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How to Pack a Lunch for School Your Child Will Actually Eat + Free Printable Checklist

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Are you tired of packing lunch boxes your kids won’t eat? Do they always complain about the food and ask for junk instead? Are you stressed out because it’s time to pack lunches again, but don’t know what to make them that will actually satisfy their hunger without breaking the bank? If this sounds familiar, then this blog post is for you. I’m sharing some ideas on how to pack a healthy lunch box your kids will actually eat!

Packing lunches doesn’t have to be a battle. With these tips, you can start making your kids’ lunch boxes together every night. And over time, they’ll gain more responsibility for what goes in them.

Summer is coming to an end and it’s time to get back into a school year routine. Part of the routine in many households is packing lunches for school.

Packed lunches are a great option for children with specific dietary needs or when the meals offered at school aren’t what your child prefers.

Packing healthy lunches for kids can be a challenge, but even more challenging if your child has dietary restrictions or food allergies.

Packing a lunch allows you to include healthy food your children will actually eat, and it doesn’t have to cost more than what you would be paying for school-provided lunches. I promise, it really is easy to pack a healthy lunch and include the foods your child will actually eat!

Packing a lunch is one of the most economical and healthiest ways for you to provide lunch for your kids.

How to Pack a Lunch for School

Packing a healthy lunch every day doesn’t do any good if your child ends up trading it for junk food. One way to make sure our kids eat what we pack for lunch is by packing items they find enjoyable sooo, in order to pack a lunch that your child will actually eat, you have to find food they enjoy.

The best way to start is to involve your kids in the process. If your kids are old enough, let them make their own lunch.

Not only will they pack something they’ll eat, being in charge of packing their own lunch box will teach them responsibility.

Get your child’s opinion about what they want in their lunch box by asking them. The week before your kids head back to school, make a list of healthy lunches you know they will like and pick up everything you need from the grocery store.

Getting kids involved in packing their own lunches will ensure that they have food they’ll eat. Older children can pack their own lunches (with your supervision, of course). But don’t forget to let your younger children help! Even a five year old can wash grapes and put it into a reusable container, or pick out snack that she will enjoy.

related: 6 Reasons to Let Your Child Pack Their Own Lunch

Make it a habit (as part of your evening routine) to pack lunches the night before with your children. Over time give them more and more responsibility for packing their own lunches.

With this one simple trick, your kids are more likely to enjoy the healthy lunch you sent to school with them. And, by packing their own lunches, you’re giving them the opportunity to learn important life skills and independence.

I’ve raised my kids eating healthy foods and they like them. And, like me, you may want to encourage your kids to pack and eat healthy foods for lunch – and every meal!

related: 125+ Healthy Lunch Box Ideas + Free Printable

However, insisting on all healthy, organic food options all the time may not be your best strategy. Instead, try to strike a balance and make a few compromises.

If your kids pack and eat a healthy wrap or salad for example, let them have some cookies for dessert. Make sure they make good choices, but don’t stress if they decide to pack Cheetos or Oreo cookies.

Your goal should be to get them to eat fairly healthy and make smart food choices most of the time. But, if you restrict all access to all sweet or salty treats, they may feel deprived and trade their lunch – or worse, just not eat.

4 Steps to Packing the Perfect Lunch Box

  1. Choose the main course.
  2. Choose two fruits and veggies.
  3. Choose one or two sides.
  4. Choose a drink.

#1 Main Course: Choose One

  • Sandwich
  • Tortilla Roll-Ups
  • Cheese and Crackers
  • Hard Boiled Egg
  • Pasta Salad
  • Soup and Crackers
  • Corn Dog Muffins
  • Pizza Muffins
  • Bagel Pizza
  • Quesedilla
  • Cottage Cheese and Peaches
  • Tortilla Wrap
  • Leftovers
  • Bagel and Cream Cheese
  • Pita Pocket Sandwich
  • Black Bean Salad
  • Macaroni and Cheese
  • Chili and Cornbread Muffin
  • Tice and Beans
  • Sushi 

#2 Fruits and Veggies: Choose Two

  • Carrot Sticks
  • Celery Sticks
  • Broccoli Florets
  • Chickpeas 
  • Snap Peas
  • Black Beans
  • Green Salad
  • Grapes
  • Apple Slices or Applesauce
  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries
  • Melon Chunks
  • Banana
  • Orange

#3 Side Dishes: Choose One or Two

  • Hummus
  • Ranch Dressing
  • Chips
  • Peanut Butter
  • Pretzels
  • Nuts
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Granola Bar
  • Cookie
  • Pudding
  • Chips and Salsa
  • Goldfish Crackers

#4 Drink: Choose One

  • milk
  • juice
  • water

Free Printable How to Pack a Lunch for School Checklist

How to Pack a Lunch Box Checklist @ AVirtuousWoman.org

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I hope this post has been helpful and given you some ideas on how to pack a lunch for school that your kids will actually eat. Be sure to share with the buttons below!

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