How to Get Your Kids to Pack Their Own Lunch

Fellow mamas! Let me let you in on a little secret: school lunches are flipping expensive! We are ballin’ on a budget over here in our house, and there is no way we could afford our child to eat a school lunch every day. 

That being said, I also don’t want to feel like I’m burdened with making lunches every morning either, don’t judge me. But seriously, why make lunches five different times each week when I can cut down on juice box  packing and how many times I have to open up the peanut butter jar each week and just do it all at once? Efficiency!

So, here is how I successfully had my two-year-year old (yup, two-year-old) start packing her own lunches for daycare each morning. 

Food Prep

I am not really into a lot of processed foods and prepackaged goodies and that’s totally just me and my preferences. So my lunch prep for the kid involves cutting up a bit of produce and making some sort of sandwich or wrap. But it only takes me fifteen minutes to prep and package a week’s worth of food. Plus, natural foods are healthier and less expensive than prepackaged alternatives: win, win. 

This week I prepped my girl four days of lunches {because Friday we are having lunch with her Grandma}: PB&Js, cucumbers, blueberries plus pre packaged cheese sticks and fruit snacks. You can see it all prepared below. 

I try to use reusable containers as much as I can to have less waste. I also love when I can use a different sized container for each different food so my little girl knows to grab one of each different container. 

Designate a lunch drawer/bin per kid

I only have one kid packing lunches so I’ve designated our fruit crisper drawer in the bottom of our refrigerator for all of her lunch items. You can see how I pack that below.

And if you’re all like “Whoa, whoa, whoa…give up my crisper drawer? No way, I can’t sacrifice that!” That’s cool, I get it, you’re just really into crisp fruits. As an alternative, you can grab an inexpensive bin from the dollar store or Target or wherever you’re doing your back to school shopping to organize your prepped lunch food.

Here you can see what my lunch prep would look like in a different container. This little basket cost me $1 at Big Lots.

Model how to pack the lunch

For the first week or so, you may need to walk through the process with your kiddos. Make sure they’re understanding how to pack one of each food category, don’t just leave their veggies behind, or don’t try and take a weeks worth of fruit snacks in one day.

Once they get the hang of it, your lunch prep commitment for your children is about 20 minutes a week! 

Do a happy dance, take back some time each morning, sit back and enjoy your {hopefully still warm} coffee. 

Happy lunch prepping, mamas!