It's Back to School time already.
Personal feelings aside, we have to get ready for the school year ahead. A big part of the school year in our house is packing lunches.
I gathered a lot of great tips for packing lunches at the Sara Lee Back to School Nutrition Summit, and I'm going to share them with you (in small, themed chunks) over the next week or two.
My first bunch of tips:
Plan Ahead to Make Mornings Easier
There are a lot of things you can do on the weekend (and some you can start doing now) to make school day mornings a little less hectic.
- Organize the night before:
- Have backpacks packed and sitting next to the door
- Prepare as much of the lunches ahead as you can (obviously, the cold parts will wait until the morning, but anything that doesn't need to be refrigerated can be in the bag, as can all of the containers you will need)
- Have breakfast ready to eat. Don't try to cook an elaborate breakfast from scratch unless you enjoy getting up an hour or two before your kids.
- French toast sticks, waffles, and pancakes can all be made ahead and frozen. Microwave or pop in the toaster oven in the morning for hot, homemade breakfast.
- Make peanut butter sandwiches ahead of time using this quick tip from Amy at MomAdvice:
- Spread a thin layer of peanut butter on two slices of whole grain bread or a whole grain mini bagel (this will prevent the other stuff from making the bread soggy)
- Spread jelly on top of the peanut butter on one side of the sandwich and cover the other side with thin slices of peach, pear, or apple.
- Assemble the sandwich, place it in a resealable bag or little sandwich-shaped plastic container and freeze until you're ready to use.
- In the morning, take the frozen sandwich out of the freezer and put it into the lunch bag. It will be thawed by lunch time.
- Get individually packed yogurt sticks and keep them in the freezer. Like the sandwiches, these will thaw by lunch time (but will stay cold enough to be safe).
- Freeze grapes to keep them cold. If you freeze them in resealable bags or small containers, it will be simple to pop them into the lunch bag in the morning.
- The night before, fill a stainless steel or BPA-free thermos 1/3 full with your desired beverage. Freeze it over night. In the morning, fill the thermos to the top and pack it in the lunch bag. The frozen drink will thaw by lunch time, but will still be icy cold for your child to drink.
What are your tips for easier lunches?
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