In most parts of the country, school has started again, and if it hasn’t, it will soon. That means it’s time to get back into a school year routine. Part of that routine in many homes is packing school lunches. Packed lunches are a great option when your child isn’t too fond of what the school has to offer or you want a little more control over what your child is eating. Also, it can be a big money saver to pack your own lunches rather than buy them at school. But how do you pack a lunch that your kids will actually eat? I am sharing my favorite tips on How to Pack the Best School Lunches to help make the back to school transition easier.
HOW TO PACK THE BEST SCHOOL LUNCHES
Packing school lunches is not just an option for everyone. If your child has dietary restrictions or food allergies, packing lunch for school is a must. Frankly, packing a lunch allows you to include healthy foods your child will actually eat, and it doesn’t have to cost any more than what you would be paying for lunch at school.
Of course, you lose all the benefits of packing a lunch every day if your child doesn’t eat it, or if they end up trading most of it away for junk food. The key to successful lunch packing is to find things that your child loves and enjoys eating.
CAN KIDS PACK THEIR OWN LUNCHES?
The first step in learning how to pack the best school lunches, is to involve your child. Depending on the age of your kids, you could even put them in charge of making their own lunches (with supervision, of course). Older kids enjoy that responsibility and you know that they’ll pack something they will eat.
Start by talking to your kids about what they want in their lunch box. The answer might surprise you! Make a list of options and then head to the store with your child so you have everything you need to start packing. Getting the kids as involved as possible will make sure that they end up with lunches they will eat.
HOW OLD DO KIDS NEED TO BE TO HELP PACK LUNCH?
Even younger children can help. A kindergarten student can wash fruit and put it into a container, or pick a snack for their lunch box. A great habit to get into is to make lunches together the night before. Then, over time, you can give your child more and more responsibility for their lunches. This alone is a great first step in making sure that kids eat what they’ve packed. After all, it’s the lunch they made. Along the way, they are learning independence and important life skills.
HOW TO COMPROMISE ON SCHOOL LUNCH
Of course, you want to be sure to encourage your kids to pack and eat healthy foods. Insisting on all healthy, organic food options all the time may not be your best strategy though. You’ll want to strike a balance and compromise. If your kids pack and eat a healthy wrap or salad for example, they can have some cookies for dessert. You want to teach them to make good food choices, but you don’t want to freak out if they decide to pack some Cheetos or Oreo cookies. The goal here is to get them to eat fairly healthy and make smart food choices, not restrict all access to junk food, causing them to trade with friends for forbidden Twinkies. With a little work and practice, your kids will be bringing lunches to school that they love to eat!
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