Teach Your Kids to Pack Their Lunch

By Lauren Scott, Arizona Farm Bureau Intern

Whether they take their lunch or buy it at school, making sure your kids eat lunch can be stressful for you. They don’t realize that you come home from work exhausted, and don’t want to make their lunch. Maybe the lunch plan at their school is not in the budget for the upcoming school year. Whatever is going on, there is an easier way: Get your kids to pack their own lunch!

Now, I know what you’re thinking. I wasn’t the biggest fan of packing my lunch when I was a kid, and your child might not be either. First things first on this food journey, get your little one excited to pack a lunch!

  1. Make them feel important. Sit your child down and have a serious discussion with them. They are growing up and need to take on some big boy or girl responsibilities. Tell them you NEED their help because of how capable they are becoming.
  2. Get a new lunchbox! To create more excitement, let your child pick out their own lunchbox. Make sure it is something that will get them excited to put their lunch in it every day.
  3. Grocery shop together. When you can, take you little one grocery shopping with you. You make the list, but have them help find products and put them in the cart. When you get to the produce section, let them pick out one fruit or veggie for the week that wasn’t already on your list.
  4. Remind them of what a healthy lunch looks like. Kids are always going to want to stuff their lunch with cookies and other treats if they are available, and that’s okay! Just remind them that cookies are a special treat that they can pack so long as they also pack a fruit and a vegetable.
  5. Bags or containers. Have the appropriate food containers or plastic bags on hand and accessible to your child so they can portion out their food. Get specific containers for sandwiches, condiments, fruits, and vegetables.
  6. You’re the parent, teach your kids. Before throwing them headfirst into packing their own lunches, show your kids how to do everything. Show them how you make different kinds of sandwiches, and where all the ingredients go in the kitchen. Show them how to make a salad, or a turkey wrap. Then, teach them how to put everything into their lunchbox so that it all fits.
  7. Help them out. If you are so inclined, proportion out things that they might have a hard time with for them. They might make a mess putting ranch and ketchup into containers for the week, so have those ready to go if they are needed. The same goes for other condiments and liquids like soup.
  8. Set a lunch-making schedule. To make sure you child has their lunch all ready to go for the next day, set a time they have to start making it by. If their bedtime is 8 o’clock, have them do it at 7 p.m. If they get home from school at three and you want it done right away, have them do it at 3:30 p.m.

There is no right or wrong way for your kiddos to pack their lunch. Just give them the correct tools and help that they need and soon they will be doing it all by themselves!

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