Tips for Packing Kid’s Lunches
This week on KAKE I am doing the first of a two part series on packing lunches. This week I am focusing on kids and next week I am focusing on adults.
Kids lunches do not need to be fancy or complicated. There are kids that are perfectly happy eating the same thing every day for lunch. If this is your child, then don’t worry about adding variety. If your kids are like mine and prefer not to eat the same thing every day, I have some ideas for making it easier on you, the parent.
First- Decide when it is best to fix the lunches. I like to do most of the lunch prep at night when I am doing dinner dishes and then finish up in the morning. My kids really like to eat dinner leftovers for lunch. I pack the leftovers in glass containers and put them in my blue lunch bin. (More on the Blue Bin later.) I put their cut up fruit in either semi-disposable containers or baggies. Wet fruits like cut up melon or pineapple go into containers so they don’t leak and dry fruits like apples and oranges go into baggies. Cut up veggies go into baggies too. and all this goes in the blue bin.
Alternately, I have some Ziploc lunch containers that have 3 compartments. If the lunch will fit in this container, I will fill the compartments with their leftovers.
Second- let’s talk about my Blue Bin. It is something that cost $1.00 and is so simple, but it made a huge difference in my life. Years ago I was having trouble with my kids snacking on food I was intending to use for lunches the next day. After several morning surprises, I grabbed a plastic bin out of my linen closet and started putting all the “lunch food” in the bin. My kids knew that anything in the Blue Bin was off limits. Not only did it make sure I had the food I’d planned on in the morning, it also saved me time looking through my disorganized refrigerator for the small container of leftover taco meat. I could just pull out the bin start putting food into lunch boxes. It was a game changer!
Later I figured out that I could put the leftovers in glass storage containers and reheat them in the microwave in the same container (a simple concept that took me way to long to discover).
Finally- Do you know the best way to use a thermos to keep food hot until lunchtime? Thermoses work best if you pre-heat them with boiling water, they will retain heat much better. I fill them with boiling water, then heat my leftovers, pour out the water, and add the hot food to the thermos. The food will stay at a safe temperature until lunchtime.
Making kid lunches is one of the hardest things for me as my kids go back to school. I hope these tips will help you as you prepare lunches for your kids.