3 School Lunch Tips from Mom Bloggers We Love
Time-saving advice from busy parents to busy parents on how to pack a tasty, appealing lunchbox
At the start of the school year, maybe you’re inspired to make your kids’ lunchboxes look just like those gorgeous bento box pics on Pinterest. A few months in, though, that enthusiasm may start to wane as the days get shorter and homework help sessions get longer.
But lack of time doesn't mean your only option is to toss in processed pre-packaged foods. SafeBee combed through some of our favorite parenting and food blogs for easy, time-saving ways to pack lunchboxes with cute, nutritious foods kids will actually eat. And maybe — just maybe — they won’t trade their food for a cupcake.
Making dinner? Make extra
Linda Spiker, who writes The Organic Kitchen blog, says what she finds exhausting about school lunches is not the time it takes to pack them, but the endless cycle of coming up with ideas and prepping food. She solved those two problems with this advice:
“You are cooking dinner anyway so ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS make extra and use it for lunches the next day! It’s a total timesaver! If you are roasting chicken, roast two... If you are cooking pasta, cook more. You get it.”
Spiker also doesn’t shy away from prepared food. But, she writes, make sure you read labels. Prepared hummus and fruit or veggie dips are probably OK, but take a pass on processed meats with ingredients you don’t use and can’t pronounce.
Read more of her advice and see a week’s worth of menu options here.
Pack less food
Yes, you read that right. Food waste is a huge problem in schools, with kids throwing out a surprisingly large portion of their lunch, whether it's home-packed or not. Packing less food in their lunchboxes means they’ll actually eat more, writes Sally Kuzemchak, MS, RD, on The Lunch Tray blog.
“Big lunches can be overwhelming, especially to small people: Most students have very little time to eat lunch — maybe 20 minutes, a lot of which is spent gabbing with friends and figuring out how to open their assorted eco-friendly containers. Large amounts of food may seem insurmountable and therefore, get ignored.”
Make your freezer your friend
On the Money Saving Mom blog, Crystal Paine offers a week’s worth of freezer-friendly lunches and includes recipes for each one.
And on the Charleston Moms Blog, Shara Ray writes about stocking your freezer with food you can throw into a lunchbox in the morning. By lunch it will be thawed and ready to eat.
“I love the idea of smoothies. Healthy AND yummy. But they are kind of a pain to make every morning…but, if I make several and freeze them, by the time the kids’ lunchtime rolls around, they should be nice and thawed in the lunchbox!”
Also, check out her great ideas for muffin-tin lunches you can freeze, reheat in the morning and wrap in foil for lunch later that day.
Related: Preventing Food Waste in Schools