Hello and welcome to The Old Summers Home. I’m a tad bit excited for back to school! Yes, I’m that type of parent, haha! But I’m never excited about Back To School LUNCHES!
In all honesty, summer actually has gone extremely fast. Our girls have been attending a Summer Rec Program, which has been absolutely extraordinary to help them with growth in social and play to learn. This program is FREE, offered from our SARCS program right here in little old Spiritwood! This is the first year the girls have gone and they are having a blast.
Because this is a full day, just like regular school days, I have been honing my lunch tactics over the summer! Now I’m sharing my favourite Back to School Lunches tips that are quick, easy and fun to do as a family!
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Back to School Lunch Prep
The most important thing that I have learned about making back to school lunches quick and easy is the lunch prep! Taking the time to prepare your weekly lunches and having a plan will make your entire week that much easier.
On Sundays, I like to get all my healthy snacks ready to go for the week.
A Fruit Platter is a Must for Back to School Lunches!
My girls absolutely love fruit, but sending them an apple to school means it doesn’t always get eaten. Instead, it often comes home bruised and battered, consequently making it much less appealing for anyone to eat. The girls will devour cut up fruit as you have never seen before, therefore our weekly fruit platter is a must for a great healthy snack!
Prepared fruit is more likely to be consumed than whole fruit.
It is like magic, once fruit and vegetables are sliced up for a platter they become more appealing and quickly consumed. Because they are also more convenient and accessible the odds of the prepared fruits and vegetable being eaten Skyrockets!
Simply gather up your favourite fruits ensuring you have enough for the entire week. I like to make a little extra because fruit also makes a perfect after school snack that won’t have your kids bouncing off the walls! Well, mine probably will anyway, but at least I do not make it any worse by adding in extra sugars they don’t need.
Wash that fruit well! There are enough germs that come with Back to School!
Make sure to wash your fruit well, they are covered in all sorts of unwanted germs and chemicals. Not a thought you want to think about, but how many times do you pick up your fruit to check its freshness… you are NOT the only one eek! I normally wash with medium temp water but my good friend Trina from Redneck Rhapsody has a great tip she has kindly allowed me to share with you.
Trina’s Fruit Wash
In a large bowl or one side of the sink I fill about 1/3 -1/2 full of water (depends on amount of fruit/veggies and size of them) add 1/3 – 1/2 cup of white vinegar or for best results 1/3 -1/2 cup of lemon juice and about 1 Tbls of salt. Mix well add produce. For thin skins 3 mins thick skins 8 mins. I try to roll them around a time or two. Place in rinse water for a minute or so.Trina from Redneck Rhapsody
Slice the fruit and store in a well-sealed container
I like to cut my slices a bit smaller, therefore I aim for 12 slices per fruit like apples, oranges, peaches etc. This gives smaller bite-sized pieces and because of the size, I can fit more variety in their lunchboxes. Once all the fruit is placed in a large sealable container I simply refrigerate until needed.
A Veggie Platter Makes Back to School Lunches Easy!
When it comes to my girls and veggies they absolutely love them! I’m very lucky that I can get away with sending them a lot of healthy snacks. They only groan once in a while so I will throw in a pudding occasionally to keep the peace haha.
For veggies, I do a variety usually consisting of
- cherry tomatoes
Wash them and chop them into sticks and slices. This is also great for throwing a quick last-minute Tossed Garden Salad together. Place in a sealable container and refrigerate until use.
While we are talking about veggies I want to share a quick tip with you that I wish I had learned years and years ago! I have been doing this with my celery for the past few years and it has saved me a lot of waste.
When you purchase your celery chop off the base and the very head of the celery. Wash it under cool water until it is clean. Don’t dry it, instead wrap the celery in some paper towel and enclose in aluminum foil. I like to use extra-wide aluminum foil because it is the perfect size for large stalks of celery. Your celery will last weeks longer than ever using this method as long as you ensure it is tightly wrapped each time.
Use Containers to keep Back to School Lunch Snacks Separate
We also like to have a few containers in our fridge and in our pantry that are dedicated to other snacks like granola bars, cheese sticks, yogurts, puddings etc. This helps the kids get involved with grabbing the snacks on the fly to help get their school lunches together.
This also eliminates the kids from devouring all the lunch snacks after school and on weekends!
Check out Some More Back to School Snack Ideas
My friend Ashley from The Irish Twins Momma and I seem to be on the same wavelength this week with our Back to School Lunches post ideas. Head on over to her site and get some great ideas for Easy Ideas that you can add to your back to school lunches this year!
Packing your Back to School Lunches
For years we have been using various containers for sandwiches and snacks. With three kids in school that can easily amount to 15 containers per day, in one school year that is over 4000 containers! What?!? Nuts right?
4000 containers per school year!!!
Well, I ended up bashing my thumb with a hammer one day and tore it to shreds, which made me unable (unwanting) to wash dishes, so Josh had to take over. (Not to say he doesn’t normally help with dishes- going to get myself in trouble here right quick 😉 ) He quickly saw that all my complaining about daily washing lunch dishes was well warranted and therefore he purchased this amazing set of containers from Amazon that we all absolutely love.
