It's a very different look to this year. Not only do we have to plan on backpacks and pencils but we also have to pack masks and individual hand sanitizers. And I'm sure that your family is probably experiencing some of the same. It's a different year for all of us, and while many may not be going back for many of us we are.
But the good news is, we all have to pack lunches. And whether the kids are staying at home or going back getting in the routine of packing healthy lunches the night before is important. During quarantine we had lunches at the park, in the front yard and in the backyard just to break up the routine of the day.
What kind of lunchbags do you use?
For a long time, we just used paper lunch bags. I got tired of the kids not bringing back expensive lunch bags, tupperware and bento boxes. it was getting frustrating. So I opted to stop.
My husband has bought his daughter the Pack It bags. I love them because they have the ice packs built right in. You just throw them in the freezer, bring them out in the morning and pack their lunch and go. It stays cool until lunchtime.
What's a good routine for getting lunches prepped for multiple kids and adults?
For us, the night before has always been the easiest for us. We can prep everyone's meals specific to what they want, we leave it in the fridge and in the morning pack it away in the above PackIt or a lunch bag with a frozen drink to keep everything cool.
How do you keep lunch cool until you eat it?
This one is easy! We often freeze juice boxes, yogurt or yogurt sticks and water bottles in the freezer and grab them to help keep meals cool until eaten. We often move the juice boxes or water bottles to the fridge overnight so they are unfrozen enough to drink for lunch. With the PackIt's we have stopped freezing juice boxes and things.
What products do you eat to reduce prep time?
I work too and want the kids to eat healthy but don't always have a lot of time to prep all our fruits and veggies. The kids really like individually packaged fruits and veggies and I like that a lot of that is simple grab and go for lunches.
The girls have also really liked the Inner Eco smoothie snacks. At only 50 calories they feel like they are more grown up fruit pouches.
What meals do you suggest that don't require any Thermos cups or fancy lunch equipment to make?
Here are some simple and easy meals that we make for lunches:
Dole salads--my teens love the Dole salads. They love the southwest and caesar salads. We just add some cooked chicken and it's a simple and easy meal. A bag of salad costs me $4 and it has all the toppings and can be easily shared between two kids or myself and one of my other kids.
Chocolate chip graham cracker cookies, peanut butter cups for dipping, fruit or vegetable, drink
Walking tacos, fruit or vegetable, drink, hot cocoa cookies