With fall approaching fast, it’s time to start reviving the school-year rituals that – let’s face it – can get a little rusty over the summer. Whether your kids are athletes, musicians, dancers, brainiacs, or all of the above, one sure-fire way to power them through the day is ensure that they have plenty of food packed. Here are 5 tricks that can make it easier for you to make it easier for them:
Pack the night before. Most parents are well acquainted with the chaos that can take place when the bus is coming in ten minutes but little Johnny hasn’t eaten breakfast, has his shirt on inside out, and is missing his hat/shoes/homework. One easy way to simplify your mornings is to pack lunch for all the kids the night before when you have time to breathe – that way, when disaster strikes in the morning, you can just grab a ready-made lunchbox and save precious minutes.
Make breakfast ahead of time. If making lunches the night before doesn’t work for you, you can always go another route to make room in your mornings by having grab-and-go breakfasts. Instead of using morning time to prepare a fresh breakfast, try making these muffins or this oatmeal the night or weekend ahead of time so that while the kids are munching, you can be packing.
Use an assembly line. As your kids will learn in history class, the development of the assembly line led to multiple sweeping Industrial Revolutions, so don’t underestimate its power at home! If you have more than one school-bound mouth to feed, maximize your productive efficiency in the same way that Henry Ford did: spread three pieces of bread with peanut butter, then three with jelly, then fold them together, then add a piece of fruit and bottle of milk, and voila! I’m not sure Henry Ford did exactly that, but you get the idea.
Shop strategically. For some, grocery shopping is soothing. For others, it’s a hassle. Either way, nobody wants to go more often than they have to, so it helps to plan ahead. When you’re making your shopping list, ask your kids what they’d like to have for lunch this week, and make sure that you buy enough for a full week of lunches as well as out-of-school snacks so that you don’t find yourself short on supplies when you’re most in need.
Make it fun. Yes, packing lunches is often a must, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun. This can take many forms. Try getting your kids involved– let them have a say in what they eat, bring them shopping for it, and then show them what you do to prepare the box rather than just having it magically appear in their backpack. Surprise them with a silly or sweet note written on their napkin. Pack their food in a pencil box so that they’ll feel extra academic. Even amid the frenzied mornings of the school year, make sure that you’re sending your kiddo a lunch made with love.