I used to really dislike packing my children’s lunch kits.
What do I put in there?
Will they tire of having the same thing all week?
They want a turkey wrap? But, I don’t have any turkey at home.
These were our problems on a regular basis for years. Last year, I decided to implement a lunch planner. On Saturdays, the kids sit down together and figure out what they want for lunch that week. That way, when it comes to packing their lunch, I just have to look at the planner and fill the order – much easier than trying to figure out what they will eat on the spur of the moment. Since my kids have selected what they are going to be eating, they also have an obligation to eat it. No being picky when you’re the one that ordered it. We used this planner nearly all last school year, and when it was in use, making lunches was a breeze! I think my kids had the best lunches in the class, actually. They didn’t have the same thing over and over – they had variety. They changed things up from week to week, and their favourite foods were only allowed once a week. Otherwise, they would have a full week of mini pizzas or pancakes. Although you’re welcome to have a planner per child, I find it much easier if they work together and agree on what they will be having each day. Besides minor changes, I’d rather make the same thing for both of them. I’m not a restaurant, you know.
The lunch planner that you can download is what we have on our fridge this year. To use it, begin by simply printing it out. Place the page with the picture of the lunch kit in a plastic sleeve. This will help protect it through the year, but also give you a place to store your extra ‘meal stickers’ that aren’t being used. Stick a small dot of removable adhesive (like Fun Tak) in the box under each day of the week.
Get your children to cut out each of the “meal stickers” on pages 2 & 3. Page 2 is the ones we use at our house, and page 3 is blank, for you and your children to fill in some of their favourite lunches.
On the weekend, have your child sit down and plan out their lunches for next week, this gives you time prepare and do some grocery shopping if necessary. Always keep an eye on the planner, I usually try to prepare the lunch the day before. Or, prepare supper that leftovers will be the lunch (like pizza night).
My kids know that the menu is not set in stone. Explain that sometimes things happen and the lunches may need to be changed or altered based on the time and ingredients that you have on hand. Overall though, I think my kids have really liked having a say in what goes into their lunch kits. This year, I will try to have them help make their lunches the night before. During summer they made their own lunches, and they loved the responsibility that it gave them. Now to see if we can nurture that during the school year.
NOTE: Some browsers have a hard time showing the 3rd page. If you’re unable to view it, try another browser. I can’t view it in Firefox, but can in Internet Explorer. Sorry, I can’t figure out how to fix that.