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Beat the Morning School Rush – Packing Lunch

If you pack lunch and snacks every day for your child to eat safely at school, then you know how crazy the morning rush can be.Waking everyone up early on school days and getting the kids ready in time can already be challenging, and adding food preparation on top of it only adds to the craziness. What are you going to make, are the children getting dressed, do you have the ingredients for lunch, did everyone eat breakfast, is there enough time to make the lunch you planned…it starts the day off on a stressful note. Here are some stress busting tips to help you beat the morning school rush.


  1. Plan the meals for your week ahead of time. Get out a calendar and write out the meals for the week – including breakfast, lunch and dinner. This will help you make sure you have the right food in the house when you go grocery shopping. I know there have been mornings when I’ve realized I was out of something that I had planned to pack, and there was no time to do anything about it. So, having a list helps me make sure that doesn’t happen. The list also stops me from slowing down to try and decide at the last minute what I want to pack for snack and lunch.
  2. Pack leftovers from dinner the night before as part of your child’s lunch is a huge help to beat the morning school rush. You’ve already done the work making a healthy dinner. If your child really enjoyed it, then you know it will be a hit at lunch too. Pair the leftovers with fresh fruit. I included two examples of pictures in this post that are based from leftovers – turkey tacos and roast chicken.
  3. Do the prep you can the night before. Slice your fruit. Pack the snack. For example, if you’re packing gluten free pretzel sticks in a small container, there’s no reason to wait until morning to do that. Lastly, wash the water bottles or thermoses so that they’re ready to go in the morning.


Hot Food Tip: If you want your child to have a hot lunch, purchase a hot food thermos. They’re widely available – I’ve seen them at Wholefoods, Walmart, Target, Amazon, and Pottery Barn Kids. To keep food hot, it’s important to first boil water and put it in the hot food container with the lid closed for 7-10 minutes. That preheats the thermos. Meanwhile, heat up your child’s food to a temperature hotter than they would eat. Pour the water out, and replace it with the hot food. Seal the container and it should stay warm for 5 hours.

I hope these tips help you beat the morning school rush so you can start your day on the right track! You can get more ideas lunch box packing tips here.

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  • I don’t have kids, but those are great tips for packing my own lunch. I try to pack my lunch a couple days a week, but I usually end up not having enough time in the morning. I really need to plan ahead like you suggest so I can prep the night before.

    • These tips will be a time saver for you. I can totally relate to feeling like there’s not enough time in the morning!

  • I almost always pack leftovers from dinner and pack the night before. It saves so much time and stress in the morning!

    • That’s awesome! Starting the day off with less stress is the way to go!

  • Great tips for the hot thermos! I never send hot food with my 5yo because I’m never sure if I can keep it hot enough. I might have to try it though!

    • Try it at home to see how long you can keep it hot. Test it out on your child’s food on the weekend or for yourself. That’s how I figured out how to keep it warm and it helps us add variety to lunch meals at school.

  • These are some great tips! I need to start packing some healthy lunches. I love those hearts you made out of the strawberries!! Reminds me of when my mom used to make shapes out of fruits for me when I was in school 🙂

  • Amanda Arthur Krill

    Packing the leftovers for them the night before is super smart!! Why didn’t I ever think of that?!?!

  • I need to do this for myself!! I never pack my lunch the night before and am a hot mess trying to get out of the door on time for work!