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Packing Your Lunches

Whether it’s lunches for kids going to school, or for adults going to work, making lunches at home not only allows you to make sure they’re healthy, but saves you money as well.

The best way to make it easy to make lunches is to have a container system. Your system will depend on you and the person for whom you’re making lunch, but having a set of containers for each person will help you to make sure that each lunch contains multiple food groups, and fits into a bag that goes to school or work. I find that having a container each for fruit, vegetables, and a grain or main, works well. That way there’s lots of room for good healthy food, and you can tuck in some cheese or protein in with one of those groups. The treat container is the smallest.

Another trick that makes things easier is to make the lunches (or most of each lunch) the night before they’re going to be eaten. Fruits and vegetables tend to do pretty well for a night in the fridge, whether they’re cut or whole, and most grains and mains aren’t hurt either. Bananas are an exception (they go brown in the fridge), as are sandwiches with tomatoes – those tend to get a little too soggy for my family if they’re made the night before.

We have a lunch rotation for our kids each week, that does include a hot lunch from the school one day, but still has the fruit and veggie containers all the time. It’s easier for me to make pasta in the morning and put it in a kid-size “soup” thermos than it is to swallow paying $5 for pasta day at school. Other options are a (nut-free) cereal day, bagels instead of bread, variety in the fruits and vegetables, and sometimes cutting things with a ridged or other shaped cutter.

Once kids are old enough, they do like being involved in making their lunch – they’re the ones that eat it, after all. This leads to a host of benefits, including having children eating healthy lunches, understanding how to eat well, and being independent, as well as the time and money that you save.

By Talena Kraus


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