The Make Ahead Lunch Plan for Kids | Take back your time!

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Get ready to have the make ahead lunch plan for kids totally rock your world. I know it did mine!

Do you have that feeling of where is all of my time? I remember feeling like my days were SO full but never feeling like I’ve actually accomplished anything. It was such a frustrating repeat of events. It was like Groundhog Day, just no Bill Murray.

Over the years Sam and I have tried LOTS of things to try and get our time back.

With Wellness being one of our core values (always continuing to build our mind, body and spirit), this left us with very little down time. We were either working, or cleaning or cooking or reading or building a business or talking about our dreams (or our budget) or packing lunches or shuttling kids or preparing for the next day or more cleaning and cooking.

I know you understand. It’s the plight of the modern parent. Especially you, the ambitious, curious modern parent.

So, with that curiosity on our side, we decided to try new things, anything really, to figure out a way to streamline and get our time back.

One other thing that seemed to coincide with our small amount of time is that our kids seemed to have an abundance of time. We have tried all kinds of chore routines to get them to have more responsibility, but it didn’t seem to take much off of our plate.

Well, just a few weeks ago we started something new which has TOTALLY revolutionized our afternoons and helped our kids to step into some responsibility.

We’ve started to a Make Ahead School Lunch Plan for the kids. It includes prepping and packing ALL of the kids’ lunches for the week on Sunday. This does take a bit of preparation as well as about 30 minutes on Sunday afternoon. Make that 50 minutes if the kids are helping (which they probably should be if we’re trying to move towards complete independence).

RELATED: Check out our video (on 2/16/18) on what our school lunch preparation Sunday actually looks like!

Making lunches for 4 kids every night was eating up probably about 20 to 30 minutes of our precious evening time. It was just too much. Especially because the time is always either while I’m ALSO trying to make dinner or it’s after dinner during clean up. Either way, it was a busy, frustrating time.

So, enter the make ahead lunch plan preparation Sunday.

We’ve made a lunch menu for the kids that includes lunches for Monday through Friday. Honestly, it doesn’t change much. We’ve had to tweak a few things and figure out how to label sandwiches and fruit containers (because one child won’t eat blueberries and another won’t eat blackberries, and another only wants ½ a sandwich). While these quirks of the kids are infuriating, I also realize I get a bit picky about what’s in my lunch as well. I have preferences, so why can’t they?

So, we’ve started to label their reusable containers so when they go into the fridge to find their next lunch to pack up, it’s easy to see which container has all their favorites and none of their yuckies.

Here’s how our Sunday works:

Make your menu for the week. 

or download the one I’ve made for you by filling out the form below.

Get all of your supplies ready and pack one thing at a time.

Example: If you’re having PB&J twice this coming week, have one of the kids make ALL the PB&Js for everyone. That way they’re learning how to be responsible for themselves but also how they can support others and let others support them.

Label each item as you go.

If they’re all the same than don’t worry about this. But, if one child will not eat blueberries no matter how much you explain that they’re delicious and nutritious, than mark the containers in a way that they will always know which is theirs.

Put everything in an easy to access space.

We have some items on low shelves in our pantry and some in our spare fridge in the garage. The kids know where to access everything and it’s all at their level so they don’t have to ask for help. The big kids know they need to help our littlest (she’s 3).

Clean up.

This is quite a process, especially if you’re trying to make whole food lunches. The clean up will likely take a few minutes.

There are SO many benefits to doing lunches this way.

  1. Our kids get to work together to build something big. They get to help and be helped. It’s really beautiful.
  2. Your evening time will be less stressful and overwhelming. You’ll likely still have to make dinner and clean up afterwards, but at least packing lunches isn’t thrown in the mix!
  3. You’ll spend less money by packing lunch for your kids every day and the lunches will be super nutritious!
  4. Oh, and don’t forget the responsibility your kids will be learning by taking this chore out of your hands. If they forget to pack something it’s their fault, and you better believe they won’t forget a second time!

Here’s a great site I’ve used to find some whole food lunch ideas in the past. She even has some recipes that she freezes for school lunches.


Also, don’t forget to follow my Whole Food Pinterest Board – I’m constantly finding and pinning great content there, so you don’t have to search! There are plenty of helpful school lunch menu ideas pinned on there right now!

And this is a great article for school lunches from ALDI ingredients. I know you know my love of ALDI already!

Well, that’s what we’ve found has been working for us the past month. It’s been awesome to have our kids take care of some of their own needs and give us some extra space for ourselves in the process.

If you decide to give it a try please let me know what works and how you’ve made my process even better! Leave us a comment so we can all benefit from your advice!

Oh, and don’t forget to download our current menu and grocery list to make getting started even easier!

Totally rooting for you, as always friend,

Make Ahead Lunch Menu Plan for Kids
Make Ahead Lunch Menu Plan for Kids

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