Back To School 2017

This year the older boy started 3rd Class, and the baby of the family has moved into Senior Infants – or as we call them in our house, Rang 3 agus Naoínán Mhóra. The two boys go to a Gaelscoil. Now that the eldest lemon will start College shortly (fingers crossed) I can safely say that I’ve literally made hundreds of school lunches over the years and I’ve hundreds more to make.

If you’ve got a child starting school this year here are my top, tried and tested, tips for packing a lunchbox:

  1. Make sure your child can open and close the lunchbox and drinks bottles by themselves. This sounds like an obvious tip but you’d be surprised how important this is.
  2. Teach your child how to open things like juiceboxes, yoghurt tubes, bananas, and plastic packaging. This is just important for the teacher as for a small child who wants to be independent. Just think about it, if a teacher has a class of kids that can’t access their own food without help, they’ll end up spending the entire lunch break helping children to eat their food.
  3. Test out new foods and snacks at home at least 5 times before they go into the lunchbox. You need to make sure your child will eat them. It’s frustrating to get handed a lunchbox full of food at the end of the day.
  4. Food is fuel. Make sure you pack enough food to last your child through the day.
  5. If your child won’t eat a particular item, stop putting it into the lunchbox, there’s no point in wasting food. Give them a healthy food that they will eat. Hungry children won’t learn as well and they will end up cranky in school and afterwards.
  6. If your school has a nut ban, you can get around this by packing other protein-filled snacks such as dried chickpeas.

With all of that in mind, here’s my 2 cheeky monkeys talking about what they like in their lunchboxes, plus there’s some insight from my 5-year-old about what Junior Infants is like.

How to Save Money On School Lunches

  • Buy in bulk. A large packet of crackers is cheaper than individually wrapped snackpacks. Per portion a loaf of bread is cheaper than a pack of rolls.
  • Use your freezer to make a loaf of bread last longer; only take out what you need the night before.
  • Give your child water to drink, not only is it cheaper, but it’s also best for their teeth.
  • Only pack the lunchbox with what you know your child is going to eat. Uneaten food is a waste of money.
  • Invest in a decent dishwasher-proof lunchbox and make sure to mark them well with a permanent marker, not forgetting the lids.

How To Save Time Making School Lunches

  1. Get your kids to make their lunch themselves. If they make it themselves then they’re more likely to eat it. This is the most important tip of all!!!
  2. Sandwiches can be frozen (seriously), so if you’re short on time during the week, make them in bulk on Sundays then defrost in the fridge the night before.
  3. Love your leftovers and put them in the lunchbox. Not every kid needs a sandwich or roll in their lunchbox. There’s nothing wrong with pasta from the night before.
  4. Write up the lunchbox menu so that your kids can see what’s going into their lunch the following day. They might be inclined to help out.

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