Making packed lunches as stress free as possible.
At this time of year, parents all over the country are starting to think about uniforms, PE kits and shoes. Is everything properly labelled? Does anything fit anymore? Just where exactly did the PE kit get dropped on the last day of term?
However one thing is for sure – if you ask parents what they like most about the holidays it’s not having to prepare packed lunches every morning. Juggling breakfast, shoe search and tie tying with hunt the lid for the lunch containers is not anyone’s idea of fun! We start off the term full of good intentions and matching lunch box lids, but it can quickly slide back into chaos.
We have put together a few tips to help you survive the start of term and keep the mornings calm (ish)
Create a ‘lunchbox cupboard’
Taking some time to put together a ‘lunchbox cupboard’ can really take the stress out of putting lunch together in the morning.
By planning ahead, you can avoid last minute purchases of crisps and chocolate bars simply to pad out lunch, saving money and waste.
- Keep your bulk snacks and any treats in there, making sure you have enough to last the week.
- Dried fruit, nuts (check your school's policy on nuts), homemade dark chocolate fridge cake, and seed crackers make great, nutrient dense snack foods.
- Transfer to a small container in the morning and pop in the lunch bag.
Get your equipment right
It really helps to have the right equipment. And if your children like it too then you never know, you might even get a hand putting their lunch together (no guarantees!) Of course - if you already have a kit, make sure to reuse it to keep your waste and costs down.
Try these for a full lunch set:
- Food baggie 'Stars' Really useful sized cotton food bag with Velcro closure - perfect for sandwiches, a bagel, or a load of snacks. Choose from Stars or 5 other timeless prints or plain cotton. Or a fun food wrap that turns into a serving plate like these.
- Leak resistant lunch box 'Adoni' cutting out years of plastic use, this stainless steel lunch box has closure clips and a silicone seal for greater leak resistance for sarnies, pasta salads or a whole bunch of veggies and dip. Choose from other designs with layers and mini containers from our A Slice of Green Range or upgrade with a divider.
- Insulated food jar 'Arty' These insulated food jars add a whole new dimension to packed lunches as they allow your children to take along a hot meal to school, perfect for when the days start to get a bit chilly. Ideal for including warmed up leftovers from supper the night before too.
Don't forget to keep hydrated
But how about a drink? We all know how important it is to stay hydrated at school. Classrooms can be warm and concentration can dip in the afternoon if your child is thirsty – probably from galloping around the playground at lunch time. Plastic bottles and cartons of juice may seem easy and appealing, but they are expensive, create mountains of waste and usually contain unhealthy sugary or sweetened drinks. A reusable bottle filled, and refilled with water is the best option, especially on warm days when they can top up at school.
- Insulated stainless steel bottle 'Pop Yellow' is a handy size for smaller children at 260ml. Perfect for little hands, easy to open and drink out of and will happily keep drinks cold for up to 7 hours. And, best of all, easy to keep clean- no valves or plastic parts to trap the drink and go a funny colour.
- The Active insulated drinks bottle is made from 90% recycled stainless steel. It has a leakproof stainless steel lid with a carry handle and a stable base. No leaks in the school bag! With a whopping 600ml capacity, it should last older kids through the day, and it keeps drinks cold for up to 24 hours.
- The 'easy lid' will turn any 260ml or 500ml Qwetch insulated bottle into an easy open, flip top for easier drinking. It also means you have a spare lid, just in case one goes missing.
Keep it together
You can pack all these lunch essentials straight into their back packs but younger children might like a groovy lunch bag to keep it all together (and older ones who need to stay organised with so many books to carry).
We love these insulated lunch bags from Keep Leaf gorgeous designs, organic cotton, water resistant lining and a velcro fastening - what's not to love?
Healthy lunches start with healthy ingredients
- Choose a lunchbox kit that allows you to pack a full, nourishing lunch and a snack for break time to ensure that they are keeping their energy up all day.
- Have a look at this article by Kirsty Ketley in Metro for really useful tips on how to make a healthy pack lunch for all ages.
- And for some of our very favourite recipes, we heartily recommend The Lunchbox Doctor - Jenny has loaded up recipes and tips in her blog and recipe section of her website. Yummy!
Check in with our Green Guide to saving money and the planet for food waste tips as well as other green household advice 💚