Little Lunch Preppers

Packing lunch every day can become a grind for parents, especially when half of it ends up in the trash because kids didn’t want to eat it. Empowering kids to help pack their own lunches can help take some of the pressure off parents and give kids more investment in their chosen lunch for the day. Here are a few tips for letting even the littlest ones in the family pack their lunch.

Lemony Lentil Salad with Feta

Lentil Salad

Two Guiding Stars iconTwo Guiding Stars indicate better nutritional value. Hearty salads like this keep well all week.

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Pre-pack veggies.

With your kids’ help, choose 2-3 easy-prep veggies for snacks, like baby carrots, sugar snap peas, and cherry tomatoes. Kids can wash and drain these veggies and divide them between snack containers for the week. Bonus: steel condiment cups with lids are the perfect vessel for sending along a little pre-portioned yogurt dip or hummus.

Keep fruit handy.

Designate a drawer or bin in your fridge for snack fruit. Take bagged fruits like clementines out of the bag and put them in the bin so kids can easily grab them. Fruits like melon or grapes that need further prep can be portioned out right when you come home from the grocery store and be stored in the bin. A basket on the counter can hold fruits like apples and bananas, which don’t need to be chilled.

Make mains manageable.

Some foods, like sandwiches and green salads, need to be made fresh. That’s why they’re terrible for packed lunches. Grain or pulse salads, however, are incredibly flexible and last all week. Kids can help choose a dressing and a fat or protein, as well as the mix of veggies to be added. Older kids can help chop veggies for the salad. Younger kids can help spoon the salad out into single-serving containers that are easy for them to add to a lunch box.