Back to School time is almost here! Soon your little one will go back to school and leave the sunny holiday days behind.
That’s why now’s not just the time to start preparing your kid for school, but to also prepare yourself for the most important parent task during the school year: lunch packing every day for your little one!
If you don’t master the art of lunch packing yet, don’t worry. You’ll get there in no time with the right lunch box and tips. Here’s some trustworthy advice from Sophia’s Style and from four witty moms who reached a master’s level in lunch packing from school.
Bonus Tips: learn how to choose the right lunch bag and what features you should pay attention to when going shopping.
Why Should You Get a Lunch Bag for Your Kid
Getting a lunch bag for your kid is the best thing you can do if you want to save some money and make sure your kid eats nutritious foods at school.
It may seem appealing to skip this unpleasant task (as some moms may see it) and just give your kid some money for a lunch at the school’s cafeteria. Still, after reviewing some school’s menu we must say that not the options can be considered true brain food.
Some meals that aren’t healthy can be very appealing to young kids. So even if you’ve put all your efforts into building some great lunch habits for your little one, you have no guarantee that some appropriate choices will be made once your schooler will be on his own.
Many kids learn how to use a vending machine by the time their 7, so be careful: all your efforts can go down the drain very fast. Continue helping him out in making good food choice and keep the good habits roll.
Packing for school can be a bit tricky, especially if your kid is in his first year of school and your new to this. We asked Sarah, a mom of three from Utah to give her thoughts on lunch packing and here it is:
”When my big one first went to school I was a little confused. Packing lunch was a tough job and at the beginning, I wasn’t sure if it was the right option for my family. The lunches I’ve first made consisted of sandwiches and quick snacks. The food wasn’t looking very appealing for my kid also. Compare that to a hot lunch meal and you could imagine my disappointment.
Still, I kept looking around for recipes and practiced. I could’ve given up and just gave my kid some lunch money, but that wouldn’t be the right move in the long run. My advice for moms? Just keep on experimenting and you’ll get better eventually.”
Just hang in there and soon things will get better. Until then, here are some baby steps you can begin taking today.
Penelope is a single mom from Philadelphia and she’s developed a very easy and hands-on process you can adopt right away.
”I’m an engineer so you must imagine that I’m not a very creative person. And I know that sounds like a big cliche, but for me it’s true. I tend to look at things in a very practical manner and when it comes to packing lunches for school, that’s a big plus.
I always make sure my kid enjoys the food she brings to school (this is a happy scenario, my daughter doesn’t always approve my choices), but apart from that, I make sure I pack at least 3 of these things:
– One serving of milk, yogurt or light cheese
– Whole bread, crackers, pasta or tortilla
– Proteins: chicken meat, fish, eggs or peanut butter
– Some fruit (usually an apple, a banana or some season fruits such as blueberries)
– Vegetables (carrots, some salad or some cherry tomatoes)
I try to keep her menu diverse so I avoid making the same lunch twice on a week. I have a food planner that I keep up to date and try to add new recipes every week. It may seem like a lot of work, but once I started plan in advance I noticed things got a lot easier for both of us.’’
How to Pack the Perfect School Lunch
After you decide what’s your kid lunch going to consist of, the next step is to figure out how you’re going to pack all those things. There are a couple ways to do it so make sure you take them all into consideration before deciding.
Individual Zipper Bags
Ideal if you want to pack healthy sandwiches, some fruit, and seeds for a quick snack. They are easy to use, but they’re not an eco-friendly option. If you’re hooked on them, try using a reusable bag instead.
The easiest way to pack a lunch is by using a lunch box. Many moms swear by it and it can be a true lifesaver. If you’re tired of packing things into little bags, then using a box can simplify the packing process for you. Simply put all the things in the compartments, put the lid on and you’re done.
Here are some characteristics to look for in a lunch box:
– Good capacity so it can fit your kid’s lunch
– Insulation so the food remains cool and fresh
– Handles for easy use
– It is made of BPA, phthalate, and lead-free plastic or stainless steel
– Easy to clean, wipe and rinse
Thoughts on Lunch Bags
Either if you’re using zipper bags or lunch boxes, a lunch bag is a must.
Your kid can put his packed food in his backpack, on top of the books but that’s not a very safe option. If the food leaks, that can be a disaster. Imagine all the cleaning, not to mention the inconvenience of carrying a dirty backpack for a whole day at school.
Prevent the lunch you so careful prepared and packed to get soggy by the time your kid eats it and get a lunch bag to keep the food cool and fresh. An insulated bag is ideal for that.
Stacie knows that lunch packing can be a hassle, but when it comes to providing great lunches to her high school son, she saves no efforts.
”I’m proud to say that my son enjoyed good meals throughout his school years. Since he was in preschool I tried to give him options he likes, but always just healthy ones. I like to cook for my family so lunch packing was quite easy for us. The biggest problem for us was Albert carrying the food I’ve made to the school. I tried endless lunch boxes before realizing that maybe it is a lot simpler to buy a bag specially design for food. We’ve tried a lot of bags, but at least he’s eating good food and that’s great!”
How To Choose The Best Lunch Bag
It can be a long hunt until you find the coolest lunch bag design. But until you try some out, you’ll never get the benefits you’re looking for.
A lunch bag can be an awesome piece of school gear if you choose it accordingly with your kid’s needs. Before jumping to buy a lunch bag, ask yourself the following questions:
1. How am I going to pack the lunch? Lunch boxes or zipper bags?
2. Does my little one need a special space for a water bottle?
3. Do I pack extra snacks?
4. Does my kid needs room for an extra meal in his bag?
Depending on your answers you can determine the size, shape and the characteristics you’re looking for.
Melissa’s daughter takes piano lessons twice a week after school. She needs extra room for an extra snack in her lunch bag that she can grab before the lesson.
‘’Our piano lessons arrangements are great for my daughter, she really enjoys playing the piano. But you know the feeling of feeling hungry and not having anything to eat? We came across that in her first lessons and it was terrible. Not being able to focus and thus, not being in a good learning shape. We had to switch to a bigger bag, but I’m really pleased we solved the problem. Before starting the lessons we needed much less space for food, but well, we must adapt now.”
A great feature for a lunch bag is the insulation provided. Still, insulation isn’t a must feature. If your kid enjoys often lunches that must be kept cold and fresh, then yes, insulation is a must. If the food is non-perishable, then insulation is optional.
In order to be practical, a lunch bags should have solid and durable straps for transportation. Make sure the straps are well sewed to the bag so they’ll not tear apart if your kid carries heavy stuff inside.
Back to School is closer and you have to be ready for it. Your kid’s school lunch routine should be enjoyable and healthy so make sure you research some awesome recipes and look for a great, durable lunch bag.