It’s crazy-busy in the mornings when school is in session. Packing lunches in the morning keeps lunches the freshest. But being that we are trying to get the kiddos ready for school at that time, making all their lunches is tricky. So, that’s why today I’m sharing 10 steps to teach kids to pack their own lunches so our mornings can be more manageable.
10 Steps to Teach Kids to Pack Their Own Healthy Lunches
Let’s give our kids some independence, especially starting at the age of eight. My son is going into the second grade, and I want so badly for him to do things on his own. With a little bit of research and some tips of my own, I’ve created this list to help parents ease their way into the morning routine of getting everyone ready for school. Some links are affiliate links.
Cut The Cord
Explain that you’re not going to make lunch anymore and that lunchtime is a great opportunity to learn about nutrition, organization, and taking control of what
goes into our bodies. Packing a healthy lunch is important to feeling good and thinking effectively during school, so explain to your children that you’re going to train them to pack their own lunches.
What’s in the Bag
Teach kids to pack an entrée (something with a protein, like nut butter, boiled egg, cheese, or leftover meat) and two side dishes, including at least one fruit or a vegetable. A stainless steel water bottle is the other must-have. Also, use reusable lunch ware for health and environmental reasons.
Give Kids Better Access in the Kitchen
Move the lunch boxes and the lunch pantry down low where your kids can easily see and reach everything they need. In the refrigerator too. Keep all the healthy foods at eye level.
Make a List
Have the kids review the lunch pantry and then create a wish list of things they want from the grocery store.
Take your kids shopping with their list. As you make your purchases, discuss good choices and not-so-good choices (which I call “sometimes foods”)*
*Sometimes Foods are foods we only eat >>> sometimes!
Mix Things Up
Be flexible about their choices. Variety makes things interesting. If your child loves “sometimes foods,” as my son does, make them available as you see fit. I like to make homemade blueberry chia seeds muffins and other baked goods for him to pack. Don’t forget that leftovers are good too.
Leave the Kitchen
If your kids are old enough to safely prepare their lunches themselves, get out of their way. If not, stay close, but be busy yourself with other tasks while they pack their lunches and help as needed. Make sure they do the bulk of the work and that they include “healthy” foods.
Reinforce Their Choices
Don’t complain about their choices as long as their lunch includes at least one entrée, two sides, and a water bottle.
Expect that at first, it will be a chore for the kids to learn lunch-making skills and they might complain. Just ignore it.
Celebrate the end of the morning rush, and when they return home from school, take notice that much less food comes home uneaten!
Now that you know these 10 steps to teach kids to pack their own healthy lunches, don’t forget to tell them to label their lunch bags or lunch boxes!
If your kids like hummus, here are 20 HEALTHY & NUTRITIOUS HUMMUS RECIPES that are out of this world yummy!!