Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Lunch Box Checklist

My kids attend a charter school where hot lunch is not offered. So every morning I was having to pack lunches on top of all my other "morning rush responsibilities" and to say that I HATED it is an understatement!

So what's a lazy mom to do?
Why make a Lunch Packing station where they can pack their OWN darn lunches of course!
Only problem.... my kids are currently 5 and 7. I personally believe that at those ages they are perfectly capable of making a sandwich and assembling some snacks and drinks to go into their lunchboxes. A little "sandwich 101" was necessary for my 5 year old but after a little training, (and a TON of messes) she got the hang of it! However, gentle reminders are necessary as to keep them from filling their lunches with only goodies :) 
So I made a Reminder Chart that is color coded to some Lunch Choice cards. 
Then, if they are stumped as to what Fruit or Veggie they would like in their lunch that day, they can simply open the fridge and take a gander OR view the Choice Cards for a reminder. The choice cards a color coded to the Reminder Chart above. {Blue=Bread, Fruit=Red, etc. That way it's easy for them to remember to grab one of each color if they can't read yet.}

On super organized evenings (so maybe once a week if that) We review the Cards and pick out what they want for lunch the next day in advance. 

It seems so trivial but my kids LOVE the choice cards! They'd much rather look through those then simply open the fridge or cupboards to find something. And in all honesty, it sure keeps my fridge and cabinets A LOT more organized since they aren't constantly rummaging through them.

My camera is currently broken so I can't show you our station but I made a similar one in Photoshop for you to get an idea of how it looks when it's all put together:

I simply printed out the checklist, framed it, and hung it on the backsplash right where we pack our lunches every morning. I made sure to put all the necessary lunch items in one cupboard right above the counter for easy grabbing. (such as a bread basket, snack basket, and PB, honey, and other sandwich items)
Then I printed out the Choice Cards, laminated them, cut them out, and attached a ring in the corner so they hang nice and the kids can flip through them easily.

And if you REALLY want to go the extra mile, once a week "stock up" and switch out snacks, pre cut fruits and veggies and bag them for easy grabbing,  and put a basket in your fridge that is designated to Lunchbox items. This way you can pre-bag grapes, diced cucumbers, or other produce into ziplock baggies, and store items that should be refrigerated such as string cheese in one easy to grab place.

Kinda like this {Oh if only my fridge looked like this!}

Here are the Printables for you to print and enjoy!

*I may add more Choice Cards in the future. If you have suggestions let me know!

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