Thursday, August 26, 2010

Q&A: Kids' Lunches

Today's question is from Maryanne:
How do you manage all those kids' school lunches? Do they all eat the same thing? Do you prepare them all the night before? This year year I'll have two (and on two days, three kids) needing lunches and I'm not sure how to run it. They all like different things and I foresee a royal pain.

My kids make their own lunches and have done so ever since they started school. It helps that Lillian, my ultra-organized, responsible child, came first, because the others just followed her lead.

Last year, we began allowing our kids to buy school lunch sometimes but they still brought lunches on the days they didn't like what the school was serving. I keep sandwich making supplies close at hand so the kids can easily pull them out. Luckily, all my kids like peanut butter and homemade jam, so there are no complaints there. I keep a basket of fruits on the counter and another large basket full of snacky foods they can add to their lunch. I've learned I have to keep that bin up higher, so while my school kids require a chair to reach it, my preschoolers aren't tall enough (toddlers and granola bars just don't mix well). It's full of fruit snacks (Michael's favorite; the others can't stand them), granola bars, Famous Amos cookies, and crackers. I also keep string cheese and carrots on hand in the fridge. We usually have enough to make everyone happy.

Of course, sometimes making their own sandwiches and lunch means I'm left with a sticky, jammy mess on the counter after they leave for school, but I'll gladly accept that in exchange for not having to make the lunches myself.

They pull from the same baskets for a snack after school while doing homework. My kids are in the habit of eating a lot of fruit and I have to be diligent to keep the fresh fruit basket full, but it's definitely worth it.


bjahlstrom said...

I like how you not only keep enough things on hand to accommodate daily lunch making and snack eating, but also keep them organized in bins: snack bin, fruit bowl, etc. That's awesome.

Wendy said...

Yep, my kids are making their lunches this year. I've discovered what works for me for right now, and I try to keep those same things on hand. Only my kids don't really like PB&J so I have ice packs that they freeze, and they usually make a turkey/bologna sandwich... and they make the stuff, and are happy to do so.

I love having older kids... it makes that process a little easier.

Maryanne said...

Thanks Christina for such a quick answer! I've been doing some of the same regular lunch options, but have had only minimal participation from the kids (my daughter's much more interested than my son). I love to hear how you organize and streamline things.

Sarah said...

Great tips! I keep a separate (high up, sort of hidden? :) cabinet with special FOR LUNCHES ONLY stuff in it. The older kids can reach it, but the younger kids can't scarf it all down in a day.
Great blog, lovely family!

Lisa6Kids said...

I am glad to hear this! Although we don't have to make lunches for school my kids have always made their own lunches at home. I think it's a great way to teach them how to prepare a balanced meal and they feel good about themselves when they do it.



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