06 September 2011

Pack lunches for schoolkids and at-home kids at the same time

Amazon: EasyLunchboxes 3-compartment Bento Lunch Box Containers (Set of 4) Sarah's common sense lunch preparation hack:

If your family has a mix of school-aged kids and toddlers (or other kids at home, say, home schoolers) this hack might save you some time and cleanup.

When packing my 5 year-old's school lunchbox I also "pack" a lunch for my two year-old.  I just make two sandwiches, cut up two apples, etc., and then stick one of the lunches in the refrigerator for later.  That way, when it's time for the toddler to eat, I simply unwrap the plate, and VOILA, there's lunch.  No taking out all the ingredients again, no dirtying extra cutting boards, and when we make an impromptu trip to the park, I just grab his premade lunch and stick it in a lunchbox.

*forehead smack* OF COURSE! So smart, Sarah!

This works for parents too...because, if you're like me, you get everyone's lunch ready but your own. Also good for prepping after-school snacks, and possibly even a little dinner prep.

Editorial aside: This hack originally had a typo which I almost left alone, because I want to start exclaiming VIOLA! each time I accomplish something. (Forgive me, Sarah, that was just too good to keep to myself.)

More: School lunch hacks

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Woah. Brilliant indeed!

Viola! I love it. Another little hack, keep the crust you trim off (unless you are strong and refuse to do so) and store them to make croutons later. Much less waste.

The other benefit being that the two-year old won't feel left out. My two year old requires (unless a nuclear meltdown is desired) a backpack for walking to the bus stop as well. Might as well make his lunch too, just like the big kids.

The biggest benefit of this practice (that I JUST started doing last week -- what a coincidence!) is that the 2-year-old and the four-year-old don't argue with me about what's for lunch anymore. It's already packed so it's a done deal. No more, "But I don't WANT that today!" Phew!

One of my great-grandmothers was named Viola. I've heard she was pretty clever.

Yeah good tip. I need to prepare all of my meals in the morning so I don't have to take time cooking throughout the day. That WOULD save me time.

Nice! Another great hack - I keep a plastic container in my fridge of a lemon juice and water mix. As I slice up an apple, or other fruits that brown, I drop them in and fish them out to pack in the lunch box. It keeps the fruits from getting brown, and it's easy to do because I always have the container of lemon juice ready in the fridge.

That's adorable.

So when your great-grandfather did something particularly smart, perhaps he exclaimed VIOLA!

HACK PROMOTION! I'll put that lemon juice tip up front...what a great idea, Rachel.

I like the hack, but what I like EVEN BETTER are the all-in-one re-uasable containers pictured with the hack. I just went and bought some. No more "accidental" (haha) switching of containers between brothers so one ends up with all the fruit, and the younger one not paying attention ends up with all the veggies (not that he minds, but it's the principle of balanced lunches I'm going for here). Thanks!

I just splurged on a new set of containers (a whopping $18), and lunch-making is SO MUCH EASIER. And there's something inherently satisfying about all the bottoms and tops matching up.

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