Every little bit helps in a busy mom’s life.
We can fit a full-size sandwich and two snacks in the individual snack compartments. Toss in a cheese stick or granola bar in with the sandwich and it is all in one neat little container. This cuts the daily school lunch containers down to 3 per day or approximately 800 per year! *This is based on an academic school year of 274 days.
Plan your main dish for Back to School Lunches
On Sunday I like to think ahead about the week and what we will send for the main portion of our school lunches. These are perfect days to cook up an extra-large meal like our Roast Beef Perfection that will provide leftovers for sandwiches etc.
Bonus Tip- Check out our Philly Cheesesteak Sandwich for a quick after school supper that you can make with your leftover Roast Beef or Steak! These also work great for throwing in as a school lunch the next day!
Making a large portion of food that can provide leftovers for wraps and sandwiches as well as a quick after school meal is definitely a must for the busy mom! there are so many ways to add this into your weekly meal planning.
The Farmhouse on Boone has 3 Ways to Make Chicken Salad from an Instant Pot Chicken! This is another great idea to get a few days of school lunches prepped on a Sunday for the week! Be sure to check out these great recipes!
This year I plan to utilize my Chalkboard Command Center to plan out weekly meals for the month. This way I can make sure items get added to our grocery list and not forgotten. Our Command Center gets used a lot during the school year to hold all our important notes and quickly jot down events. This Back To School year will much easier now that I have my center fully functional!
Establish a routine for packing back to school lunches
The most important thing now is to establish a routine for packing those back to school lunches. Whether you choose the night before, the morning of, or an entire week at once, you need a routine that you can follow and that is also flexible.
Packing the night before can make things a lot less complicated in the busy mornings trying to get your kids ready to go and yourself off to work or running daily errands.
I try to pack the night before depending on how busy our evenings become. Packing the night before means I get extra morning “me” time to blog, enjoy my coffee and catch up on social media. However, sometimes I’m just too tired to add another element to our evening chores.
A morning lunch routine can work well with the ready-made Fruit and Veggies platters assisting to speed things up. Because I have done my weekly prep, throwing it all together the morning of is easy peasy too! I often get the kids involved in this lunch gathering routine. They really enjoy it.
A week of meals ready to go… I’m nowhere near this! Hahaha, I have a general idea of what the week holds but I do not pack for the whole week. If you are this organized you are my hero and I am completely envious! Make sure you have enough lunch containers for everyone and consider freezable items for the end of the school lunch week.
Involve the kids in packing their lunches!
We like to get the kids involved in making their lunches. I assign each one a task. One gets juice boxes from the refrigerator ( we keep a case in the fridge so it’s cold), another gets cheese sticks or yogurt (container in the fridge) and the other one gets the granola bars or other snacks (container in the pantry).
Kids love to be involved and they are more likely to eat a meal or a lunch that they have helped put together!
Sometimes they help to get the sandwiches or whatever else we may be sending ready, containers, utensils etc.
Our youngest girls are twins and they both have very different personalities. One is a people pleaser and will jump quickly to instruction. The other loves to make Mommy happy but takes her time and becomes distracted easily. Because of this, little people-pleaser will often jump in and take over!
As you can imagine a full-on war erupts, sigh. If we are running late in the morning or they did not sleep well I don’t always involve them all. I pick my battles if you will. If one seems a bit down they may become Mommy’s helper, while the other one is distracted and off doing their morning routine.
Kids love one on one time! Even if it is just a quick 5 minutes with mom in the Kitchen!
Check out our FREE Morning Routine Printables!
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My Back To School Favourites
I have a few favourites I want to share with you that make Back to School easier and successful. These are the products and brands that we use and love.
Bento Lunch Containers– these containers have three sections, one large enough for a full sandwich, one medium and one small. These are perfect to cut down on the overwhelming amount of dishes that come with preparing back to school lunches!
Contigo Water Bottles– We love Contigo water bottles because of their amazing durability. I love that this set comes with 3 bottles and for a great price. I must remember to order these before we head back to school!
Roots Back Pack– A good quality backpack will last you for years to come. They might be a little more pricey but they are the best deal in the long run. I can’t tell you how many times a backpack has been destroyed. Well before we even made it halfway through the school year. Roots are the perfect example of tough durable products great for back to school!
Back to School Indulgement for Mommy!
Redneck Rhapsody came up with a great Fruity Vodka Drink for Back to School for Mommy’s. I thought this was so funny and so far from what I was sharing for back to school, I had just had to bring it here too. Now that you are fully prepared for back to school it’s time Mommy gets to indulge a little. This great drink recipe is perfect to unwind after a long school week. Mommy’s fruity vodka is sure to please!
Now go show them Back to School Lunches what you are made of!
You are well on your way into a successful school year of easy peasy lunches! We always love to hear tips and tricks that you use to make life simpler so drop them below! I hope you enjoyed our Back to School Lunches made quick, easy and fun for the whole family.
Until next time;
The Old Summers Home