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100 Tips for Nannies and Families

The advice in this book comes from Candi Wingate, President of Care4hire.com.
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Preparing School Lunches for Your Kids

You make lunches for your kids to take to school, and you’re looking for some tips on improving your process.  Here are a few tried-and-true tips for preparing school lunches for your kids.

Prepare in advance as much as possible.  Each night, you can place a bag of chips, a baggie containing fresh fruits (i.e., grapes, bing cherries, or orange slices), a baggie containing fresh vegetables (baby carrots, sliced cucumbers, celery sticks, or sliced yellow bell peppers), a cup of yogurt, a Thermos of milk or juice, a baggie containing a napkin and any necessary disposable utensils, a straw, etc. in an insulated and water-tight lunch sack or lunchbox for each of your kids.  [Water-tight containers are important because beverages containers sometimes leak, cold items condense when they are placed in a warmer environment (i.e., a school desk or locker), etc.  Napkins and utensils should be in their own separate baggie to protect them from moisture inside the lunch sack or lunchbox.]  .   In the baggies containing napkins and utensils, you can place a note in each child’s lunch.  These can be humorous (i.e., an inside joke, a funny anecdote, etc.), messages of love (i.e., “This lunch was packed with love by your mom!”), words of encouragement (i.e., “Good luck on your math test today!  I know you’ll do great!”), etc.  These notes send specialized messages just for each recipient child, make the kids feel uniquely valued and loved, reinforce the parent-child bond, and bolster kids’ self-esteem and positivity.

Lunch items should be selected based not only on your kids’ tastes, but also on their durability under the conditions to which packed lunches are subjected (i.e., temperature variances, jostling, potential spilling and crushing, etc.).  For example, some fruits and vegetables are more fragile than others, so you are well advised to ensure that the produce that you choose is not extremely temperature sensitive.  The examples given above are suitable for packed lunches.

Lighter lunch items that are susceptible to crushing should be placed on top of the heavier items which are less susceptible to being crushed; thus, the bag of chips should be on top of the baggie of baby carrots.

These pre-prepared lunch sacks or lunchboxes can be stored in your refrigerator overnight.

Ensure that each lunch sack or lunchbox bears the name of the child who is its owner.

Prepare the remainder of the lunch each morning.  Sandwiches generally should not be prepared until the morning of the day in which they will be consumed.  Condiments and moisture can weaken the durability of the bread and render the sandwich difficult and messy to eat.  Soup can be cooked (or microwaved) and placed in a Thermos; this too needs to be done the morning of the day in which the soup will be consumed.

If your kids will be having both chilled and warmed foods for lunch, as is the case with a soup and fresh fruits and vegetables lunch, each of your kids should have two lunch sacks or lunchboxes, one lunch sack or lunchbox for chilled foods, and one lunch sack or lunchbox for warmed foods.

Keep chilled foods cool when they can’t be refrigerated.  An icepack wrapped in a fingertip or hand towel secured by a rubber band will work adequately.  The towel reduces the likelihood of freezing the food items.  Also functional is a bottle of frozen water wrapped well in paper toweling.

By following the tips above, you can optimally prepare school lunches for your kids.

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