Back to School: FREE Lunchbox Planning template

January 19, 2014

Before you put in a huge effort for the year ahead making well over 200 lunches this year, sit down with the kids to get clear on what their lunchtime looks like and help them to think through what they’d like to eat and how they can get involved in making and preparing it.  That’s when you can use our FREE lunch box planning template (see below).

Little ChefsInvolving kids in making the food and packing their lunchbox has been shown to actually make kids more likely to EAT what’s IN the lunch box!

Below you’ll find some questions – and yes while they might sound like an interrogation, asking these on the weekend or during each school holidays will help you understand what they need and want from the food they eat at school.  Once you have a good idea of what the kids would like to eat, work out what snacks and lunch items you can make ahead together after school one day a week or over the weekend?

Working through these questions while you’re on holidays and RELAXED is much easier on everyone!! 

  • how much food do you feel like eating during the day at school
  • how much time do you have to eat lunch (and morning tea/ recess)
  • how easy is it for you to open the containers/ packets I put in?
  • are you starved by morning tea, or is it at big lunch?
  • how does the food look and taste by the time you eat it (hot, limp etc)
  • do you prefer to eat your lunch with only one hand?
  • what foods would you love to eat? (remember you set the boundaries here – but you want to know!)
  • do you hate or like eating sandwiches, or is it only certain types because they are dry or soggy or don’t like crusts???
  • do you like eating finger foods or would you like things like salads (e.g. pasta, rice/ quinoa, or roast vege/ potato salads?)
  • what are you happy to eat cold? (e.g. ask if they’d eat some of your common leftover meals/ meats COLD, for example you may be surprised but they may LOVE eating: fried rice, pizza, shish kebabs, rissoles with tomato sauce, sausages (if you do get sausages only buy the highest quality you can afford –  100% preservative free meat, organic).

Your aim is to work out a nice balance for lunch options.  Putting in some home baking or select the best ‘packets’ you can (the best strategy is to learn to read the labels – see link).  Don’t forget our back to school food additive sessions are coming up in March – sign up to get the dates!)

Kids tastes change often and don’t just assume because they said no last week that is no forever.  The amazing Jo Frost (The Super Nanny) says you need to offer foods around 7-12 times before they really mean no!  Keep testing and checking the ideas below to see what they are happy to eat and how they need it to be ‘sized’ to increase the chance of it being consumed! The aim is to come up with a list of foods, snacks and lunch box inspiration to keep on the fridge that the whole family can make as well.

One of the concerns I hear from parents is they worry about putting in healthy items or leftovers is there is no where to heat them up or they won’t be cold enough.  My response is always the same – ask your kids – they may prefer to eat pizza cold!  A simple freezer brick or frozen drink will keep it cold enough if you have an insulated lunch bag.  Lunch to Go bags for example claim to keep lunches cold for up to 8 hours – yes they are more expensive but they are worth it if lunches will get eaten.

MPYW - Lunch Planning TemplateTo help you capture these ideas we’ve got a free “What’s going in my lunchbox this week” planning template that is designed for you to create WITH the kids!  Draw pictures if they are still learning to read.

Click to grab your MPYW – Lunch Planning Template

Now, I would love to hear from you! In the comments below, tell me what are your tips for getting the kids involved with planning their lunch?

If you’ve found this article of interest, please share it with your friends!  I really do appreciate you taking the time to read and share ;)

Louise xx


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