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, snacks and dinner – or download my Weekly Meal Planner Worksheet. 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.
Packing 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. Below you’ll see an example of a lunchbox that included roast chicken I’d made the night before.
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 as quickly as possible. Seal the container and it should stay warm for 5 hours.
3. Prep what you can the night before.
Dry snacks are easy to pack the night before. 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.
You can also wash your fruit and veggies the night before and pack them. I don’t recommend slicing fruit the night before because in most cases it won’t be as fresh.
Wash the water bottles and lunchboxes, so that they’re ready to go. You can even fill the water bottles in advance so that it’s one less thing to do the next day.
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.