Anyone got the lunch box blues about going back to school?
I only discovered last year what a chore school lunches can be.
They can add so much stress to the dreaded manic Mondays that are looming.
Mornings have never been my strong point! So being organised with the lunches is really important to get the day off on the right foot.
I’ve compiled a list to help, just to save my sanity in the morning and hopefully squeeze in a much-needed coffee or two.
So here you have it, my top ten lunch box tips and ideas. I really hope you get something from them x
1. I will start with the lunch box itself. OK, so it may have a Minion or Trolls on the front, but is it easy to open and close? (Do a trial run especially if your little one is just starting preschool). Can you wipe it clean, is it insulated and hard wearing? It will get a battering through the school year, so make sure is it up to the test.
2. The beaker. Make sure the beaker is easy to open and non-spill. Keep an eye on where you fill it to. I sometimes put a sticker on where I’ve filled it to so I can check how much smallie has drunk throughout the morning. I find the Sistema beakers the best for non-leak (2 euros in Heatons). If your gang drink water, try to stick to it for school, that way the plastic beaker doesn’t end up smelling.
3. Label everything! All you need is a permanent marker if you want to go cheap and cheerful. If you are going down the name tag route I can’t recommend mynametags.ie enough. I got Name Tags from them last year and they’ve really lasted the test of time. Making it through many a dishwasher and washing machine cycle, and still coming out intact.
4. Pack food you know your child eats, keep it simple and varied. Try to avoid the stuff that’s cleverly marketed for school lunches – they can be expensive with loads of hidden sugar in them and little or no nutritional value. If you’re making pancakes over the weekend, double the batch and make up extra to keep for lunches. They will keep in an air tight container for 3 days in the fridge. And much tastier than the shop bought ones!
5. Try to get organised the night before, even get the kids to help. Your bedhead the next day will thank you for it. Mornings are so unpredictable, it’s one less thing to worry about in the morning panic, and might even give you time for that life-saving coffee I keep going on about.
6.Mix it up. The old reliable ham sambo can get boring over time. All the budget supermarkets are doing fresh bread, homemade scones or baked pretzels. They make a great change and are much better value than the kid’s marketed stuff. Lunchables – I’m looking at you!
Avoid things that are hard to open and are easy to spill. Like yoghurt tubes and juice boxes. You don’t want smallie getting “wrapper rage”. The teacher will thank you for it. Also, most importantly, it saves on the washing (there’s nothing like getting 2 uses out of the same track suit). #parentingwin!
8. Think of allergies in the classroom. So many parenting websites recommend “trail mix” peanut butter sandwiches, and apple and peanut butter for the lunch box. But most schools have an anti-nut rule and allergy list. Ask the teacher for a look at it.
9. Pinwheels are another great alternative to the sambo. They’re bite size and kids love them. Pinterest has some fantastic ideas for them.
10. Think outside of the box. “Yum” loves jam roly-poly’s which are basically jam sambo’s with the crusts cut off and rolled up, and cookie cutter sambo’s, I got huge cookie cutters in Dunnes last Christmas! I just press it into the sambo cutting off the crusts and away you go.
So there you have it – my top ten lunch box tips… Have I missed any out? Good luck guys!! I’m raising my extra strong cup of coffee and rooting for you x
(This was first published over on my blog here)