With school starting this week I'm going to focus on tips that I have used to make mornings a little easier in our house, starting with the lunch packing. Hot lunch at our Catholic school are around $2.50 per day. That means that if our kids ate hot lunch every day we'd be looking at $25 a week or almost $500 per school year. That is one reason we limit our kids to one hot lunch per week. (Other reasons include that when they wait in the hot lunch line it gives them even less time to eat - which is pretty short as is - and the fact that when I used to do lunch duty I saw a lot of hot lunches end up in the trash.
With one hot lunch per week that means 4 cold x 2 kids. So here is how we make it easier and more cost effective, and also do our little part for the environment at the same time.
1. I do not pack my kids lunches and haven't since they were very little.
2. We invested in nice BYO neoprene lunch boxes which take very little storage space and accommodate any size thermos or containers because they are flexible material. They also can be throw into the washing machine.
3. We also have bought many little Gladware containers, small 1/2 cup size, flat sandwich, bigger square for salads, etc.
4. We re-use sturdy little Gatorade bottles by washing them in the dishwasher.
5. Each Sunday we look at the lunch menu and school calendar and determine how many lunches they need. Then they work together to pre-package as much as their lunch as they can. 8 little baggies of baby carrots, 8 little baggies of pretzels or goldfish crackers, 8 little containers with fruit - either canned or fresh depending on season, 8 bottles filled with juice or water, etc. These all get lined up in one section of the fridge or in a basket on the counter.
6. Each evening they make their own sandwich and put them in their lunch box with all the other pre-packaged items a napkin and any necessary plastic silverware and store them in the fridge overnight.
Before school they just have to grab the lunch box out of the fridge and we are out the door.