School Lunch Packing Tips for Busy Working Moms

Back to School

Mornings are stressful. Between waking up and rushing around to get myself ready for work, I also must make sure my girls are up and ready to go to school. Between making sure the girls are dressed, fed, and have their teeth brushed, I also have to be sure they have a healthy lunch packed for school.

As most working moms have learned, packing school lunches can be the one thing that sends out mornings into complete chaos. If you don’t have a plan, you will be scrambling to throw something into your child’s lunchbox and rushing to get out the door on time. And, the scrambling usually doesn’t lead to a very healthy lunch for your kid or a healthy start to your day.

Since mornings are not my favorite, I need to have time to wake up without feeling rushed. A chaotic morning is the worst! One way to avoid the morning chaos is to have some solid school lunch packing plans.


For other NYC working moms, here are some of the tips I have picked up that make mornings and lunches healthier for my girls and myself.

Make Time in Your Schedule

You are already busy, but I promise if you plan time to prepare and pack school lunches, your mornings will be so much better. Instead of rushing around throwing anything into your kid’s lunchbox, just schedule time to make it happen. For instance, some moms schedule an hour on Sunday evenings to prep school lunches for the week. If you don’t like that idea, then set the alarm for ten minutes earlier to schedule time for school lunch packing.

But, you should also have a plan for when we lose track of time. I make sure we have Little Bites on hand for mornings when things don’t go quite as planned. These packaged muffins really save the morning when we are rushing out the door.

Little Bites


Have Set Rules for What Goes In and What Stays Out                     

It won’t be nearly as hard to pack a school lunch if your family has a clear rule for what goes in a lunchbox and what does not. This makes both grocery shopping for school lunches and packing school lunches much easier. For example, many moms follow the “one of” rule – one of each of the following: protein, dairy, carb, fruit, and veggie. And, don’t forget to pack something to drink! In our house, I always make sure my girls leave for school with a bottle of water.


Let Your Kids Help

There is no reason you should have to do everything (especially when you are doing so much already!). School lunch packing is not difficult – it is simply time-consuming. Instead, let your kids help. If they know what things should go in their lunchbox, it will make this much easier! Also, it is a good idea to have school lunch items in places they can reach. For example, use the lower shelves of the refrigerator or the pantry for school lunch items only.

grocery shopping

Bonus – take your kids grocery shopping with you! Grocery shopping for school lunches is full of teachable moments. You can point out healthy foods they can buy for their lunches and teach math skills. Plus, they are more likely to be excited to help pack their lunches if they have chosen what will go inside their lunchboxes.

Stock Up on Storage Solutions

All moms have their own ways of packing their kids’ school lunches. No matter if you want to use Bento boxes or Ziploc bags, you want to be sure you always have enough storage solutions on hand.

Do Your Prep Work

Like scheduling time to pack lunches, your mornings will be much smoother if you have done some prep work ahead of time. If you have leftovers, go ahead and store them in the containers you use for school lunches. Also, cutting fruits and veggies ahead of time will help out tons in the rush of the morning.

Don’t Forget Before and After School

Finally, don’t forget to make sure your kids take their vitamins in the morning before they go to school. While we can’t make sure they eat what is in their lunchbox, we can make sure they take their Zarbees vitamin.


Additionally, it’s a good idea to have after school snacks ready. This doesn’t mean you have to bake cookies or anything – simply have an after-school basket full of snacks ready for them.