At the beginning of a new year, we often make resolutions. Quite honestly, I haven’t made many this year. However, there is a simple resolution I have made, and I’m calling it the “Packing Kid Lunches Resolution.” It’s not super revolutionary, but I know when I am on top of these lunch organization ideas, life runs more smoothly. The purpose in sharing my goal with you is that I might inspire you to join my resolution to make the morning routine go much smoother.
Mornings are not easy for us. We are “night outs” according to my daughter. I don’t have the heart to tell her that we would actually be called “night owls” because it is too cute the way she says it. We try and start bedtime routine at 7:30 PM, but my oldest, especially, will stay up late. Sometimes she will just lay there until late because her body doesn’t want to let her sleep. My husband and I stay up way too late also because it’s our time of peace and quiet in the home. There’s no one to manage; it’s just us. Time to read, talk, playing games, doing a puzzle or watching TV tend to be a bit more appealing than hitting the pillow. Mornings tend to be a rude awakening with groans about how we should really put ourselves to bed earlier. Yet, the cycle continues.
Mornings tend to be a rush. I hate to admit out loud that sometimes I have my kids sleep in the clothes they will wear to school the next day. Therefore, in the morning all we have to do is eat, pack lunches and brush teeth. That should be simple, right? It’s not. I am also saying “Hurry up! We have to go!” to kids who translate that “Get distracted and take your time.” To make things even easier in the mornings, I know it’s best to jump on my packing kid lunches resolution.
Packing Kid Lunches Resolution
So the simple resolution I have this year is to make lunches the night before. I know. I said it wasn’t revolutionary. That said, maybe some of my other ideas here will be new to you. Even if they are not, maybe you will finally convince yourself, like I have, that this would be a positive change for your family. I know the morning goes so much smoother when I’ve made this simple change. I also want my kids involved, helping in every step and taking some ownership over what they want in their lunch. I find they are more willing to eat it when they have say over the food choices.
Part of making lunch preparation easy and enjoyable is to go into the week a little more organized. I recently dedicated a cabinet pull out to contain all of our snacks and drinks that are good to grab and put in lunches. We often buy our snacks in bigger containers and then spend a little bit of time on the weekends putting them in snack-sized bags. Everyone working together makes this task quicker.
What I Pack in Lunches
So, what kind of items do I pack in lunches?
Sandwiches: I have each child make their own sandwich, and they are basically the same each day. One of my daughter’s makes peanut butter and jelly the majority of the time. I do peanut butter with no sugar added. My other daughter mostly does just peanut butter or peanut butter and cheese. That’s a combination that most people find weird, but I grew up eating and still really enjoy. You should try it! We also do nitrate free ham sandwiches.
Fruit and Vegetables: I also encourage my kids to grab a fruit and/or vegetable. Fruits and vegetables can be prepared on the weekends too and put into small re-usable containers or snack bags. Preparing these little containers ahead of time makes packing lunches the night before an easy grab and go experience. You can also make little containers of ranch or hummus so kids have a dip for their veggies. These prepared items can be stored in a section of your refrigerator where it’s easy for kids to reach. My kids like all fruits, and the vegetables that are embraced include broccoli, carrots, snap peas, cherry tomatoes and peppers.
Drinks: My kids always have a water bottle packed. I encourage them to keep their water bottle at their desk for constant hydration opportunities throughout the day. One of my daughters has oral sensory needs, and the water bottle straw can be easily and discretely chewed in school. The kids love Horizon Organic milk products, especially the chocolate milk. These can be stored at room temperature, so can be added to my lunch packing zone. I like to buy the milk that has added DHA Omega-3 – 32 mg per box. If I am choosing juice boxes, I try and buy a product with less sugar and more natural ingredients.
Protein Snacks: One daughter likes to have Greek yogurt and cheese sticks in her lunch. Horizon Organic has a Colby Jack and a Mozzarella cheese stick. Horizon Organics Squeeze pouches are dairy based and provide 5 grams of protein and 20% of the daily calcium needed. They come in these flavors: Mixed Berry, Strawberry Super and Orange Super. My other daughter is dairy free, so we try and do nitrate free beef jerky, ham slices or pepperoni sticks. Neither enjoy nuts, but we are working on that because it’s such a great healthy fat and protein. Sometimes we will do a rice cake with peanut butter or a peanut butter dip for some of their other vegetables or pretzels sticks.
Other Snacks: Here’s a list of all of the Horizon Organic snack options. My kids particularly enjoy the different kinds of Horizon snack crackers and snack grahams. There are some of their products we have still yet to try. Other snacks for the lunch include pretzels, snack bars, Craisins, and olives.
Treats: As mentioned, going to bed tends to be a hassle for us. I give a small treat (we are still working through our Halloween candy) if the kids stay in bed at night. I know some parents are against this, but I really don’t mind bribing with candy to make bedtime a more peaceful experience.
So, there you have it. The biggest goal is to get all of this packed the night before and have the kids involved in making choices. I hope this might be helpful in providing some inspiration and organizational ideas to make lunch packing as a family enjoyable.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Horizon Organic. The opinions and text are all mine.