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4 Tricks to Getting Kids to Make School Lunches!

Who doesn’t love September! The air is cooler, the leaves are changing, it’s a great time to get back on track after a summer of lazy days and the kids are back in school!!!  Yay! Oh wait . . .the kids are back in school, that means school lunches.  Every. single. day.  Making school lunches gets old quick at my house.  I had to make lunches as a kid and I never liked doing it then and now as a mom to 3 school aged kids I find I like it even less.

Kids school lunch

Remembering who likes what, who won’t eat what (which I always mess up), who drinks what, and packing the same school lunchbox snacks, the same sandwiches (or no one wants sandwiches – then what?!!) and always rushing to get it done before we head out the door!  What is there to love about making school lunches?

I know there are Moms who treat school lunch making as an art form and actually love the challenge and the design of festive lunch boxes, and I totally admire their work, but it is not my thing. So I devised a plan early on in their school careers . . . My kids were going to make the lunches! Kindergarten they go a pass, but once they hit Grade 1 I started handing over age appropriate lunch duties, and now my kids in Gr 3,5, and 6, I am thrilled it’s September and I no longer have to make school lunches!!!

How did I do it?

4 Tricks to Getting Kids to Make School Lunches!

4 Tricks to Getting Kids to Make School Lunches!Pin
Chores chart ~Photo by Littlelixie on Foter.com / CC BY-NC

1.  Routine, Routine, Routine

I love routines. Teach the kids how to manage their school lunches and mornings by having the same routine each day – get dressed, brush hair, practice music, eat breakfast, brush teeth.  To avoid the constant reminding that quickly turns into nagging, I use reminder charts.  For young ones I made a picture chart so they knew what order to do things in, for older ones a ‘Checklist’ chart helps them remember.

4 Tricks to Getting Kids to Make School Lunches!Pin
4 Tricks to Getting Kids to Make School Lunches!

2. Start Young

Kindergarten I focused on their personal goals of getting dressed and making their own breakfast. This helps them learn to be independent.  As they get older, I add more ‘items’ making sure to not label them as chores or treat it as a punishment, but rather another step in their independence and being a bigger help to our family – positive spin!!

Some idea’s that worked for us:

  • Grade 1: empty top rack of the dishwasher and put out everyone’s gummy vitamins
  • Grade 2 & 3: fill water bottles, milk containers and empty the bottom rack of the dishwasher
  • Grade 4 & 5: Snacks into snack containers, yogurt into yogurt containers and picking out a healthy treat.
  • Grade 6: Cutting up fruit and making the sandwiches or even cooking a pizza for our own version of pizza day.
4 Tricks to Getting Kids to Make School Lunches!Pin
School lunch ~Photo by Bunches and Bits {Karina} on Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

3. Simple Containers

We use the same containers for each item in their school lunches and they take the same food groups each day. This helps to establish the routine but also making sure we mix up flavours and fruits to keep it interesting!  It becomes a bit of an assembly line but that also helps it become a familiar pattern.

4. They Decide

Let the kids make the list of acceptable fruit, favourite sandwiches and yogurt flavours they like best. Have them help with finding recipes for healthy snacks and doing some baking. You have a huge opportunity to teach the kids about nutrition and making healthy choices by having them be a part of the lunch making process. If you play your cards right, they may make your lunch too!

Share you tips on how to get your kids to make their school lunches! Comment below!

Raising Healthy Kids
Raising Healthy Kids
Deb Lowther is a writer, runner, mom of 3 and wife of a very driven entrepreneurial husband in the health and nutrition field. When not running after the kids, Deb is running in the trails, climbing mountains, training for a triathlon, doing hot yoga and enjoying her evening glass of wine. She ensures her own family has fun while eating healthy & staying active together. After selling their first company in 2015, the Lowthers' launched Element Nutrition with Stuart focusing on creating nutritional products for the baby boomer generation with Boomer Nutrition and kids with IronKids Nutrition. Deb inspires healthy families through numerous articles in print and online, encouraging others to enjoy a healthy diet, staying active and not being afraid to flex a little muscle.

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  1. Great tips, I think I should start to teach my little one to follow the routine, he is not at school yet, but it is got to learn that at early age.

  2. Great tips, and I agree that it is important to involve kids in making their own lunches. Doesn’t mean that they have to do it everyday but it helps to teach them about making healthy choices and responsibility.


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