School Lunch Time Savers
Get Organized September 2019
Jhoneé Fillmore, Owner
When to Pack:
Every family likes to pack school lunches differently. Some like to do the morning of and some prefer the day before. I personally am a night before lunch packer, usually right after dinner. I like to wash all lunch containers prior to eating dinner so that if there are any leftovers from dinner that sound good for the next day’s lunch, I can put it directly into the lunch containers. This saves me time putting away leftovers and then pulling those back out to put into lunch containers.
My sons have the same food containers with the only difference being the color of the snap. These colors are important when accommodating food preferences and smaller child food safety. This ensures that I don’t send my younger son to school with grapes and my older son to school with mustard on his sandwich. Whatever containers you choose, make sure it easy to know which is which if that is a factor for your family.
Keep your eye out when purchasing containers that have multiple compartments as some of these containers do not seal between compartments leaving the foods mixed.
Anytime you can prep a lunch item in advance is a time saver later on. Maybe you are making yourself lunch with sliced carrots or celery. Take a few extra seconds to slice some additional veggies for school lunches. Some families choose to do most of the prep work at the beginning of the week so that they can just pull from a ready to go supply.
Want your kids to participate in packing lunches? You can designate the types and quantities of food you wish your children to have. For example you may say to: Choose 1 vegetable, 1 fruit, 1 main course and 1 snack item. Kids then have the freedom to make choices for themselves while remaining in your comfort zone.
Want to get more detailed? This is an especially easy system to set up if you have prepped the food in advance. You can placed bins inside of your refrigerator or dry storage area that are clearly marked with the food category and how many items they may pick from each bin. One bin might say for example “Dry Snack: Choose 1”.
Give your kids the freedom to make lunch choices themselves while remaining in your comfort zone.
If you have some delicious food leftover from dinner or a previous lunch and it is in great condition, I say reuse these items for another lunch.
School Made Lunch:
Have you ever sent your child to school with a lunch from home on a day they like what the school is serving? Eliminate this dilemma by going through the monthly school menu with your child when it comes out. Mark down the days on your family calendar that your child will be having lunch made by the school and enjoy those extra minutes to yourself.
Same yourself some time and unnecessary frustration digging around in your freezer to find your children’s ice packs. Pick out a small plastic bin that fits the size(s) of your children’s ice packs as well as fits conveniently into your freezer. This is also helpful when you are trying to locate food as you can easily move all of the ice packs quickly out of your way in one grab. This is a double winner.
Eliminate digging around in your freezer for ice packs and save time.
Like to put ice cubes in your children’s water bottles? Quickly have access to ice cubes even if your refrigerator does not produce ice. Save yourself a few minutes of breaking ice cubes from trays and refilling them by keeping a supply of ready to go ice cubes in a large Ziploc bag. This way you always have a reserve in the trays as well. You won’t have to make time in the busy moment to refill trays to avoid being iceless later on in the day.
When your children come home from school it is an easy routine to have them assist in unpacking their lunches. My children are in the routine of bringing their lunch boxes in from the car and going right to the kitchen. If their food containers have any leftover food, they place them inside of the refrigerator. If the food containers are empty, they place them in the sink. Water bottles go next to the sink, ice packs are put into the freezer and lunch boxes hung on hooks in the kitchen.
The act of placing any leftover food into the refrigerator ensures that the food remains cold and if I am able to reuse it the next day’s lunch I can.
Missplaced Organizing was started in 2005. Missplaced focuses on organizing physical clutter, developing systems and setting up events for residential and business clients. Visit www.missplaced.com