I don’t know about you, but when it comes to making lunches for our kids for their day at school, I get stressed out. It is one other step that you have to take in order to get them out of the door onto the bus each day. Getting stressed out is about the last thing you need when getting your kids off to school.
If you are like most parents, I am sure that you have tried making lunches in advance by doing it the evening before. I know that we have tried, and while you might have the intention of getting things done the night before, usually it doesn’t happen. Our kids are involved in a lot of things in the evening, and by the time we get home, we are so tired that we often forget.
So, we are back to lunches stressing us out.
We thought Our Kids Could Make their Own Lunches
We also tried trusting our children to make their own lunches without supervision. It seemed like a good idea at the time, as how old do you really need to be to make lunch for yourself? The few days that we allowed our five year old to do it on her own went great, so we just let them have at it. But after a week or so and a few letters from her teacher, we realized there was a problem.
We had one child who was taking four puddings a day and nothing else, and our other one quit taking lunch altogether. In fact, the five year old figured out that the school would give her a submarine sandwich if she didn’t bring food, so that is what she did. She went so far to say we didn’t even have food at home.
Let’s just say that when we found out, we were shocked.
How could our kids not handle making their own lunches? They seemed to be old enough, but we were proven wrong.
After some brain storming and reading online, my wife and I have finally come up with a solution. We wanted to ensure that our children’s nutritional needs were being met, but at the same time, we wanted to save some money. In the past, we had leaned towards individually packaged snacks that you buy at the grocery store, but if you have ever tried to make lunches for three kids, you know that a box of snacks really only lasts three or four days.
And that gets expensive.
So we are trying something new. We have bought snacks that include pretzels, crackers, cookies, cheese doodles, and other foods that our kids like. We have bought larger packages of these that can be separated into snack sandwich bags so that they have individual snack portions. It does take time to do it, but a two dollar bag of pretzels gets you about twelve snack packages, which is six more than you would get in a box from the store.
We have done the same thing with vegetables and fruit. The difference is that they need to be stored in the refrigerator, and we can’t make too many of them up at a time. This week, we’ve tried doing an entire week at once, but we will have to watch to make sure that the food is still fresh and edible.
Making these packages of snacks is just part of the process, and it is something that we plan to do on a Sunday evening before the week starts. It takes a little time, but we can sit and watch television or visit with our kids while we do it. This week, the preparation took about an hour or so, and that ensures that there is snacks for the entire week for school.
During the week, we are still involved in making the lunches, but in a lesser capacity than we have in the past. We give the kids the option to choose what kind of snacks that they are going to take to school from the ones that we prepared Sunday night. Since this is our first week, we are still tweaking things, but it looks like it is going to be a success. We monitor the selection process and quickly inspect their lunch bag when they have all their food choices to make sure that they take what they are allowed.
So far, the response from our kids has been very positive, and they feel that they have some good variety to their school lunches. The nice thing for us is that we can keep our costs down by doing the packaging ourselves and at the same time, provide the kids varying lunch choices throughout the year. It means that they won’t get bored with their lunches like we did as kids.
Besides, doing it this way is a lot less stressful 🙂
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