There is nothing worse than running late on a school morning, then desperately trying to figure out something you can put in your kid’s lunch boxes. Naturally these mornings always seem to happen when you are low on lunch making supplies, so your kids end up with a lunch that consists of a broken pop tart, a string cheese, and a dented applesauce cup from the back of the cupboard. (Or is that just a my house?) Here are 5 ways to get organized for making school lunches this year.

If you find yourself flustered or end up buying school lunch because packing it seems like too much of a hassle, take a look at the tips below.

5 Ways to Get Organized for Making School Lunches this Year

5 Ways to Get Organized for Making School Lunches This Year

Keep reading to learn how to get organized to make school lunches this year that your kids will enjoy and you will feel great about serving.


1. Start With A List And Go Shopping

Start by sitting down with your kids and come up with a list of lunches they like. This could include sandwiches and wraps, or homemade lunchables.

Add a thermos to the mix and you can pack reheated leftovers, soup, or items like ramen noodles and macaroni and cheese. The key is to find lunch foods and snacks that your kids will eat that are also easy to pack.

Make sure you have appropriate containers. A 10 ounce thermos is a great size for a child’s lunch.

These Rubbermaid Lunchbox kits are great for including various sized items. Also consider using a Bento Box which is a great option for kids who like small servings of various items.

Then, head to the grocery store to pick up everything you need for the week. Don’t forget about theromous items such as canned soup or pasta, snacks and drinks. The list you created with your child will make this much easier.

Once you have several different lunch ideas your kids like and will actually eat, rotate through them and include these items as part of your weekly shopping trips.


2. Prep What You Can As Soon As You Get Home.

When you get home from the store, keep lunch foods out and do all you can to prepare things ahead of time. Instead of putting that bag of grapes away, wash and store them in snack size ziplock bags you can grab and toss in the lunch box. The same goes for things like carrots and even salads. Slice cheese as needed, and put crackers into individual bags, too.


3. Organize the refrigerator and Pantry.

These refrigerator organizers are great for keeping a separate supply of school lunch items. I like that they are clear so you can see when food needs to be restocked.

These fridge organizers are great for adding an extra drawer.

Organize the pantry as well. You can use pantry shelves or baskets to designate a separate space for school lunch items. Store along with water bottles and lunch boxes.

Consider making lunch items that can be frozen and used for the entire week. Did you know you can make a week’s worth of sandwiches and stick them in the freezer? PBJ works especially well for this. (Don’t put lettuce and tomato in the freezer, but lunch meat works.) A typical sandwich will be thawed and fresh by lunchtime.

You can also stick juice boxes and bags (like Capri Sun) in the freezer and they make an instant ice pack that is thawed but still cold by lunch.


4. Pack Lunches The Night Before.

Mornings are busy and not a good time to worry about packing lunches.  I know it’s challenging, but do all you can to make lunches the night before.

Try packing lunches after dinner at night as part of your regular dinner routine. Get the kids involved and have them help with lunch prep and clean-up after. Store cold items in the fridge and have everything else sitting in the lunch box ready to go. It won’t take you long to get into a rhythm of preparing lunches while you’re cleaning up after dinner. You’ll appreciate this new habit in the mornings when all you need to do is grab a couple of things from the fridge and toss them in the lunch boxes.


5. Get In The Habit Of Cleaning Lunch Boxes As Soon As The Kids Get Home.

To make lunch prep faster, get the kids into the habit of cleaning out their lunch box as soon as they get back from school. Even little kids can help with this. Have them toss any uneaten food and bring the containers to the sink to be washed. Sticky spots can be quickly cleaned with a Clorox wipe or wet cloth.

Older children can easily clean their own containers. Having everything clean and ready to go will make it easier to pack the new lunches later in the evening.


Stick to these tips and it won’t take you long to get into an efficient lunch packing routine. Don’t forget to get the kids involved and put them in charge of as much of the preparation as possible. Not only will this make your life easier in the long run, it will give them a sense of ownership.

How do you stay organized for packing school lunches for your kids?


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