Simplify School Lunch Packing
You know how at the beginning of the school year, we’re full of gusto and good intentions when it comes to our kids’ lunches?
And then after the first month or so, all of that initial motivation wears thin because they have homework. And projects. And papers that need to be signed or filed for posterity. And sports or extra-curriculars.
Momma is tired, people.
And then don’t forget that sometimes our kids don’t always like the lunches we pack, and come home with mushy bananas and half-eaten sandwiches.
We need a system that all but makes the lunch for us.
With this Printable Lunch Menu, you can plan out your week’s options and let your child(ren) choose what goes into their lunch.
It’s a great system, because you are really in control with what goes on the menu, but the kids feel like they are getting some say over what they eat. It also helps them to know what to pack in their lunchboxes if you want them to share that responsibility with you!
Here’s a sample of a week’s worth of lunches I might plan:
If you have one child, he or she could circle his or her choice for each space. (You could also frame it and just use a wet-erase or dry-erase marker on the glass.)
For me with four boys, I just have them write their initials next to their choices, rather than printing off a separate copy for each of them.
This menu planning system, and some great products have completely changed the way we do lunches.
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4 Must-Have Products for Packing Lunches
Thermos Food Funtainers
We love these Thermos Food Funtainers. Plus, they come in all kinds of colors or different characters!
We fill them with chicken nuggets, soup, leftovers like meatloaf and mashed potatoes, casseroles, pasta, etc.
*Tip: Boil water (I like to use my tea kettle, because it makes pouring easier) and pour it into the thermos, closing the lid tightly. Let that sit for 5ish minutes to heat the inside of the thermos up, then dump the water and fill the thermos with hot food.
*Additional Tip: If packing chicken nuggets or something else that you don’t want to get soggy, dry out the thermos after dumping the water and place a folded paper towel or napkin at the bottom before putting your food in there – – it’ll keep them nice and crispy!
I use these Sistema Containers for separating fruits and veggies (especially great for people that don’t like their food to touch). They are just the right size for healthy portions and fit perfectly in their lunchboxes!
*Bonus: They’re dishwasher safe. My boys come home from school, empty their lunchboxes, and throw these right in the dishwasher. Holla!
We use these thermoses for their water – not just for at lunchtime, but pretty much all the time at home. They’re great for bedtime, or bringing them along for car rides, too. And, they come in all kinds of colors or different characters, as well! We love the no-spill benefits.
*Tip: If you have a “chewer”, you’ll need to replace the straw often. Our oldest chews on EVERYTHING, so we opted to get him a water bottle without a straw instead. These are so easy to keep filled in the fridge so he can grab one on his way out the door to school or one of his many sports/activities.
*Bonus: These come in different sizes and a plethora of designs. AND you can buy replacement caps if the need should arise!
Pack It Lunchboxes
We have been using these Pack It Lunchboxes for years, and could not be happier! We store them in the freezer, and their insulated walls keep everything cold and fresh! (But don’t worry- the hot food inside the thermoses stay hot!)
These too come in a large variety of colors and designs, and you can choose the stand-up lunch bag style or the classic rectangular one. I use the stand-up version, but another Just Homemaking team member uses the rectangular version. We love them both!
*Bonus: They wipe clean SUPER easily!
Of course, kids like to see a sweet or funny note included in their lunch, too! But who has time to write one every day?
I’ve got you covered!
I created 30 lunchbox notes that you can print off at home. Just cut them out and toss them into your sweet kiddo’s lunchbox to let them know you’re thinking about them!
These were all approved by my four boys, ages 7-12. Even my 15 year old stepdaughter gave a half smile and nodded her head when reading them, so they must have won her over… I think. Ha!
You’ll need to sign up for our Free Weekly Newsletter, and then you’ll get immediate access to download and print this PDF containing all 30 lunchbox notes!
If you’ve already subscribed to our newsletter, check your inbox for the free printables we sent you! As always, we will resend them via email if you need us to!
Let me know if you like these in the comments, and if so, maybe I’ll make some more to go with different seasons/holidays!
Still Have Questions?
Now that your lunch will pack a punch (sorry, I had to!), I hope that you’re excited to get off the Hot Lunch Train (most days) or ditch The Sad Brown Paper Sack and help your little love look forward to some yummy goodness!
If you have any questions or need some more inspiration, be sure to let us know in the comments! Also, please share your best lunch-packing tips. We love learning from you!