Want your kids to pack their own lunch? Here’s how to create lunch packing stations to make it easier for them–and easier to make healthy choices too.
At last count, my children have carried 46 packed lunches to school so far this year between the both of them. And I have only packed two of those (and only because my younger son was particularly exhausted, and I took pity on him). For the most part, self-sufficiency is the name of the game around here for lunches, and I couldn’t be happier.
Something that has made this task simpler are lunch packing stations I’ve created in our kitchen. I’d seen this idea floating around the interwebs but wanted to see if it would work in real life.
I took two bins–one for the refrigerator, one for the counter–and stocked them with items for lunch packing. My kids can (and do) choose other things to pack, but these are good starting points. They’re also a way for me to make packing healthy choices a little bit easier.
This is what’s in our refrigerator bin right now:
- Lunchbox-sized apples
- Baby carrots
- Pre-washed veggies like sugar snap peas
- Cheese sticks and individually wrapped cheese wedges
- Yogurt cups
- Washed and chopped veggies and fruit
This is what’s in our counter bin:
- Green Pea Crisps
- Nuts & Seeds
- Fruit cups (packed in juice)
- Trail mix
- Unsweetened applesauce
- Dried fruit
- Energy bars
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The beauty of these lunch packing stations is that you can swap out the items regularly to encourage variety. Here are some other ideas:
- Individual cups of hummus, guacamole, or cottage cheese
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Individual boxes of milk (dairy or non-dairy)
- Homemade energy bites/bars
- Washed grapes
- Individual portions of salad or dinner leftovers
- Dried seaweed
- Bags of popcorn
- Squeeze packets of nut butter (if allowed)
- Individual bags of whole grain crackers
- Mini boxes of raisins
- Homemade muffins
Have you ever tried this system? What are your kids’ favorite things to pack?