‘It’s the most wonderful time of the year….’ is the song a lot of parents are singing over and over right now as we scramble to get our kids ready for next weeks first day back to school. For me, I honestly love having my kids home. That doesn’t mean they don’t get on my last nerve, because they honestly do; and I’m pretty sure I’m on theirs as well! I just enjoy having my kids around. As much as I love the whole getting back into a routine, I always miss them when they’re back at school.
This picture from 3 years ago still makes me laugh! True expressions! One was too tired to smile and the other one not impressed to get up early!
For the boys and I, each summer we referred to the word ‘school’ as a swear word in our house! I also would have a ‘first day of school’ as that meant I too would have to go back to work. I have been an EA for the past 12 years. As much as I loved my job, I never liked facing that fact that summer holidays were officially over. Really, who does?!
If you ask most parents what they despise the most about summer vacation ending, it’s usually summed up in 2 words. MAKING. LUNCHES. I personally don’t dread this part of it, but I know a lot of parents that do. Maybe it’s a Type A personality/control/just wanting it done thing (that was tough to admit!), I don’t know, but whatever it is, I enjoy making them. Maybe it’s because I can use up the food that needs to be ate before it goes bad. Anyone else’s kids open 12 boxes of crackers at a time?!
Now that the boys are getting older, they do help make their lunch as well. I will guide them to make sure they have a good balance between a variety of healthy foods and only 1 snack. For the most part, they do pretty good at knowing what to pack.
Making lunches shouldn’t be so stressful (although I say that as a mom of 2….if you’re packing for 3 or more kids, my apologies)! In the past, I’ve prepacked different bins of food. Some were snacks, some were fruits and veggies, some carbs.
It takes a bit of prep time on a Sunday afternoon, but pre-washing and slicing up veggies and fruit for the week and putting into the bins, makes for quicker and easier packing each night. Click here for more ideas.
Play around with different ideas and what works the best for you and your children but get them involved. This will help in teaching children how to be more independent AND it also opens up an opportunity to discuss and choose healthy eating habits. Plus, if they pack it they can’t complain about not liking what you put in and come back home with half of their lunch!
**Keep in mind food allergies when packing lunches. A lot of schools are now ‘Nut Aware’ in Ontario. This means that if you send in foods with said allergy, your child will probably be bringing it home with a note saying to not to send in again because it could contain nuts. This may seem like an inconvenience for your picky eater….but remember, your child will not die from having to wait to eat their beloved pb&j after school; but for someone who IS allergic, potentially could. My son has a peanut allergy so we are very thankful to those who are understanding and respectful. Thank you!!
Here are some allergy friendly options to pack. Always remember to read the label and ingredients list first.
Lunches tend to get a bit monotonous over time. Posted below are some suggestions and new ideas to help in keeping it fun and easy. Hopefully they will inspire your kiddos in continuing to keep on making their own lunches!
Send me some of your favourite ideas for stress-less, fun, creative and healthy school lunches!