Oh, it’s been bliss, hasn’t it? Not having the routine of having to pack lunchboxes every day for the last 4 plus weeks… Heaven. Alas, the time has come that we need to start preparing ourselves for it once again. Healthy lunchbox pressure season is here!
Many parents we’ve spoken to around Australia see packing lunchboxes as an inconvenience or a chore. It’s that thing they juggle for about 200 days of the year, and it’s usually done at stressful times of the morning or evening.
Without adding unnecessary stress to the job of packing lunchboxes, we need to understand the importance of lunchbox food. The food you pack for your child has a direct bearing on their behaviour, focus, concentration and their health. Lunchbox food makes up about 30-40% of what your children eat Monday to Friday, so it is important.
After having a break during school holidays, how can you get your lunchbox packing groove back? Here are 5 simple ways that you can start to make positive changes for your lunchboxes this year.
#1 Create A Routine
With only about a week or two to go until we start packing our 200 or more lunchboxes this year, it’s time to create that routine. I am not suggesting you pull the pin on the last glorious days of school holidays, just that you spend a little time getting your head around a schedule for getting things done, so your mornings go smoothly. Think about what time you:
- need to be out the door
- get dressed by
- have breakfast eaten by
- need everyone to be woken up
- need to pack lunchboxes – will you do it at night, in the morning? Will you do it, or will the kids?
#2 Retrain The Family
Ok, so now I am going to suggest you pull the pin on a few days of the remaining school holidays and retrain the family in your routine to make sure the mornings go smoothly!
One way to sell this to the kids is about how you want to make sure you don’t end up being a shouty mum in the morning this year. I know, I know, it’s not usually your fault mornings go to poop, but taking some responsibility for how it can sometimes end up goes a long way for getting them on board.
Choose 2-4 days of the remaining school holidays and put your routine into practice. Get the kids up, breakfast happening, day clothes on, lunchboxes packed and get out of the house at the time you need to for school. Go somewhere to make the effort for the kids participating in the practice run worthwhile. eg. the beach, a café, to the park, whatever you think would work for your family.
# 3 Think Recess and Lunch
It’s time to start thinking of food in terms of recess and lunch.
Sometimes during school holidays, in our excitement of having no routine, we also let our guard down on the sort of foods we eat. It’s ok because the kids are at home or you’re out, and you can always grab something else. That’s not the case when school returns.
Now is the perfect time to start shopping and preparing lunchbox foods we know will nourish their bodies and brains. Thinking in terms of what you’d pack for recess and lunch is a great place to start.
# 4 Eat At Bell Times
Have you noticed how much kids eat when they are at home on school holidays? It seems they are always hungry!
Over the holidays, they may have become accustomed to eating foods at random times and foods which perhaps aren’t the best for nourishing their bodies and brains.
It’s time to start retraining the kids to think about food in terms of recess and lunch.
Tell them from this week, we’re getting back into the practice of eating when you eat at school. Either pack them foods for recess time or lunchtime or say the kitchen is closed until recess time or lunch time.
You are unlikely to win the popularity award with this, but it’s important to stand firm. In doing so, you can ensure your kids settle back into the school routine eating times without feeling hungry in between.
You can make life easier for yourself and the kids by ensuring they have a breakfast that will keep their tummy full. The best way you can do this is simply to ensure they have a good quality protein source and good fats with their breakfast. Eggs are a nutritional powerhouse and a great way to start the day, as are nuts. Try incorporating these into their breakfast.
# 5 Change Your Headspace
I remember running a workshop to empower kids to understand why a healthy lunchbox is important and to teach them how to pack one. When I mentioned to them that their mum or dad will be packing about 200 lunchboxes this year, there was an audible groan from the parents in the crowd.
Changing the way your headspace around lunchboxes is crucial to keeping your sanity when it comes to packing lunchboxes this year.
For many, packing lunchboxes is painful – a necessary evil that needs to be done at the same time as everything else.
Instead start thinking about lunchboxes as:
- an expression of your love for your child;
- an opportunity to nourish their body and brain; and
- how what you’re packing is helping them concentrate, learn and be the best version of themselves they can be.
When you bring this kind of love and headspace to packing lunchboxes, the task of packing lunchboxes will be infinitely better. No more groaning, and you’ll find yourself on your way to a more joyful experience.
If you find lunchboxes a chore or are just looking for some inspiration, visit Belinda’s website The Root Cause for some inspiration and read her article outlining what should go into your kids’ lunchboxes as well.
Get your lunchbox game in order by shopping our range of Cheeki products now.
Share your inspiring lunchbox foods with us on Instagram by tagging #myTWC.