Most moms dread packing lunches. We get up early or go to bed late, making sure that our kids go off to school with a healthy lunch that they will love! Because the only thing worse than packing up the lunch is UNpacking the lunch!
Here are the secrets for how to get that school lunch eaten, from moms who know!
1. Make it fun to look at! Most kids are visual when it comes to opening their lunches at school. Add some silly eyes to a sandwich with olives or raisins or make it look pretty in a bento box and watch how excited those kids will be!! You can even take a simple rectangular container and create your own "bento" with silicone muffin wrappers found at most dollar stores. Which ever way you choose to do it, how it looks, really matters to kids!
2. Easy to open! If they can't open it, they often won't eat it! If you're sending a fruit cup (empty the liquid first), granola bar or cheese string, open it and transfer it into a container that they can open! You will be surprised at how quickly they gobble it up when they aren't struggling to get at it!
3. Dress it up like a snack! Buy a few inexpensive containers of various sizes (we love Rubbermaid Lunch Blox) and you can pack individual snacks or foods that they love. Maybe they don't love eating a typical sandwich, but they would love turkey, cheese and crackers in separate containers or sections? Kids are more "snackers" when it comes to meals, especially when they get chatting with their friends at school.
4. Dip it or pick it! When in doubt, add some dip! Fresh veggies will disappear when you add in a small container of salad dressing, greek yogurt or homemade hummus. Add some toothpicks to grapes, cheese cubes or rolled pieces of turkey and the kids will LOVE to eat their lunches!
5. Get the kids to help! One of the most popular answers from our moms, was to get the kids to help you chose what goes in their lunch bags! Getting them to choose not only empowers them and helps save you time, but also almost guarantees that they will eat it when the lunch bell rings.
6. Keep it simple! Sure, you can search how to make Gangham Style shaped cheese, but kids just want to eat something that's quick and easy. Many kids actually run out of time at lunch, because it takes to much time to eat certain meals. Limit your choices and you will have great success!
7. Don't pack enough for an army! Sure some kids need to have lots of snacks, but most kids get overwhelmed when they open up their lunch bag to find that mom packed over 10 things for them to eat! Little kids will choose to eat only one or two things, if they feel that there is too much for them.
8. Label it! One of the best pieces of advice that moms wanted to share, was a simple label system that helps their kids know what's for snack time and what's for lunch. Label the snack items with a #1 and the lunch container(s) or items with a #2! All you need is a pack of post it notes, dollar store white labels or even white tape and a marker. Bonus- the kids are recognizing numbers and order!
9. Share a note! Even if your little Kindergartener can't read yet, draw her a little note from mom. Making lunch time special, can help kids relax and eat more. Send a "kissing hand" craft or even a note from Everyday Grace as an extra special surprise.
10. Buy it! Most moms love pizza day once a week or once a month! Take advantage of your school's pizza or bought lunch program to not only give you a break and support school programs, but as a special reward for the kids eating their lunchbox lunches on the other days! What a great incentive!
What are your tips to guarantee an empty lunch box?
photo credit: lunchinabox.net and rubbermaid.ca