Don't look now, but school's here! Are you ready for one of the biggest challenges for Moms of school-age kids - preparing school lunches day after day?
There's hope and help for you yet. Here are 7 back-to-school lunch tips. Hey, I can't come over and make your kids' lunches for you, but these tips will surely make it much easier:
1. Make dinner do double-duty
You're already in the kitchen preparing your family's dinner, why not use that time to get a head-start on the next day's brown bag lunches?
Make a double batch of meals that taste just as good "the morning after," you know, like fried chicken. Or cook dishes that can be transformed into something "new", such as pasta sauce that's just as yummy as pizza topping (on ready-made crust of course).
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2. Include lunches when meal planning
To do tip #1, you need to be more organized. This means including your kids' lunches when planning your family dinners.
3. Let the kids participate
Lighten your load and teach your children some important life skills at the same time. Even small children can help prepare their lunches.
If morning is too stressful, then make this an after-dinner activity - which brings us to...
4. Make advance preparations
Do whatever you can do ahead of time. For example, cook in batches on the weekend, or put leftovers in packable containers the night before.
5. DIY fast food
Commercial packed lunches are attractive but unhealthy. But who says you can't make your own? Buy your own colorful and attractive lunch boxes, such as a bento-style lunchbox.
Fill it up with a variety of healthy food. Think of mixing up foods with different textures and colors. And cut them up into small pieces so they're easy and fast to eat.
6. Soup it Up
Soup makes a quick and healthy lunch. You can cook a large pot in the weekend and pack it in a thermos for a warm and satisfying lunch. Serve with whole wheat bread and some fresh fruit and you've got a complete meal!
7. Sprinkle in some fun
Sneak a little surprise into your child's lunchbox once in a while. It could be a little chocolate treat, stickers, or a sweet note from you. Getting something unexpected makes lunch fun.
With planning and creativity, your children can have healthy, delicious lunches without too much work for you.
For meal planning help, go to Dine Without Whine. It makes meal planning a breeze, while helping you save time and money.
Then you'll have time and energy for those school lunches.