We’ve all been there before: it’s early morning, you’ve barely gotten the kids out of bed in time to put on some real clothes before school, and just before you’ve sent them out the door and oh no, you’ve still got to make lunch! So, you throw a hasty sandwich and a piece of fruit into a bag and toss it to your little one with all the practiced skill of a rugby player. Phew! One more chore knocked off of the list.
But, does packing school lunches have to be a chore? Lunch is one of the only breaks your kids get throughout the day, and a great opportunity for you to earn some “cool” points by making it fun. This doesn’t mean you have to go all-out with hand-cut fruit shapes and confetti, but you can make school lunches fun for both you and your kids with some of these tips.
Pack Their (Healthy) Favourites
Of course, this doesn’t mean cramming a whole chocolate cake to your kids’ lunches every day, but one of the easiest ways to amp up your school lunch game without adding stress is to mix things up with healthy treats that your kids love. Snacks with a long shelf life like fruit leather, energy bites, nuts and granola bars will give you simple options for school lunches that won’t get bruised or turn brown while they’re in the lunch bag.
To keep the routine from turning stale, make sure they’re not snacking on these treats after school or on the weekends. That way, they’re still special additions to their weekday lunches. You’ll have an easier time packing lunch, and they’ll have something to look forward to midday. It’s a win-win!
Spice Up That Sandwich
No, this doesn’t mean adding chili to your kids’ PB+J (unless they have particularly adventurous taste buds). If you have a kid who doesn’t like crusts on their sandwich, a sandwich cutter can save you hassle while making their lunch look more fun and appetizing. You can also add food picks to quickly dress up any sandwich. If you prefer to pack something other than this standard lunch staple, you can still employ food cutters in fun shapes to easily add some flair to any dish.
Got older kids who aren’t into dinosaur-shaped cheese anymore? Then you can take that heading — “spice up that sandwich” — literally by exploring new flavours. You’ll get a chance to try new recipes while expanding their palette.
Host Your Own Master Chef Junior
Cooking with your kids the night before can be a great way to turn packing a school lunch from a chore into a fun activity for the whole family. Plus, they’ll be excited to try out their own cooking the next day, and brag about it to their friends.
Our advice? Stick to simple recipes and discourage the use of “special ingredients” like crayons or plastic play-foods.
Go Ahead, Judge the Book by its Cover
What looks more appetizing and fun: a bulging brown paper bag, or a sleek bento box with your favourite TV characters on top? Even if both contain the same lunch, adults and kids alike prefer to eat out of attractive carriers and lunch boxes. And what’s more, you’ll enjoy packing said lunch more, as well, because who doesn’t love using fancy new tools and gadgets?
Lunch boxes that include thermoses and other containers can also make packing a wider variety of food much easier. You’ll be able to give yourself the freedom to make more interesting lunches, which equals more fun for both you and the kids.
Let’s face it, there are always going to be days where getting your kids and their lunches out the door is going to be more ‘hassle’ than ‘happy’, but, with these tips and tools, you can make sure that, most of the time, packing creative school lunches is a joy.