Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Lunch Time!!

One of the most chaotic times in our house can be packing for lunch.  It can become a long stream of "Where is the this? " "I can't find that."  I have a few tricks I have developed over the years of making and packing lunches.  I can get my 2 school age children( grades 4 and 2) and myself out the door in 30 minutes. Yes, 30 minutes from wake up to out the door.  Yes, they eat breakfast :) Yes, they pack their own lunch.

It's all about organizing the chaos :)

First, we have stations.  This is one of the most important parts of our house.  Here is where I corral the morning and afternoon chaos. Most importantly, this is where they keep their lunch boxes.  No more of the   "I can't find my lunch box", which, yes, happened in this house.

Each chair is labeled.  They would fight over which chair belonged to whom.  I found these magnet letters at Target for $1.  Those $2 are worth a million, let me tell you :)
After school they are responsible for cleaning out their lunch box.  If there is anything they didn't have time to eat, they put it away to use at another time. (unless it is something that shouldn't be out all day, for example, cheese sticks)

A little planning goes a long way to making lunch time packing easier.  We usually grocery shop Saturday or Sunday and I let the kids pick a fruit and veggie that they want to take to school for snack. I buy 5 of what every they pick so they have enough for the week.  Anything that comes in big bags is portion out when I get home, for example, baby carrots.  If it has to be cut, I cut it up and portion it out too, for example, celery. I  have a bin in the fridge where I put it all.

Here is the bin when I am finished:

This week the options were baby carrots, plums, apricots, grape tomatoes, and cheese sticks.

Another bin I have in the fridge is the sandwich bin.

I am looking for mayo packets to add to this bin.  The mayo jar doesn't fit :(

Here I keep everything the kids, my husband and I will need to make a sandwich. Here is where I put the cold cuts, cheese, wraps, etc... It is great to just take out the bin and have everything at our finger tips. 

I also portion out "dry food" like gold fish, cookies, crackers, cheerios, etc...  and we purchase some pre-packaged snacks as well.

I keep these bins in a cabinet away from the pantry.  This keeps my hungry monsters from eating their school snacks at home :)

The ritz packs are mine, I LOVE them :)

We do have leftovers whenever possible.  So we have a station for that too :)

That is my lunch box on the right.  I don't have a chair :(

This basket has everything you need to pack your leftovers.  We have thermoses for hot food and containers for cold food.

Here is where I keep the color coded containers.  We each have a color and it is easy to tell who did not bring their container back.  I also keep the water bottles in here.  Keeping the bottles in one place is more for around the house use.  They were to high before and the kids couldn't reach them.

I hope this inspires you to organize your lunch time chaos.  I am going to go eat lunch now :)

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