The Working Moms Guide to Easy School Lunches
By: Michelle Rosaline
My kids are 3 and 5, and I run a tech company. A fun video conferencing platform designed for parents & kids, HelloOtter, from home. Mornings are chaotic, to say the least. While the kids are having breakfast (i.e. running around the house screaming without their pants on), I’m on lunch duty. Unfortunately, and believe me, I’ve tried, there is no way to really prepare lunch for the kids the day before and still have it taste good. (Please comment below if you’ve discovered how!)
I’m a big believer in fresh food. It’s something my mom instilled in me growing up. But I’m also a big believer in easy food. It took me a while but I’ve now mastered the art of preparing lunch for two kids in under five minutes.
Guide to Easy School Lunches -Lunch for two kids in under five minutes.
1. Lunch boxes that have compartments
If you don’t already have one of those lunch boxes that have compartments, get one. Anyone will do. We have and love this one. super easy to clean and holds the right amount of food. We also love this insulated lunch box because you can throw it into the laundry and it comes out perfectly clean.
Do not wrap anything in plastic or tin foil. This wastes precious time and is generally wasteful and unnecessary. In the lunchbox, there’s usually a larger compartment and a few smaller ones. Sandwiches are my go-to – they can be made the same morning and last a few hours until lunch: cream cheese, smoked salmon, turkey, veggie, sliced cheese, etc. Sometimes, I will re-heart rice/veggies or pasta and throw it in there. You know what your kid likes and eats best. If you want to be creative and artsy, props to you.
As for me, I cut sandwiches in half and my kids know they better eat it. As for the smaller compartments, depending on said children’s behavior, they’ll either get different varieties of cut-up veggies/fruit or fruit and some candy or cookies. I do like to put a little something in there, whether it’s a few pieces of Trader Joe’s candy, two cookies, or Annie’s fruit snacks. My dad used to hide a little piece of chocolate somewhere in my lunchbox when I was in elementary school and every afternoon I looked forward to finding it.
2. What you can do the night before is fill up water bottles.
We’ve gone through a million water bottles and found these to be the best – non-toxic, hold a large amount of water, easy to clean and so far, haven’t broken.
I think there’s a lot of pressure to make different varieties of food and have it look beautiful. Why? If you love to do that, that is wonderful! But you really don’t need to if you can’t or don’t have the time. All your kids need is fresh and healthy-ish food and a hug and kiss as they go off to school/camp, or wherever they’re going.
All I remember growing up as a kid is that I had lunch every day and that some kids didn’t. I don’t remember the kids who had lunch masterpieces. And I don’t think those kids remember either. You know what they say – fed is best.