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Now that we are a couple of months into the school year, I am tired of packing lunches. I’m not much of a morning person, and I can’t seem to wake up earlier than 7:30 am. Problem is, my kids have to be to school before 8:15 am, and it’s a 10 minute drive. And since I spend about 20 minutes in the morning yelling things like “Where are your shoes?! Brush your teeth! Put a shirt on please!” that doesn’t leave much time for anything else, like packing a good lunch.
“Oh but why don’t you just do it the night before?” people are always asking me. Well, after I read 17 bedtime stories and give out 29 sips of water to four kids, then sit outside their doors like a Royal Guard for an hour until I am certain they are all asleep, it’s already almost 10pm. Then I have to do normal housecleaning stuff, and finish up any work projects that I didn’t get finished during the day. The next thing I know I’m asleep with my face on the computer and I need to just go get into bed.
Welcome to my life.
Anyway, what I can do, is make an awesome lunch in less than 30 seconds, and it requires pretty minimal prep work. I do that minimal prep work on Sunday while everyone else is watching sports games, and then I’m set for the week with goodies to throw into lunch boxes right before we need to walk out of the door to get to the school. There’s no elaborate sandwiches cut into shapes or a bento box that looks like a scene out of their favorite movie. There’s just some food I put into baggies and some pre-packaged items as well. Because pre-packaged items make my life easier.
Ready for the prep work? Here it is.
Buy some snacks/drinks that you can feel good about giving your kids everyday. I mix it up from week to week so no one gets bored, but my kids really love the different snacks that Horizon makes. I buy their string cheese, cookies, and crackers on the regular, but recently we also tried out their Super Squeeze fruit and milk pouches that I grabbed during my last trip to Walmart. They’re made with real fruit and organic milk, every serving brings 5 grams of protein and an excellent source of calcium, and my kids love them.
Most days I give them water in their water bottles, but I also love to surprise them with the Horizon Single-Serve Milk Boxes. They’re another great source of protein and calcium, have no high fructose corn syrup, and are flavored with organic cocoa or organic vanilla extract, and also unflavored as well if you prefer.
Package any loose snacks, and place with prepackaged snacks in one place. I usually have the loose snacks in reusable snack pouches, but I haven’t fully unpacked from our move yet, so I had to buy baggies. Whatever you package things in, place them all in a basket together so you can easily grab one of each and toss it all in the lunchbox quickly.
Rinse and dry and de-sticker all of the fruit in your house. I do this anyway so that my kids can just grab fruit whenever and I don’t have to wash it. It’s ready-to-eat in a bowl on the counter or in the fridge. It’s also ready to throw in a lunchbox. Score!
Make an easy make-ahead “main course.” My kids never eat their entire sandwiches. I don’t know what it is, because they totally eat sandwiches at home, but they just aren’t interested in them at school. They do like their meat, and sometimes cheese, rolled up, kabobed, or wrapped in a tortilla, though. So whatever I feel like making for them that week, I just make a bunch, package them up, and they’re in the fridge ready to go.
And that’s about it! As long as I remembered to put the ice packs back in the freezer the day before, making lunch is drama-free.
Do you have any tricks to make packing lunch more fun? For more tips and lunch ideas, visit the #HorizonLunch hub!