertaining! There are so many to choose from. Let them pick out which shapes they want. The more control they feel they have over the food they’re eating, the better the results you will have.

Final Thoughts on My Top Back-to-School Lunch Ideas

I hope these tips help you prepare some delicious and nutritious back-to-school goodies for your little ones while helping to make your morning routine a little less hectic. These times are tough and can be overwhelming with all of the moving parts. So try to take a step back and remember that this time goes by quickly. Before we know it, our kids will be grabbing their own food on the go, and we will miss those days of cutting cute hearts in their cheese sandwiches and begging them to eat their fruit.

Happy back-to-school!helping make school lunch packing school lunch

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