They’re coming. You can’t stop them. You have to face them head-on.

I am, of course, talking about… the dreaded school lunches.

If you’re anything like me – or most parents for that matter – the number one thing that comes to mind when you think about back-to-school is… packing lunches! (You just let out a disgusted sigh and rolled your eyes, didn’t you? I sure did.)

At the start of every school year, I have the best of intentions. I jump on Pinterest and pin all kinds of things like:

“100 healthy school lunches your kids will love!”

“Great lunch ideas for kids so they don’t get bored!!”

“One million lunch ideas that don’t include sandwiches!!!”

Okay, that last one might be an exaggeration, but you get the idea. I make a plan, and the plan usually works for a couple of months. I know full well that by the end of the school year, I’ll basically be grabbing whatever I can find in the fridge and cupboards and slapping it in their lunch box. I suspect I’m not alone in this.

Since we’re all constantly looking for ways to keep those school lunches healthy and exciting, I’ve put together some simple and practical tips that I have found to be pretty useful. This means they don’t involve making sandwiches into cookie-cutter flowers or assembling fruit kebabs that look like caterpillars. Don’t get me wrong, they’re both adorable – but not all parents have that kind of time (or patience!) at night or during the morning rush.

Here are 4 tips to make the lunch-packing task a little easier:

1. Prepare ahead. This is by far the most helpful tip! When you cut up fruit, veggies and cheese ahead of time, it makes packing lunches so much easier! Cut up their favourites and make them easily accessible in the fridge. I find I pack them healthier lunches when everything I need is done ahead of time and easy to grab.

2. Mix it up. We all know that kids get bored. I mean, would YOU want the exact same lunch every single day? I know I wouldn’t. So I try and mix things up and give them different foods every day. A sandwich one day, some muffins the next, then maybe a wrap. I mix up the snacks too, with different fruits, veggies and crackers.

3. Invest in good containers. I picked up some awesome reusable lunch containers that have made the process a lot easier. They fit perfectly in the lunch bags, and of course all the pieces are clearly labelled. In addition to custom name labels with fun icons, Mabel’s Labels now makes Washaway Lunch Box Note labels where you can add a different personalized message every day!

4. Let them help. When I let my guys help decide what goes in their lunch, they tend to eat better. Since I pack lunches while they’re eating breakfast, I’ll ask them… “Cucumbers or peppers today?” “Goldfish or Vegetable Thins?” “Sandwich or Wrap?” I give them two choices, and it makes them feel like they’ve had some say in what goes in their lunch.

If you’ve got other tips that make packing school lunches a breeze, we’d love to hear them! Happy lunch packing!


Linsey is a happily married mother of two living in Plainfield, ON. When she’s not busy chasing her two crazy boys, she’s running her own freelance writing company, Little Miss Creative. In her downtime, she enjoys tea, backyard BBQs, watching Friends reruns, and hanging out with her family and friends. Oh, and candy.

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