It's almost time for back to school. Down here in Atlanta, we head back on August 12. Too bad for my seventh grader...that's her 12th birthday. Yikes. Twelve. I digress...
This post here is to give you some quick tips to packing great lunches. There's a ton of posts just like this one, and I may be hijacking some ideas, but we are all in this together, folks!
1. Having things for lunch on hand at all times. I am not a planner by any means. What I do plan for is having to make lunch. And dinner. And some sort of breakfast. So tip 1 is NOT planning, but having things on hand. Having things like breads, cheeses, hard boiled eggs, frozen peas, vegetables, trail mixes, traditional sandwich makings like peanut butter and jelly and cold cuts on hand makes for easy lunch packing. Yogurts and frozen yogurt pops are good too. Over the weekend, I usually make pancakes and waffles to freeze for breakfasts...they do double duty for lunch too!
2. Make lunch the night before. I always make lunch for the next day when I get home from work. I get off around 2pm, so right after I shower, and before the kids get home from school, lunch for the next day is rearing to go. Then I don't have to think about it in the morning before the coffee kicks in. I store it in the fridge until it needs to hit the lunchbag. If its a hot meal, I usually set out the thermos containers. Then in the morning, I fill the thermos with hot water while I heat up the lunch. I usually over heat it a bit so it stays hot until lunch time. I store the lunches in the fridge, but if there's something that doesn't do well with refrigeration, I place a silicone cupcake mold inside the box and leave that item out on the counter.
3. Leftovers for lunch are always easy and ready to go. Make an extra serving or two of that casserole or soup. It can make your life a lot easier! Have your kids outgrown the decal on their expensive stainless steel food jars? Duck tape is your best friend. And it's even been through the dishwasher safely.
4. Lunch doesn't always have to be awesome. But a little flair goes a long way. Since I make lunch the day before, I usually have a little more time to use picks and cookie cutters. I don't always make creative lunches...but the presentation is usually appealing with or without the added flair. Even one cute (mustache) pick will make my daughters feel like I took the time to make it fun, so they should take the time to eat it. And usually they eat it all. Sometimes I save things, like the mustache and tongue below...that was a lollipop. But it's sturdy plastic. Why toss it out?
5. Have the right tools ready to use. Having a variety of different boxes helps a lot, too. We have several bento-style boxes, Lunchbots, and of course, the ever popular, easy to use, long lasting, EasyLunchboxes. If you only have room in your life for one kind of lunch container...the EasyLunchboxes is the way to go. It's the most versatile, and honestly my favorite box and the whole reason why I started this lunch making blog and method in the first place. Even if you don't add flair like using picks and cutters at all, the right box can make the meal perfect.
Packing lunches isn't rocket science...but taking the time to prepare lunches for those you love is worthwhile. They'll remember that you cared enough to spare them the horrors of mystery meat and hot dogs that bounce off the lunch table. They'll remember that good lunches are just that...good.
Good luck to you in the coming school year! Make it count!
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