Preparing to Pack School Lunches

School starts for Miss Peanut one month from today, which is just absolutely crazy to me. Regardless, it’s time to start really preparing a few things. Honestly, I’ve been preparing things for a long time, like slowly buying things off the supply list her teacher has up on her class blog so it’s not so much at once. And even longer than that, as long as I can remember really, I’ve know I’m going to pack her lunch to school.

Peanut eating lunch at our local Free Summer Lunch program

First I want to say that I know schools do what they can. Many of the lunches are free or reduced and even before accounting for that, it’s not like the school gets a lot of money to work with when it comes to buying and prepping food. And I know that to many families that school lunch is a godsend. That’s not the point.

Twig eating lunch at our local Free Summer Lunch program

The point is that “good enough” isn’t what I want for my family. Our nation’s school lunch (along with many other things) is in a sad state. Looking at the lunches my girls had at the free summer lunch program, there are definitely some good parts and none of it is what I’d consider horrible food, but there are a lot of what I call “sometimes” foods and I just don’t want my kids eating that every day at school. Our school lunch system a lot of improving to do, so in the meantime I’ll take care of her lunch myself.

So here’s the game plan. First, of course, the meal plan. We’re still loving our Super Healthy Kids meal planning service and I’ve happily noted that pretty much every lunch is easy to pack. Of course they’re also loaded with fresh fruits and veggies. I even asked Peanut this week if she wants to do school lunch one day a week (a suggestion I read on Super Healthy Kids) and she said no, she’d rather have my yummy healthy lunches every day. Happy mama here! I’m sure we’ll revisit this concept once she sees her friends eating school lunch, but for now I’m planning on packing it 5 days a week. If she changes her mind, I’m going to stick with Wednesdays as our school lunch day since my husband gets tacos that day and maybe Twig, Banana, and I will have leftovers or go out to lunch ourselves.

Our Laptop Lunchbox bag

Our Laptop Lunchbox

Next, the gear. I have a Laptop Lunchbox that I used myself while I was in school (and I’ll happily buy a second one for myself when I go back to school next year, they’re great!) and extra containers. Since the lunchbox is an older version, the new containers don’t fit in it (they’re a tad bit taller), but that’s not a big deal. I also have one of their lunchbox holders that has plenty of room up top for the other containers. Peanut is super excited to use it!

I’m also planning on getting a bunch (well, maybe not as much as this lady!) of cute bento stuff to make her lunches more fun. I’m sure we’ll hit the point where she feels bored or sad or whatever and these can definitely make lunch more fun. And I’m sure she’ll love them because she loves cute stuff. I’m also planning on printing off lunch notes (and writing my own at times) to give her a little fun pick me up.

Lastly, the plan. I will pack (or at least start packing) lunch the night before, as suggested here. That’s my biggest plan for actually getting her out the door on time. We also have been working on getting ready before breakfast (they have a “before breakfast” to do list that is pretty much just getting ready for the day) so that I’m not constantly harping on her to get dressed and brush her teeth and can focus on getting breakfast on the table and the last bit of lunch packed.

So there it is! Our plan for school lunch this fall. I’ll check up with ya’ll later about how it’s coming along. I’m sure there will be some more obstacles along the way since we’ve never had to pack a school lunch before! She’s getting so big!

Do you pack school lunch? Any tips or tricks you’ve learned?

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