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Teaching kids to pack their own lunches

It’s amazing how much time goes into packing lunches, right Mom? Get your kids to chip in a bit by teaching them to pack their own!

It’s not easy getting your kids out the door in the morning. You have a million things to do to get them — and you — out the door on time. Why not let them share in the responsibility? Use these tips to teach your kids to pack their own lunches, taking a little bit of weight off your shoulders each morning.

Girl with lunchbox

Teach the food groups

food pyramid

A well-balanced lunch is important, but he’ll never be able to accomplish it if he doesn’t know the difference between a protein and a starch. Spend some time teaching him the food groups, and make sure he has a solid understanding of what is what and how much he needs of each.

Work together

The first few times he packs his own lunch, don’t make him go it alone! Start off by working side by side, and slowly let him take over the process until you’re both comfortable that he knows what he’s doing.

Start at the store

This is a great time to let him explore his creative side in the kitchen. Don’t expect him to work with all your regularly stocked items. Take him along for grocery shopping trips, and let him pick out some new items for lunches. Give him a budget and use this time to also work on teaching about money and saving.


If you don’t think he can handle making up his whole lunch, at least let him be the one to put it all together. Once a week, put together containers and baggies full of chopped up fruit and veggies, cheese, crackers and other side items. Keep those items in a designated container or drawer in the refrigerator, so all he has to do is assemble the main course and grab a few extras. This makes it easier and faster for him to pack. Plus, you know he’s getting the food you want him to eat, and he has the final choice as to what he’ll eat that day.

lunch packing checklist

Quick Tip

Make sure to keep tabs on his lunchbox, even after he’s been packing it a while. Open it before he heads out the door to make sure he’s making good selections.

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