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Family Matters: Making School Lunches with Your Kids


Dinner is finished.

The kitchen is cleaned up.

Homework is completed.

Now comes the time of the evening we like to prepare school lunches for the next day.

I used to do it in the morning when the kids were small. Now that my boys can help, we prefer to have it done the night before and save the extra minutes in the morning. It also helps that my older son has to be at school when it’s still dark for cross country practice, so getting lunch packed the night before gives us both peace of mind that he’ll be ready to roll out the door in the morning with a nutritious lunch.

Your kids can help you pack their own lunches from an early age. It’s a nice time to talk and be together, and when they help, it guarantees they’re getting things in their lunches they’re eating, not trading.

If you haven’t gotten a lunch kit yet or are using brown paper bags, Brookshire’s has some great ones still on the shelves, like the cute Fit & Fresh thermal lunch kits with adorable designs, the super practical and stylish Bento Lunch Kit with insulated bag and removable ice packs (I’ll just go ahead and confess: I got one of those for myself to bring to work), the Fit Fresh bag in sweet patterns like Riley Ladybug, or the durable Lifoam Lunch Plus Soft-Sided Lunch Kit that comes in styles and colors great for boys.

I try to make sure we’re packing a large bottle of water, a sandwich or good protein, a fruit, a veggie and some kind of snack. Because let’s face it, lunch is more fun with a snack. I’m an “everything in moderation” kind of mom. My sister-in-law doesn’t send any “junk food” to school with her kids, and I admire that tremendously. If you do, no judgment here.

My boys like things like ham sandwiches on King’s Hawaiian® rolls, turkey and cheese roll-ups on whole wheat tortillas, Flatout® wraps stuffed with baby spinach and Roma tomatoes, or good old peanut butter and jelly on Sara Lee® Delightful™ slices of whole-wheat bread.

They love almost any fruit, so that’s easy. They favor bananas, peaches, apples or anything that’s “easy” to eat at school. Veggies are easy, too: baby carrots or celery with hummus, cucumber slices or spears, small bowls of salad in take-home containers, strips of bell peppers. Again, anything easy to eat!

Little bags of almonds are great protein and brain food for the day, as are slices of apple with peanut butter. The options are endless!

One thing we like to do is pack up plastic, zip-top bags of veggies and snacks for the week, so the process in the evening is more streamlined.

These no-bake granola bars are also a great snack option (I categorize them somewhere between a snack food and something healthy). Kids love them. They can help you make them, and you can feel good about packing them!


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