Which of these school lunch challenges do you hate most?
- No matter what I pack in that lunchbox, my kid doesn’t eat it!
- Packing lunch makes our mornings even more stressful.
- It’s such a dull, relentless chore. Every. Weekday.
- All of the above.
This time last year, I’d have picked d), no doubt about it. But these days I’d add a write-in option e): Challenges, shmallenges. My kid packs his own lunch!
See, I figured out the secret to packing school lunches. Making this one change before Harry started third grade has reduced my stress level a thousandfold. First of all, if he packs it himself he’s much more likely to eat it. (This is the perfect way to pack lunch for a picky eater!) Secondly, by building it into our after-dinner routine on school nights, it’s streamlined our mornings. And finally, he likes eating the same few things day in, day out—the dull, relentless aspect works for him.
We keep a hand-written chart on our fridge, a list of things Harry likes by food group. He chooses one from each category, packs it up, and BOOM! Healthy, no-brainer school lunch. And guess what? I made a printable chart for you to use, a shmancier version of ours. You’ll find it over at mom.me. Even if your kid’s younger than Harry, I promise, s/he can handle this.
If that chart doesn’t brighten up the second half of your school year, I’ll eat my hat. Er, lunchbox.