Moms are busy on weeknights orchestrating homework; driving kids to activities, piano lessons, or sports practice; making dinner; and all that goes into running a household with small children. That 4-8pm timeframe is jam-packed and you want to spend that time relaxing with your family, not preparing lunches. By utilizing a lunch system in your house, you can avoid the morning rush and simplify your life.
In order to make this work it requires a little advance planning. It is important to sit down with your kids on the weekend when you have extra time and strategize what they want for lunches the following week. It will make preparation and shopping easier, relieve the daily panic and reduce the number of last-minute PB&Js that you throw together. Let your child make their selections and take a look at your menu for the week and note where you can utilize leftovers. Then once you’ve done the shopping, get your kids to help you prepare as much food in advance as possible.
- Make muffins or granola bars
- Prepare dips such as hummus
- Prepare veggies and fruits so they are cut up and ready to go
- Make batches of rice or beans and store in the freezer
- Prepare extra salad or veggies at mealtime to utilize in lunches
- Make a pot of homemade soup
- Bake healthy cookies
Making lunches can be fun and it allows your kids to utilize their creativity. I remember one day my son declared it was Green Lunch day. He packed a well-rounded, yet very green lunch of broccoli, pistachios, edamame, a granny smith apple and green grapes.
Packing a nutritious lunch doesn’t have to be complicated or take a lot of time, but it does require planning. Following these tips will allow you to save time in the kitchen and spend more time with your family. It will also instill lifelong habits for your children around building healthy, well-balanced meals.
How do you get your kids involved in lunch prep? Please share your thoughts in the comments?