Do the math: for two parents and two children, we have to make 20 lunches a week … that’s 800 lunches for the school year (from September to June). It’s enormous! It’s normal to need a helping hand in curating these meals, whether it’s finding new ideas, managing your time or making sure everyone is happy.
Here are some tips to help you simplify your lunch management.
Make a list
Instead of rushing and putting what comes your way into the lunchbox a few minutes before leaving in the morning, plan your lunches when you make your grocery list. Think of the meals you want to eat, and cook them in bigger portions in order to have leftovers, or even freeze the extras for future meals. Use this moment to browse flyers and coupon websites to find the best weekly deals, and stock up on sale items.
Review how your cabinets are organized, and always arrange your dishes and lunchboxes in the same place in order to avoid searching everywhere when making the lunches. Take the time to wash your fruits and raw vegetables and cut them into individual ready-to-eat portions; This will save you a lot of time when making lunches. Same goes for pasta, rice, boiled eggs and vegetables: they can be cooked in advance, then simply put into dishes the day before or the morning of.
Don’t Forget Snacks
A balanced lunch should not only contain the main meal! Don’t forget to include some snacks for cravings during breaks or recess. Opt for protein and carbohydrate-rich snacks to make sure hunger doesn’t creep back too quickly.
Respect the Portions
It is essential to include fruits and vegetables (1 to 2 servings), cereal products (1 to 2 portions), dairy products or their substitutes (1 portion), and a meat or substitute (1 serving) in lunches. Each of these elements should be the most natural and the least transformed possible. Here’s a tip: take a look at the list of ingredients. If it contains words you do not recognize, don’t buy them!
Follow these 3 basic lunchbox principles
- It must contain a low-sugar and low-sodium drink (water is ideal, but could be replaced by a fruit juice or milk)
- It must include varied colours, flavours, smells and textures
- Your lunchbox must be cleaned daily to prevent bacteria buildup