What’s for Lunch?

School is back in session; do you find it a chore to pack school lunches for the kids?

I’m a full-time Mom like so many of you, and know the struggle of finding time to put healthy, thoughtful lunches together. Each year, I try to streamline our morning routine so it’s not total chaos trying to get out the door. Pinterest is very helpful with creative and fun ideas on how to mix it up and keep lunch exciting, so I did a lot of homework over the summer to get prepared. Here are some of my takeaways:

Make it fun

I love the idea of the bento box style lunch so we’re giving it a try this school year. I opted for fun and colorful! Who wouldn’t get excited about opening the lid to a lunch full of fun sizes and colors?! These baking cups are great and inexpensive.

Let the kids have a say

As so many friends have recommended you can make up lunch option choices and let the kids pick their own lunch items. We’ve got a snack bucket (pictured), but also have at-the-ready veggies/fruits/yogurts/cheese sticks for the girls to grab and go. It’s a huge time saver in the morning. And the best part, you can change it up every week to limit food burn-out.

You have to do a little more work on the front end, but it’s worth it in the rushed morning hustle. Which brings me to my next point!

Prep is a life saver

To get started, I prepped my pantry and fridge with ready-to-grab lunch options – from cheese sticks and hard-boiled eggs (boiled up a whole dozen for the week) to apple sauces and boxes of raisins. Your initial stock up and parsing out will make lunch packing a snap all week long, then once a week you can restock or change up items.

By maintaining my stock, lunch prep has been a breeze and the kids are excited about it and love picking out and helping put together their own lunches.

If you need more proof, just ask Stop & Shop, they commissioned a survey of kids and young teens between the ages of 8 and 15 throughout New England and found that 55% of kids in New England say if they could make their own lunches it would make them feel happy and more independent. 50% of kids surveyed wished they had more lunchbox meal options and a larger variety. They’d probably never admit it in public either, but 59% of kids fessed up to report their mothers make the best school lunches.

Now if only everything else in the morning was so easy – like how we are always missing one shoe or one sock? I’d love to hear some of your time saving lunch shortcut ideas! Email me at cathysummers@ccb-media.com.

About Cathy Summers

Cathy Summers is the Midday Host on 99.9 The Q and Afternoon Host on Cape Country 104.