Planning school lunches for your kids can be a pain.
I’m just now realizing this. Allison’s in Kindergarten- my only child- and wow, it’s hard to come up with lots of different ideas. Especially since she’s told me she doesn’t like eating the same thing every day for a week.
For the first week or two, I just bought everything I could think of and randomly put them together. Then I realized how much it cost me and knew there had to be a better way.
I started thinking about what I needed to make things easier, and that’s how I created this School Lunch Planner! After using it for awhile, I can tell you it’s a life-changer. I can easily see what I have in the house and how to mix-and-match foods so Allison doesn’t get bored.
Here’s how to use this free School Lunch Planner. Scroll to the bottom to download this PLUS a list of lunch box foods!
Take inventory of your kitchen
First, you want to see what kinds of foods you have at home before you start shopping. When I did this the first time, I realized I had more grains and treats than would fit in the boxes. I guess you can see what my girl likes best.
But that gives you an idea of what you need to buy more of. If you already have 5-6 types of grains, you can skip buying those and focus on protein and veggies. Plus you’ll save money by not buying things you don’t need that week.
Fill in the boxes and go shopping
Once you’ve seen what you have, fill in the rest with what you’d like to buy. As you can see, Allison’s pretty limited on the fruits and veggies she’ll eat (Pretty much nothing but strawberries), but I like to include at least a couple so she has something new to try every day.
Add those items to your grocery list and do your shopping for the week.
Mix-and-match foods for the week
Now that you have your foods, you can use the right side of the page to plan your kids’ lunches! Just take 1-2 items from each box and add them to each day. Some of your foods may overlap on a couple days, but that’s okay. Allison doesn’t mind because she feels like she’s getting something different every day.
I’ve been using a Yumbox lunch container this year and totally love it! Allison complained that she had trouble opening her other container so I got her this one. It has a small clip in front that she can just snap open and she’s said it’s so much easier.
The divided sections are perfect for the little snack-like items, and that’s exactly how Allison likes her lunch. The foods don’t touch so nothing gets soggy or covered in yogurt. The Yumbox is a little pricey at around $30.00, but I think it’s so worth it. I can see this lasting a few years.
Download the School Lunch Planner!
Are you ready to be more organized with your kids’ school lunches? Just click the image below to download your free School Lunch Planner! Underneath that is a list of school lunch ideas you can either print or Pin for later. I hope this helps you this school year!
Jaime is a Nutrition Coach and professional writer. She enjoys cooking easy meals, running, and learning more about food.
Jaime specializes in helping women with ADHD learn to meal plan and cook healthier meals without getting overwhelmed.