When I’m working in the kitchen I have two choices: let the kids run around and make me crazy while they “entertain” themselves underfoot or use their considerable energy to get things done. So when it comes to making school lunches I’m all about pulling over a chair and getting my kids up at the counter to help. It gets them invested and excited about their lunch (making them more likely to eat it) while also keeping my sanity in check. Here are 12 easy ways I get them involved in the action:
1. Sit down together and plan out a month’s worth of lunches on a calendar. Post it on the fridge so it’s official.
2. When shopping for lunch stuff, take them with you. That way when you’re packing lunches there won’t be any arguing whatsoever about what to pack, right?
3. Have them fill cool cupcake liners (that they chose) with their favorite fruit and veggies and pack it all in a tupperware container.
4. Or, let them help put together fruit and vegetable skewers that they can grab and add to their lunches throughout the week.
5. Hop on the bento box craze. Find bento box scenes online that feature their favorite characters and help them recreate them with lunches that will wow their friends.
6. Use the Choose My Plate worksheet to create a checklist to make sure they include all the food groups. As they pack their lunch have them mark off each group.
7. One evening a week, cook a new recipe together that you can pack in their lunches throughout the week (I’m partial to these peanut butter and jelly muffins myself).
8. Put them in charge of a task. Let them make their own PB&J sandwich (with supervision, of course), for example, as a way to build confidence.
9. Designate bins in your fridge to house food from each food group (for example, the dairy bin might have yogurt, string cheese, and boxes of milk). Let them pick one item from each bin for their lunch.
10. Create a lunch station. Have a specific area where everything they need to make their lunch is kept — baggies, non-perishable snacks, lunch boxes, drinks, etc — which they can pull out to get the lunch-making process started.
11. Have a cooking party with your friends and their kids where together you make large batches of school-ready food to use throughout the month (my mom used to do this with her friends and make homemade applesauce, fruit leather, and desserts).
12. Keep a variety of tupperware or bento box containers in different colors and sizes on hand and let your child choose which ones to use for each lunch item.
*This post is sponsored by Mott’s