Take a walk down memory lane with me, won’t you? It’s the end of August (or perhaps July, depending on where you live). The new school year is fast approaching and you are STOKED, my friend. Because, while your summer break was all sorts of wonderful, you and your kids are SO READY to get back to your routine.
First day of school. (And in case it slipped your mind, Facebook would remind you.)
New backpacks. Spit-polished shoes. Ironed clothes. Shiny new lunchboxes/bags/bentos filled with Pinterest-worthy meals that have been planned out for weeks and, of course, the perfect school-safe snacks (yes, you read the package extra carefully to be sure). The traditional first-day-of-school pictures are snapped and you manage at least one shot where no one is picking their nose.
End of Week 1, and the energy of the new school year is palpable. The clothes may be a little rumpled now, and the shoes bear the marks of several days of recess playground adventures, but you are still ON this lunch duty thing like nobody’s business. That’s right. YOU, my friend, are rockin’ it because, let’s face it—those flower-shaped sandwich cutouts aren’t going to make themselves.
Now, let’s fast forward to ‘present day’, shall we? Because, let’s face it, once you’re past the first week of school, it’s all pretty much a blur of forgotten homework, last-minute projects and half-eaten lunches. Yes, at this point, as the school year winds down, you are in panic mode as the date of the last pizza lunch approaches because NOW YOU’RE GOING TO HAVE TO MAKE ANOTHER LUNCH! For EACH child? What fresh hell is this?
In case you missed it, I have four kids. Four growing, hungry kids. I stopped planning their lunches somewhere around the middle of the second week of school, which is such a drag because it’s SO much easier. But some days you just don’t want to be in the kitchen a minute longer. You feelin’ me?
Unfortunately that means our mornings can be a little—shall we say—harried? My eldest, who is 12, has been tasked with packing the lunches in the morning, a responsibility she has embraced (for the most part) without complaint. However, our job as parents is to make this task as stress-free as possible. How do we do this?
Ending the Lunchbox Struggle in 3 Easy Steps
- Fill water bottles, prep the main lunch and place veggies and fruits in plastic containers and store in the fridge overnight so they are easy to grab in the morning. By doing this, even our seven-year olds are excited to pack their lunches!
- Have lunch bags out and on the counter with all napkins and cutlery tucked in the front pocket. It’s a simple step, but often it’s these extra steps that slow you down in the morning.
- Provide a selection of nutritious snack options THAT THEY LIKE, like Quaker Chewy Super Grains granola bars. We are longtime Quaker fans to begin with, but these Chewy Super Grains granola bars (WITH quinoa, thankyouverymuch) are a delicious snack that we, as parents, and our kids can enjoy and feel good about.
While you may or may not be counting down the days to the last school lunch you’ll have to pack, do yourself a favour and keep it simple. Your kids probably don’t care that they’ve eaten tuna for three days in a row. Then the only kitchen conflict left is which flavour of the Quaker Chewy Super Grains granola bars to pack.
PRO TIP: Keep ample stock of both the Oats & Chocolate and Oats & Honey because you’ll probably be sneaking one from time-to-time with your mid-morning coffee and don’t want the kids to catch on. These bars are made in a peanut-free facility (yay!) with whole grain oats, brown rice, whole wheat, quinoa, sorghum, and barley and have two grams of fibre and five grams of protein. Oh, and after being unleashed into a four-kid focus group, I can confirm that they’re kid-tested and kid-approved!
Dare I say, the war on lunch is over?
*This post was generously sponsored by Quaker; however, all lunchbox woes and opinions are my own.