When your kids are begging for anything other than a peanut butter and jelly sandwich but you’re a parent short on time and resources, it’s important to have an arsenal of quick, easy, and nutritious meal plans to help tackle school lunches.
Packing lunch boxes every day can get stressful fast! Our lunch box plan makes things easy with two full weeks of healthy and delicious lunches your kids will actually want to eat. These lunch box ideas for kids are so simple to prepare that you can delegate easy tasks to your kids and get lunch ready to go even faster!
Whether you have a picky eater, a weary kindergartner, or a vegan or vegetarian kid to feed, you can use our schedule as a foundation for the weeks ahead. Bring the schedule with you to the grocery store to help cut down on unnecessary purchases or easily delegate by passing off the schedule to your partner, babysitter or mother-in-law.
Step One: Create a Two-Week Rotating Lunch Chart
The key to filling a lunchbox with wholesome foods that are essential for healthy growth and quick to prepare is planning. I start by planning two weeks of lunches. When deciding on recipes, I think about the basic four: fruits and veggies, whole grains, dairy, and protein.
Step 2: Let Each Sibling Pick One Meal a Week
I have three kids between the ages of eight and sixteen. Each one of them has different tastes and dietary requirements but packing three individual lunches every day is way too much of a chore. The way I keep all three kids happy is by involving them in the meal planning and letting them pick one meal per week. For my daughter who is lactose-intolerant, I make easy swaps like hummus to dip vegetables in instead of ranch.
Step 3: Designate One Day as Junk Food Day
Our Junk Food Day is Friday! The kids love it and it's an excuse to utilize quick, yummy freezer-friendly recipes like chicken tenders breaded with coconut and panko.
Step 4: Make a Shopping List
Use the list at the grocery store to lower costs by eliminating unnecessary purchases. Another bonus of the shopping list is the ability to pass it off to your spouse or babysitter. With everything planned out, it is a cinch to pass off lunch-making duties to another family member. It takes a village!
Step 5: Prepare Lunch Boxes the Night Before
Prepare lunch boxes the night before and enlist your kids to help with prep--you'll save time and teach them valuable skills. Plus, studies show kids are more likely to eat their fruits and veggies if they had a hand in choosing the produce or preparing it!