Parents, you’ve got questions, we’ve got answers.

Or just as likely, we’ve got questions and you’ve got answers.

Challenge: Best Parent Hacks

Back To School Lunch Hacks

Vote up!
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Email this article


Millions of parents are anticipating their children’s return to school in a few weeks. Studies have found what most of them are NOT looking forward to is returning to the 5-day-a-week chore of packing lunches.

This year I didn’t even get a break. My boys spent time at Summer camp, which required that we packed lunches for it, as well.

Seeing as how my twins have eaten the same thing in their lunch for the last 5 years, I’m always looking for ways to jazz up the monotonous task. Here is a short list of hacks for school lunches, culminated from years of searching the ever present, and always fruitful, Internet.

lunch-1.jpg?fit=800%2C631 Lunch Art is always looked forward to!

lunches-3.jpg?fit=800%2C534 Make-your-own lunchables are healthier and less expensive than the brand names.
lunch-2.jpg?fit=800%2C537 Sandwich burn out? Try some wraps and rolls!

lunches-4.jpg?fit=662%2C496 A little note from Mom or Dad goes a long way!

lunch-pieces.jpg?fit=800%2C633 Lunches are awesome. Sandwiches, not so much.
lunches-6.jpg?fit=800%2C529 Leftovers aren’t just for at home.

  1. Have the little buggers pack their own lunch. It will give them a sense of independence. My boys are 10 years old, going on 16, so it’s something they constantly seek. Letting them help pack their own lunches allows them to feel some responsibility for what’s in their lunch box!
  2. And if they are going to pack it, how about them picking it out? Maybe make it an activity you can do with them the night before. Or if you’re really brave, let them assist in the grocery shopping. Again, independence and responsibility are the goals! They could even, (and this part is stretching for my two), make a list. I know…that’s why I said stretching. (No guarantees the first 4 things on the list aren’t dessert!)
  3. Putting together lunches the night before is actually an incredible idea. Packing lunches the evening prior will give you 15 minutes more in the morning to try and get twin number 2 out of bed, and dressed for school!
  4. What about leftovers? Put in a container a portion of the night’s meal, and toss it in the lunchbox in the morning. What kid doesn’t mind pizza 2 days in a row…even cold?
  5. You could use portioned storage containers and then call it your family’s lunchables. Not only will it will be healthier if you pack it but probably cheaper, too!
  6. Are your kids stuck on one type of food? My boys LOVE PB&J. (Actually, one likes the PB and the other likes the J. Twins, amiright?) Start by alternating between crunchy and creamy peanut butter and also different types of jams and jellies. Want to really shake things up? How about adding raisins, or dried fruit? You can also make it easier on yourself by making them ahead of time, and freezing them. Put them in the lunchbox in the morning, and they are defrosted by lunchtime!
  7. Soft tortillas are a great alternative to bread. They last longer, don’t get soggy as quickly, and can be used for wraps, or rolls (make a wrap, and cut into sections.) These also freeze well after making, so great for anyone who wants to make lunches the night before.
  8. Maybe there’s no way to get tem to try something other than sandwiches. That’s OK. Pull out those cookie cutter you haven’t used since Christmas, and send them to school with a star shaped lunch. (or whatever other cookie cutter you have on hand).
  9. How about making a lunch that’s not really lunch at all? 6 or 7 little “snacks” instead the the boring sandwich?
  10. There’s always the food art option! Maybe even get them involved in picking the theme and putting it together!
  11. Here’s an idea that is not just food related. How about packing a note or a word of encouragement in with the food? Things like “Smile, Mom and Dad love you” or “Are you having fun today?” or “It’s Tuesday, do you know where your Legos are?” Different sayings each today could encourage and surprise them, making lunchtime one of their favorite times of the day!

These little tips and hacks could go a long way to make lunch time not only more enjoyable for the kids, but could spark more interest in their food which might encourage them to actually eat it. And, these could help alleviate some of the stress of preparing the lunches for mom or dad.

I must admit that these ideas I’ve summarized and listed present some formidable ideas for us to take care of our dynamic duo.

Good luck and happy eating!

This article was originally published on

This post comes from the TODAY Parenting Team community, where all members are welcome to post and discuss parenting solutions. Learn more and join us! Because we're all in this together.