Confession: I do not enjoy packing lunches. I created this lunchbox hacks post out of necessity. When I went from packing lunch for 1 kid to 2 this year, I needed ways to make packing lunches easier. This is not your “how to make your lunches cute and fun” post. This is your “let’s get practical and save time” post. These few hacks below have really helped me feel more organized, less stressed and ready to roll each morning when the kids are heading out the door!
Way back when, Maggie took lunch to school for the first time for a “preschool lunch bunch”. I thought it was just about the most exciting day ever. Everything was cut into an adorable shape, the lunch box has a chalkboard on the lid that I drew pictures on, the napkin was even cute. Those days have long passed. Now I pack lunches in a loud crazy house with kids waking up at all different times, missing library books, Girl Scout vests that need patches, babies that need changing, shoes that need tying and lets not forget about breakfast! Things got so hectic last week that I tried to do a last minute school lunch order (our school has them online) and in the morning chaos never hit “submit” on my order. A hew hours later got the “I have Alexandra in the school office. It appears you sent no lunch for her” call (mom fail). SO…. it was time to try and figure out how to make packing lunches easier and more efficient.
Easy School Lunch Hacks
1.Pack Lunch the Night Before when you can
No matter how tired I am, I now try and pack lunches the night before. It’s not easy but it makes a BIG difference in the morning.
2. Prep food for lunches on Sunday nights
Things like pb&j, sliced veggies, baggies of snacks can all be made ahead for the week. It’s a lot easier to spend 20 min doing it Sunday night than trying to cram it in each morning
3. Have notes on hand: FREE printable lunchbox notes
Lunchbox notes are really important to my girls. They both get a little anxious about leaving for the whole day and have told me by lunch time they “really miss home”. The thing they are most concerned with in the lunch box (even over cookies!) is the note from me. When I am frazzled in the morning scrambling to find a scrap of paper to write on it feels more like an annoying task than writing something that’s an important part of their day. Having a sheet of premade lunchbox notes makes it fun and easy! I jot a little handwritten note on the back with a “love Mom” but these are ready for the lunchbox. I made them with emojis because that seems to be all the kids’ favorite right now. Click here to download and print your free lunchbox notes!
4. Fresh Apple Slices: I recently learned that you can slice an apple, wrap it in saran wrap and it doesn’t brown. This is my favorite new “hack” for packing lunch!
5. Pack Your Own Lunch Wednesday
This is new in our house and makes for a nice mid-week break for mom. The kids pack their own lunch. Sometimes they do a good job and sometimes the lunches are a little wacky but it’s one day a week and gives them some responsibility.
6. Buy Lunch Fridays
I decided to make a day of the week a “buy lunch” day where it would be the same day each week to help stay organized. I went with Friday because…. well by Friday the fridge is a little bare.
7. Pack a Sponge: fast, cheap ice pack and also much lighter to carry in a lunch box
8. Bins of drinks & snacks
Keeping bins of school lunch drinks and snacks in the fridge helps stay organized, know what I have left for the week and makes for super fast lunch packing. It also helps a lot for “pack your own” lunch day. My fridge isn’t very big so I found this taller narrow container for our Juicy Juice boxes and pouches. Then the food bin is actually a pencil case! It fits the fruit/veggies that are sliced really well. I also keep a snack bin on the top of the pantry. This helps have a spot to grab snacks for lunch and is up high so my little monsters don’t eat all the snacks before they make it to the lunch boxes.
As you can see throughout the post, one of our lunchbox favorites is Juicy Juice. My kids love them, they are super convenient and the brand is one I stand behind. This year, Juicy Juice’s commitment is to celebrating time together as family. They launched their year long 100% Family Time campaign a few months ago. This initiative is all about spending quality time with the ones you love. Visit the Juicy Juice website to find family-friendly tips, crafts, activities and recipes to help make the most of the time that you have together. For more of our posts on Juicy Juice make sure to visit the following posts:
I hope these lunchbox hacks help you save time this school year. You can use the time saved for some extra family time and some time to kick back and relax a bit.
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post on behalf of Juicy Juice. While we were compensated for this post, all thoughts and opinions are our own.