This time of year everyone (myself included) gets very excited about all the new school supplies, which in recent years even means new lunch boxes/bags/containers/accessories/etc. All too often we set ourselves up with high expectations on what we plan to pack, how well balanced a meal it should be, how well liked/eaten it will be, and quite frankly whether the end result lunchbox might actually be “Pinterest worthy”. It’s a lot of pressure on parents these days to buy expensive products and offer 6 different mini food options per meal, a la bento style.
Fast forward a few weeks into the school year and this expectation is impossible for parents to uphold and frustration sets in as the child returns home with very little having been consumed from said perfect lunchbox. So while I love helping parents learn how to pack a lunch that’s fun, easy, won’t exhaust you, and most importantly one that will happily be eaten by kids, today I wanted to give you FIVE tips for what NOT to pack.
- Don’t pack more options than a little one can handle. Consider their age and match the number of options to that, so a 3 year old would do well with a 3 section bento while a 5 year old might be able to tolerate small portions of 5 compartments. Less is more so they don’t feel overwhelmed
- Don’t pack something new they haven’t tried before; a nervous child or short lunch period is not an ideal situation for trying out a new meal idea. Always show the lunch to your child in the morning or at night (if they haven’t helped you assemble it themselves) so that there are no surprises
- Don’t pack something that will end up soggy in a few hours, consider a hard plastic or stainless steel sandwich container; keep wet or juicy side options separate from dry ones with compartment dividers, mini silicone muffin holders, or wrapped in tinfoil
- Don’t pack foods in a container your child struggles to open; for some kids this means an entire food group or entire meal for that matter might not even be touched OR it landing on the floor as they pull with all their might and launch it across the room! Give each new lunch packing accessory a test run at home with your child practicing how it might open
- Don’t pack “what everyone else is packing”; just because some kids might be getting juice boxes, bags of chips, or Lunchables does not mean you should follow suit. Your child’s lunch should resemble the foods you serve at home. Be the positive role model (and perhaps inspiration) for other parents instead of falling victim to peer pressure
For more help with WHAT to pack and HOW, sign up now for the Back to School Lunches Workshop!