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Practical Life: Make Your Own Lunch Box Buffet


The school year is in full swing, any struggles with school lunch preparations?

Though my children often help to prepare meals, I don’t often encourage my eldest school-aged children to pack their own lunches & snacks. Of course this is at odds not only with the montessori-way of doing things but doesn’t lend itself to promoting independence or fostering healthy eating habits. It has been said countless times that a child who prepares her own lunch and snack not only feels empowered in her decision-making but also is more likely to eat what she prepares & packs. Knowing all of this, why am I still hesitant to allow my kids more opportunities to pack their own lunches?

Because it “feels” easier to just do it myself. And it feels like a lot of extra work to prepare the food for my kids to prepare their lunches themselves. But every time I do have my kids prepare their own lunches & snacks, I am surprised how enthusiastic the kids are to do the task. And they do a great job, putting into practice all the nutritional advice they’ve been hearing from me.

I’ve discovered if I set out a lunch prep buffet, not only is there less stress and work for me but the kids can prepare their lunches quickly and cleanly. And I can also a pack a lunch for myself and my youngest if we’re going to spend the next day out and about. If there are leftover foodstuffs then I’ll also pack something up for my husband too. Five lunches made.

I encourage you to give it a try. Bring out a protein like chicken breast or sliced turkey/ham, or tofu cubes. Add some rice, crackers, bread or other grains. Give several fruit and vegetable options. All you need then are the food containers. 

If you are concerned about what your kids will choose, remember you can control what is presented in the buffet. Have a conversation with your child about healthy eating habits and explain why you’ve provided these types of foods and how they combine together to give him the energy and strength for a full day at school. And remember a child’s nutritional needs are met over the course of several days, not just one meal. If your children haven’t yet participated in cooking or baking then preparing lunches is a wonderful first step to get them comfortable in the kitchen.

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How the Kids Contribute to Household Responsibilities School Snack & Lunch (Part II) School Snack & Lunch (Part I) Kids in the Kitchen: Whole Wheat Banana Muffins Two Ways