14 Lunch Hacks to Make a Mama's Life Easier
Amidst the chaos that is getting children ready for school in the morning, there's no task worse than packing lunch, am I right? To make life a little easier, we've rounded up 14 timesaving and fun lunchbox hacks to get your kiddos to class with a balanced lunch that won't come back half-eaten. Best of all, a bunch of these hacks require them actually helping you — genius concept, we know.
Make It Visual
Kids are very visual and much more likely to come home with an empty lunchbox and full belly if their food looks appealing. Try bright containers, or let them pick out some with their favorite characters on them.
Freeze Juice Boxes
Create your own ice pack with a frozen juice box! By the time they eat lunch, the juice will be thawed, their food will be fresh, and there won't be a drippy ice pack for you to deal with when they get home.
This trick has us saying, "why didn't we think of that?!" Preslice their apple, reconstruct it, and wrap a rubber band around it to keep in the juices and prevent it from going brown before lunchtime.
Fancy Lunch Note
Rather than a slip of paper with a love note on it, carve one into the peel of a banana — it makes the banana much more cool and appealing and saves paper.
Make a Snack Station
Make a snack station — one in the pantry and one in the fridge — so that kids can pick out their own snacks in the morning. Not only does it help them to learn autonomy, it aids them in learning how to pack a balanced lunch, holds them responsible, and puts less on you while you're trying to get a million other things done.
Make Sandwiches Cut-er
Using cookie cutters on a sandwich makes it more fun to eat and look at (remember, visuals are key), and it also eliminates the crust for picky eaters.
Make Cold Cuts Fun
Some kids don't like sandwiches, and that's OK! Have them help you the night before with cutting up some cold cuts and cheese — fruit too! — with cookie cutters, and once they're finished, create designs on crackers or veggies. Anything they help make is going to immediately be more of a winner in their eyes.
Make All of the PB&J at Once
Tired of waking up every morning and slathering bread with peanut butter and jelly? Make your life easier by making a bunch at a time and storing them in the freezer. They'll stay fresh for up to six weeks and are another way to keep an "ice pack" in your kiddo's lunch bag. The sandwich will thaw by lunchtime, and they'll never know the difference.
Slice the Crusts With a Pizza Cutter
Crustless sandwiches are really appealing to most littles, but ripping the crust makes you lose half the sandwich. Create clean edges without dragging a knife across soft bread by using a pizza cutter instead.
Wrap in Wax Paper
Wrap sandwiches in wax paper — it becomes a built-in place mat, and kids can decorate their wraps with crayons and markers the night before (or you can write them their love note directly on their wrapped sandwich).
Store Hot Food in a Thermos
No more soggy chicken nuggets and cold pasta. For your little with a sophisticated palate, make more than a sandwich for them and keep it hot in a thermos so that it's warm when they get to lunch and nothing is mushy.
Keep It Dry
Put condiments like mayo or mustard — and mushy toppings like tomatoes — in between cold cuts and lettuce so that the bread of the sandwich doesn't get soggy on the inside.