Packing healthy lunches that your kids will not only eat, but enjoy is a lost art. Find out how to solve your biggest school lunch struggles and save the day!
I know what you’re thinking. You already make sure your kid is eating breakfast, and comes home to a home-cooked dinner. Why shouldn’t you just let the school handle their lunch?
Especially when you have no time, no energy, and sometimes no idea what your kid will actually eat that is good for them, too.
I wanted to share my own personal story of why I decided to start packing my kids’ school lunches, despite the fact that I have no time, no energy, and sometimes no idea what my kids actually will eat.
Before we launch into why I started packing healthy lunches, I wanted to talk a bit about time. I was talking with a family member who literally works 60 hours+ in a week, and when I asked if her son brings a home lunch to school, she scoffed, and said “I don’t have time for that”.
I was a little taken aback at first, and thought to myself “Well, gee. You find time for things that matter to you.” And then, I realized that I felt the same lack of time when I spent 15 years working in corporate.
If you’re a work outside the home mom, your schedule might look like this:
- Wake up at 6 am and get ready
- Get to work at 8
- Work until
- Rush home from work to pick up your kids from daycare or after school programs
- Slap together a decent dinner in one hour while preventing the kids from fighting
- Help the kids with homework, bath, bedtime, etc
And then, after kids’ bedtime, what do you do? Right? You chill out. You’re like, “This is me time. This my only time all day I’ve had to relax.”
Or, maybe you return to work after the kids’ bedtime, whether it’s logging onto a computer, checking emails, working with clients or finishing a project. This might also be the case if you are a work-at-home mom.
I polled hundreds of parents on Facebook and most folks agreed that this is their biggest struggle with packing a healthy lunch for their kids.
I understand what this feels like, because I was also building my speaking business while I was working full-time and mom-ing two girls.
Time may not be the only factor that prevents you from packing healthy lunches. Some parents told me “”Well, my kid forgets to grab the lunchbox on the way out, so even though I did put the time into it, my kid just didn’t pick it up.”
Still others were telling me, “Well, yeah. My kid would take what I packed for them, but then I find out they haven’t eaten anything in their lunch.”
Or, kids decide they want pizza at school instead, and just buy whatever is being served. So, why take the effort to do it?
That’s the reason why I created the Superhero Lunchboxes program, to solve the most common school lunch struggles.
By the way, while I religiously pack healthy lunches for my teen, my kindergartner was a little more picky about her food choices and preferred to have a hot lunch most days of the week, and I would just occasionally pack lunch for her, so this is not an all or nothing situation.
You don’t have to pack every single meal for your child. Even if you just occasionally pack a school lunch, you should know how to do it in a super easy, convenient way so that you don’t waste a lot of time.
Here are the 3 reasons I personally decided to pack a school lunch for my kids, despite lack of time, energy, or even ideas what to pack.
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The first reason I started packing lunch was to help my kids manage their energy.
Any parent who has experienced a grand mal tantrum understands that our kids may have poor control of their emotions when they are hangry. As a parent of a toddler, Goldfish may sometimes feel like an Epi-pen to prevent impending disaster.
Even if your kid does a good job of avoiding tantrums in school, they may still struggle with managing their overall energy. After all, there are a number of stressors at school and not all kids know how to handle the excitement or boredom that comes with it.
What I was noticing before I started packing healthy lunches how my kids over-reacted to just about everything at the end of the school day. They were tired, hangry, and desperate for something to munch on.
I want to speak specifically to parents of special needs kids for one moment. One of my girls is managing mental health concerns, and one thing that has been extremely helpful for her school success is to eat regularly. And she typically forgets to eat regularly.
If she cannot control her own energy during the day, then she’s going to come home ready to blow. Sometimes, I didn’t know what whirlwind of a situation I would find when I picked up my kids from school.
However, if I know that I have put together certain foods that are balanced and healthy for her, she will eat them.
That’s not my highest energy part of the day either, so managing my kids’ energy helped me manage mine as well.
It doesn’t matter if your child has special needs or not- managing energy is a skill that we can all benefit from.
If your children don’t eat regularly enough, how does their energy look and feel to you at the end of the school day? Are there a lot of fights between your kids? Do they just want to fall asleep on the couch as soon as they get home?
If that is the case, then it might be time to consider packing healthy lunches.
Especially as someone who quit my corporate job and is now working from home, our finances are in a different place than they were before.
I have noticed how much more cost effective it is to make your own food at home. Especially considering my family used to eat out at least 4 times every week.
Money actually shared a statistic in 2016 that sales at restaurants and bars surpassed those of groceries for the first time since such data has been tracked starting in 1992. Yes, I understand that schools provide more reasonable pricing than your typical restaurant or bar, yet $3 a day for a school lunch is nothing to sneeze at, either.
The only time school lunch may be cheaper than packing a home lunch is if you qualify for free or reduced lunch. In that case, it is entirely a personal and family decision to outsource your kid’s lunch.
Even if you have money to burn, wouldn’t you rather put a little additional time into lunch and save some extra money so that you can do other things together as a family that you all enjoy? Maybe there’s a vacation you have been wanting to take, or an extra special Christmas present you have planned. Heck, maybe you just want to eat at a nicer restaurant for your own lunch!
If your child has any sort of allergies, intolerances, or foods that they will not touch, regardless of what the reasoning behind that is, the school system is not very friendly to them. Even if your own child does not have allergies, often you are limited to any allergies inside the classroom.
Most schools follow the same government guidelines, and are required to offer whole grain foods, peanut-free foods, and reduced fat offerings. That doesn’t mean the food will meet your child’s needs.
This came up for me when my teen became vegetarian. Sadly, other than the salad bar or a cheese sandwich, there weren’t many foods that she enjoyed eating at school. I can only imagine the struggle that vegan kids would go through!
The school is doing the best they can on a limited budget and they’re producing mass quantities of food for hundreds of kids. I understand why it might not be able to cater to everyone’s needs. It’s not gourmet, nor particularly tasty, and may not take into account your child’s preferences.
If you could know that your children are managing their energy so that they can avoid sugar crashes in the afternoon, save some money, rest assured that there are foods compliant with your child’s specific dietary preferences, how would it improve your time with your children in the afternoon and evening hours?
The Superhero Lunchboxes program is an amazing and smart way to solve these challenges. Not only will your kids get healthy, but they will also get fun and tasty recipes that saves money for your family.
In addition to 50+ recipes to feed your kid’s body, you will also feed their minds! Your kid will be EAGER to open up their lunchbox to find a fun printed superhero note from you, so that they can have an amazing day.
We start September 4, with live videos to walk through the program. Click the button below to get started for only $49 today!