3 Lunch-Packing Tips for Multiple Children
Jennifer Gabot from @big.boss.bites is a wife to a picky husband, and mother to one picky daughter and one son who will eat mostly anything. She strives to make meals her entire family can enjoy!
It is back to school already, which also means it is time for packing lunches again. Sometimes it can be difficult to come up with lunches that your child will eat and not get bored with; and if you are packing a lunch for more than one child, the task can become even more complicated. I am here to share with you three easy tips to incorporate into your lunch-packing routine when you are packing for more than one child. If you are just starting to pack lunches, these tips will be helpful for you as well!
Tip #1: Plan Ahead
Planning ahead will take more time on the front end, but it will help you once it is time to start packing those lunches! One of my favorite time savers (and probably something you already do) is to make a list before grocery shopping! However, in this case, make two lists–one will be your "master" list and the other will be your grocery list for the weekly (or bi-weekly) grocery trip. For your "master" list, jot down what each child loves, likes, and dislikes/cannot have due to allergies or restrictions set by the school (for example, some schools don't allow peanut butter). Have an ongoing "master" list to help you throughout the year. I scratch out what my kiddos are sick of, or do not enjoy anymore, and add to the list as we try a new product or food combinations. Once you have a "master" list started for each child (this doesn't have to be long, the list will grow with time), compare what they love, like, and dislike to make your grocery list for the week (or two weeks). On my weekly grocery shopping list, I write down two or three items each child loves or likes, that the other does not, and then I focus on what they both enjoy to fill in the rest of the lunchbox meal plan for the week. This is very helpful even if both children do not need a packed lunch–in my case I have a school-aged child and a toddler, but I still need to make lunch for my toddler son of course.
Tip #2: Pack Everyone the Same Thing
Yup, that’s right! Even with almost polar opposite taste buds, I try to pack my children the same meal! My main goal is to pack the same main course, and allow flexibility for their sides. For example, both children will receive ham, cheese, and crackers. My picky daughter will enjoy berries, olives, and a treat for her sides; while my son will enjoy berries, peas, and dried fruit. If we have multiple boxes of crackers on hand, I might pack them different crackers to personalize their lunch a bit more. I stick to keeping their lunchboxes as similar as possible, however. There will be compromises made between both children, which is why Tip #1 is so helpful. The “master” list will allow you to see where you can come to a common ground on food preferences, focusing on what you have to work with. In turn, the “master” list will help you develop main meals from the food they both “like” or “love”.
Tip #3: Pack the Night Before
If possible, pack the night before! It is a L-I-F-E-S-A-V-E-R! I know some prefer to pack the morning of, but if you can figure out lunchbox meals that hold well overnight, or require a quick morning prep addition (like heating up the main course quickly in the microwave and adding it to the already prepared lunchbox sides); it will save you a lot of stress in the morning. I ALWAYS pack the night before, whether I am packing for one person, or the whole family. If you are packing a lunch for more than one person (in my case usually my daughter and husband–pickiest eaters ever), you will appreciate not having to reference each child/person’s likes and dislikes first thing in the morning.
I hope you have found these tips helpful! I wish you all a stress-free and successful year of packing lunches!