As you enter your final month of summer, it’s likely that you’re already making back to school plans. There are supplies to get, schools to tour, classroom teachers to meet, not to mention the back to school clothes shopping! Bottom line: there’s a lot to juggle as our children take their steps into school for the first time, into the next grade or even up to middle or high school. One way to make your life easier is to train your kiddos to take on some simple tasks. Help them, help you by teaching them to make their own lunches with this easy back to school lunch packing station.
Before letting you child have the reigns on the entire lunch making situation, have a couple of conversations about healthy food and why it’s important to eat a balanced diet that suits your family. Some creative ways to do this may be to make a craft, read a library book or inviting your kids to come help (or watch) you cook. The goal is for your kiddo to know that it’s important to eat a wide variety of foods and that those foods should be included in what they put in their lunch box.
When you’re looking for space for a lunch station you may want to consider moving some of your kitchen gadgets around so that your kids can have access to two bottom cabinets. This would be a perfect place to store water bottles, dry snacks, ziploc bags, lunch boxes, Tupperware, the works! Don’t have cabinet space? No problem, visit your nearest home goods store and look for a three tiered cart or shelf.
Once you have your space chosen you’ll want to keep it organized so that your kids know just where to find everything that they need-on their own! Zip by your closest dollar store and choose some storage bins that are the right size so that your snacks and bottles and boxes can all have a designated space. When it comes to labeling, keep it simple. Organize by proteins, treats, chips, and veggies and then simply label with a number. For example: protein bin has a “one” on it- choose one item from that bun to add to your lunch box.Here's How To Create Your Own Back To School Lunch Packing Station! Click To Tweet
After creating a space and organizing, all that’s left is stocking! Be sure to include a variety of healthy snacks and a few treats for your children to choose from. Some ideas may include, individual peanut butter packs, roasted chickpeas, dried kale or okra, pita bread, nuts and seeds, raisins, etc.
For food items like string cheese, yogurt, sliced fruits and veggies and pre-prepared sandwiches, empty out a drawer or two in your refrigerator and organize the same way you did your dry food station. Consistency is key!
Once you have the station set up it’s time for a few practice runs. The first time through with your kiddos, explain where they will be able to find everything that they need and model how to pack a lunch correctly for them. Then, in the week before school begins PRACTICE! Let them pretend to “pack their lunches” and then scope out their work. Give them feedback about changes that they need to make. This new found freedom will be something that frees you up a little and gives them something to be excited about. Hey, maybe they’ll actually eat more of their lunch since they get to pick it all out?!
Here are a few more lunch packing stations to help you out!
Ideas for refrigerator organizing by I Heart Organizing
Making a School Lunch Station by Design Improvised
Lunchbox Creation Station by MOMADVICE