Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Lunch Box Organization

Packing lunches for three kids ages 9, 3, and 2 every day can be a daunting task.
Thankfully, my kids aren't very picky. They are big eaters though and know what they like!
In addition to packing lunches for the kids, my husband and I (both teachers) take lunches to work. It seems we are always in a hurry, especially in the mornings. I need convenient, fast lunch options that will satisfy everyone. I have also run into the problem that my children try snacking on lunch box items when they were at home - things I had intended to be saved for weekday lunch box meals. Here is what I came up with to help separate (hide) lunch box foods from the kids and have quick lunch options that everyone will like.
I got a basket from WalMart for about $3.00 and wrote "Lunch" on the side with a Sharpie marker. The basket fits perfectly on the top shelf of our refrigerator (above the little one's line of vision) and tucked in on the top shelf the items inside are rather hidden.

 Inside I have a variety of lunch items that are quick and easy to grab to fill the lunch boxes...

V8 Fusion Juice boxes and Horizon Organic Chocolate milk boxes,
Yogurt cups for everyone - kids and mom and dad,
 I cut up raw veggies on the weekend and have them in little baggies so I can just quickly grab them throughout the week,
Meat and cheese for sandwiches along with string cheese,
I always have lots of fresh fruits on hand too for adding to the lunch boxes.
My kids LOVE fresh fruit and it is a healthy, easy item to add to their lunch.
In the cupboard right next to the refrigerator I have a pull-out shelf where I keep this plastic tub with the lunch and snack items that do not need to be refrigerated...

Applesauce and fruit cups,

Granola bars, fruit snacks, little packages of crackers, and pudding.

The kids each have a thermos similar to these from Target...

Thermos Foogo 10-oz. Leak-Proof Food Jar - BlueThermos Minnie Mouse Funtainer Food Jar 10oz - PurpleThermos Batman Funtainer Food Jar 10oz - Black

Sometimes I heat up leftover soup, spaghetti-os, mac and cheese, or leftover casserole in the mornings and put it in their thermos. It really is still warm by lunch. I was pleasantly surprised the first time I used them. Sometimes this is a nice change from the typical sandwich.

The kids' lunch bags are all personalized so they are easily identified during the chaos of school and day care. I also have these Orbit Name Labels...

I had them when the kids were babies for their bottles and now use them for cups, water bottles, and snack containers.  They are $12.95 for a package of 4. You can customize them - choosing the color and a tiny picture with your child's name. They are washable and dishwasher safe. Very convenient.

So for me, the things that help me stay organized are...

1. Personalized lunch boxes

2. Reusable personalized name labels for drinks and snack cups

3. A fridge basket of our lunch items (out of sight and reach of little ones)

4. A tub of prepackaged snacks (out of sight and reach too!)

5. Grocery shopping on weekends

6. Cutting up veggies and prebagging on weekends

7. A good quality thermos for each child


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  1. Great post Becky! Love your idea of keeping a bin in the fridge. I am definitely investing in thermos' next year too!

    1. Thanks, Ashlie! :) Yes, the thermos' were a great buy!

  2. I found your blog via Pinterest (the chili recipe) and I LOVE IT! I have those name labels too and I love them. Anywho, I'm following along now. I too am a working mom and need all the help I can get. Check out my blog if you get a chance.

    Sarah @ Our Family of Three