There’s a familiar buzz in my house these days. My kids and I are in the final stages of getting back to school-ready. The backpacks, clothes and school supplies are ready. The homework nook is set up. And we’ve talked about new expectations and responsibilities. With my kids getting older, I am working on transferring more of the work of school mornings to them.
Case in point: their lunches.
My daughter needs a snack and lunch each day (only a snack on the days she buys lunch). My son needs a lunch. Heck, so do I. So to save time and stress, my kids are going to be getting more involved with the school lunch preparation each day. While I’ll handle the main part of the meal, they’re up to bat for everything else — sides, snacks and drinks.
Here’s what I am doing to get them ready.
Empowering Your Kids to Help Pack Good Lunches
- Talk about It: As an adult, you probably know what goes into a good, nourishing lunch. Apples = good; candy bars = tasty, not not nourishing. Your kids may not have this knowledge yet — so now’s the time to teach them. Talk about healthful choices with them, give them examples, ideas and perimeters, and help them learn to pack their own good lunches.
- Have Them Help Shop: Shopping for the week? Get the kids involved. From selecting fruits and veggies, to planning sandwiches, soups or whatever else they want in their lunch boxes, this will help them learn to eat well — and ensure they eat what you pack too. Let them select some items for snacks too.
- Designate a Snack Basket: In our house, we have a designated snack basket filled with nourishing snacks like applesauce, nuts, raisins and SkinnyPop Popcorn. When we’re preparing lunches in the morning, the kids grab a snack or two from there to add to their lunch boxes — along with the usual main meal and a few fruits or veggies.
- Keep it Stocked: It’s key to keep that snack basket stocked with good snacks that will fuel your kids’ days. Keep an eye on it, and replenish the tasty items inside as needed. Perhaps even put the kids in charge of making sure it stays stocked?
One of the things my kids love to keep on hand for lunches is popcorn, and they adore SkinnyPop® Popcorn. Made with just three ingredients – popcorn, sunflower oil and salt — it’s simple but tasty. And the 0.65 oz. bags of SkinnyPop (which also comes in a white cheddar flavor) are perfect for packing for school (bonus: they have only 100 calories).
There’s also larger bags available for those times when you want to share. The 4.4 oz. bags, in a variety of flavors including Sea Salt and Pepper, are great for digging into while watching a movie.
What have you done to get your kids ready for the school year?
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.
Sarah Walker Caron is a cookbook author, freelance writer and founder of Sarah’s Cucina Bella. She is the author of four cookbooks including The Super Easy 5-Ingredient Cookbook and One-Pot Pasta, both from Rockridge Press. A single mother to a tween and a teen, Sarah loves nightly family dinners, juicy tomatoes plucked fresh from the vine and lazy days on the beach. She also adores reading and traveling.