Getting Organized for #BackToSchool–Lunch Making Drawer

The kids have purchased their school supplies, I have replenished their wardrobes and now it is back to the bittersweet part of back to school…School Lunches. Making three lunches really should not be a chore to a mother but in fact a chore for the kids. My children are definitely old enough to fill in their lunch boxes with snack, fruit and drink choices. It is about time I started getting organized in the kitchen.

As I was getting ready to write this post I remember having taken some pictures of the pantry and never got around to writing up the post. When I went back into IPhoto I found that the photos were taken in the Fall of 2009. Wow how time flies. 

Part of my children chores in the evening is to pack their lunches. I am happy to make the sandwich, Quesadilla  or hot noodles but feel the kids really need to pitch in and fill in the other basics.

lunchbox-ideas
 
I decided to designate one pull out in my pantry to just school lunch choices. They are not to come here for a snack after school or weekends. Simply the cost of the smaller snack size items are in my opinion for convenience not every day consumption.
 
 
Obviously in 2009 my kids were younger and I also filled little snack Tupperware with snack foods they could just grab. They have been instructed to pick a fresh fruit or vegetable, milk product, either milk box, yogurt or cheese stick and another drink either water or juice box.
 
 

Here is the updated 2012 version. Now, I also have another pull out that has snack size plastic bags they can use if the reusies are dirty. They can fill up with boxed or bagged snacks without moving a finger!!

 

 My middle schooler decided to make a menu of her meals, designating which days she could have a dessert. This menu is taped inside the pantry. I hope she can stay this organized.

 
After writing this post I decided to browse the web quickly for any other helpful hints. I found these tips  from Professional Organizer Lea from Organize Right Now LLC. I feel I am on track with her advice. Glad to hear as I sometimes don’t think I am that organized.
  • Rethink your cabinet space. Choose a cabinet to be designated for the lunch center. If you still have short people at your house, be sure to choose a low cabinet so everyone can reach.
  • Empty that cabinet of its current stuff. Sort through it and find new homes for those things.
  • Gather all of the lunch supplies: Plastic bags of snack and sandwich size, napkins, plastic flatware and all of the non-refrigerated food that you approve of for lunches – even the peanut butter and a loaf of bread. Organize the supplies and the food products in the cabinet.
  • Grab a plastic large food container, minus the lid, and open the refrigerator. Place the lunch meat (make sure it is in its own sealed container), cheese sticks, fruit and so on that may be used for lunches into this plastic container. Place it on a shelf next to the drinks purchased for school lunches.
  • Take time to instruct the family, pointing out that the lunch cabinet is off limits for after school snacking. There should be plenty of other things in the pantry for that use. Also point out the section of the fridge that is for packing lunches.
  • Packing lunches the evening before is a great way to relieve morning stress. During the after-dinner clean-up, have each child go to the lunch center and choose their side items. The next morning, all that needs to be added is the sandwich and drink. Sandwiches can be made ahead and refrigerated, if you wish.
  • Keep the cabinet stocked. Now that everything for lunches is in one spot, it is easy for you to pop open the door and eyeball what is needed from the store.”

This is not a bad idea for adults either. How often do you find yourself scrounging for something to grab for lunch and end up eating junk? We could probably be a lot healthier if we followed our own rules!! Now the trick will be to see how long it takes before this plan falls apart:)

 

9 Comments

  1. Great tips! My girls don’t pack all the time, but I know they’d like to pack more often and we may be able to manage it if we get organized!

  2. Thank you for taking the time to link up! I really love this idea!

  3. Great idea!

  4. I’m probably stealing this from you!! The organization is amazing. Thanks so much.

  5. This is a great post! My 2nd grader is big enough now that he likes to pick his own stuff =]

  6. Maybe if my kids make their own menus, they might eat something!

  7. I love that your daughter wrote down her menu! Future meal planner in the family! 🙂 We have a snack drawer, too – and it’s easy for The Boy to access himself. He enjoys the independence of getting his own snacks, and I love knowing that he can only reach the things I want him to eat! (Stay away from my Thin Mints kiddo!)

  8. AWESOME idea!! Perfect for those adults dieting too so they can get just the right portion!

  9. That menu your child made is so sweet! (we love those squeezable applesauce too) Great Organizational tips…I will ask my 4th grader if this would be a good idea for him because he likes to pack his lunch, but things are all in different places. GREAT POST!

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