A Fun Way To Help Kids Enjoy Their School Lunches More

If your mornings consist of a mad dash to get out the door with all sets of teeth brushed and a confirmed final headcount of tots in tow, you're probably just relieved that each kid's hand is with its correct corresponding lunch box, and much less concerned with the actual contents of said lunch box at that moment. As long as something edible made it in, it's probably counted as a win! Or perhaps you forego packing lunch altogether and have a lunch money fund to budget.

If the aforementioned morning isn't your ideal scenario, there's a fun way to get things under control and more organized. You're also likely to save time while potentially fostering your kids' creativity and sense of independence (via Good Housekeeping). Sound too good to be true? It probably isn't.

And who knows? You may even have a shot at eliminating the inevitable after-school, "Why did you pack me XYZ?" and "So-and-so's parents give them [insert new, coolest snack on the market]" ... for now, at least.

Assembly line and outsource

Streamline your morning routine with a school lunch station. Setting up a system for kids to pick and pack their own lunch will not only save you time, but it offers a whole host of benefits to the child (via Mommypotamus).

Gift your kids with room for autonomy and the ability to take part in food selection, as well as learn how to feed themselves a well-rounded meal. Tap into creativity with interesting combinations of flavors and textures. Get adventurous together about trying new and unknown foods. Include them in shopping and inventory management. Kids are more likely to appreciate (and therefore eat!) something they were a part of making. It encourages responsibility and provides a sense of empowerment.

The ways to organize the station are limitless — from color-coding to numbering to shelf placement — you can categorize the components of a complete lunch for your kids to easily combine on their own. Perhaps protein is blue, veggies are green, and dessert is red; all snacks are ones and all sweets are twos; or, as simple as moving left-to-right across the shelf picking an item from an outlined section as you go.

Don't forget to be the final decision-maker and edit options to avoid any overwhelm. And make sure to keep it all eye- and hand-level (via tastefullyfrugal)!