Kid-Friendly Lunch Assembly Area for Back-to-School

Lunch prep with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, fruits and vegetables in reusable packing containers

Created by: Sharon Garofalow, Cupcakes and Cutlery

As my kids get older, I’m looking for ways to help them take more responsibility. One area that they have been able to take over is packing their own lunches. Packing their lunches helps them learn about nutrition and takes one thing off my long mom to-do list (score!). Plus, when they pick what they are packing, they are more likely to eat it! That’s a win win.

We usually make our lunches right after dinner, which means I’m in the kitchen and can keep an eye on what is getting put in the lunch boxes. I clear off a spot on the counter that is easy to reach, and place all the items that they can’t get themselves on it. This includes things like the bread, which we keep on top of the fridge or the Sunbutter that is kept high in a cupboard. Wherever I can, though, I make sure that I have kid-friendly areas around our kitchen so they can easily get what they need.

We keep the juice boxes right outside the garage door on a low shelf so they can easily reach them. Our pantry has designated areas for granola bars and fruit cups and they can find crackers and other snack items on the shelves. They also know where the napkins and spoons are kept, should they need one based on what they packed, although they usually use the ones from their school cafeteria.

To incorporate fresh items in to their lunches, I try to prep fruits and vegetables on Sunday and have them ready to go in the refrigerator. I try to pick out what they like that are in season and they know to pack fresh items before those found in the pantry so they don’t go bad. The fruit cups are the back up to fresh fruit but it’s nice to know that we always have fruit on hand.

I like to use a Rubbermaid lunch box system, which helps guide them on what they should be packing. They know the largest compartment holds their sandwich and we’ve discussed portion sizes and nutrition guidelines with them so they understand there should be at least one fruit or veggie serving per lunch. These types of reusable packing containers are a really great way to help your kids succeed at packing their lunch.