With the pending doom of Kindergarten looming, I have been nesting similarly to a 3rd trimester pregnant woman. I have made a capsule wardrobe, booked all of the necessary wellness appointments and haircuts, went on an organization frenzy, drove past her school many times to map out our morning walks, took her to visit the playground. I have been making a point to letting her do everything herself as much as I can–buttoning clothing, letting her order her own food at restaurants, letting her use public bathroom stalls alone. I have been using positive affirmations to boost up her confidence bank. And just like playing out every single bad scenario that could happen to her at school on repeat which is totally normal and I’m totally fine and not panicking at all.
My anxiousness usually yields in being over-prepared. This has happened every time I have a baby or every time we take a vacation. If there are things I cannot control I will do everything I can to control everything I possibly can. I am who I am. And who I am is someone that won’t send her 5-year-old to school in overalls in fear that her straps will fall into a pee-filled toilet. I am someone who pictures her daughter opening a bag of cookies at the lunch table and them flying everywhere and her crying from embarrassment. Hello, I am a freak, nice to meet you.
Since her Kindergarten is all day, she’ll be eating lunch at school. My mom made my lunch for most of my school life so I have a soft-spot for a packed lunch and the labor of love it represents so my plan right now is to make her lunch and let her choose one day a week to get hot lunch.
Now, here’s where the issue lies: My kid snacks–all day long. My kid also takes 100 years to finish her meals. My kid is also a messy eater. My kid is also a picky eater. And obviously, this is going to be a big adjustment for her. I cannot control any of those things, all I can control is how I set her up for success.
- These snack boxes are super durable, microwave safe and have perfect 1/2 cup portion compartments. They’re not leak proof for liquids but they’re great for all of the dry snacks and things like fruit and veggies. I plan on using them for sides on the days I send her to school with a thermos instead of her regular Bento box. They also have a lunch version that is big enough for a sandwich and 2 sides and are so much more durable than regular tupperware! (here).
- I grabbed a few different ice packs to throw in her lunch box (including these because my girls are princess obsessed) to keep things cold. My mom used to freeze our juice boxes which I plan on doing too on the days she brings juice but there are also a lot of people who make their own ice packs by freezing a wet sponge in a ziplock. People are way more creative than I am.
- To ease up on plastic waste, I grabbed some extra Replay utensils to send with her in her lunch as needed. They’re inexpensive if she happens to throw them away on accident and they’re made from recycled milk jugs which is a thumbs up for the environment.
- Charlie gets burnt out on foods pretty easily. I swear one week she loves something and the next she hates it so I got her a Thermos for some different lunch options. I love this one because it’s the perfect size for her and it’s easy to open.
- As much as I trust the Bentgo box, the thought of her lunch being ruined by ranch dressing made me buy these little dressing cups. Cheap and an ideal size for all the dips that make your kids tolerate vegetables.
- This bento box is a favorite. Easy to open for kids, perfectly portioned for little appetites and built like a tank (with a 2-year manufacturer warranty thank youuu). I wanted to do a box like this because it will eliminate the need for putting everything in ziplock baggies. There are a lot of great options for reusable food storage like beeswax wraps and recyclable paper bags but my kid is way more likely to throw those away and this was a one-time purchase. Do what works for you! If you’re scared of the price (totally understand) they are usually on sale on Zulily for half off!
- Charlie picked out a lunchbox at Target that is covered in sequins so I grabbed her a second one in hopes she’ll be covered for the year. I got one for Maisy too since I’m just going to make her lunch for her when I make Charlie’s and will save me time during the day. Also Maisy thinks she’s the coolest ever because she has a lunchbox just like Charlie. I am who I am. This one is fun and also big enough to hold all of the things.
- Silicone food cups for divvying up the Bento box compartments if needed. Also fun for making individual jello cups. These were so cheap at Target and are easy to clean.
- Snack stacks for the inevitable after-school hanger. Easy to throw in your bag to hand out at pickup or bring for after-school activities. I love these for all ages and they are sturdy as all heck. They have been thrown around my house for years without breaking. Yes, thrown. Have you met my children?
Now, I am just going to say that there is no right way to feed your kid. Just like the breastfeeding vs. formula shaming, fed isn’t best–it’s essential. Don’t let me or anyone pressure you into thinking that however you are getting lunch into your kids is wrong. If you make them lunch or buy it–if you send them with organic veggies cut into stars or send them with Little Debbie’s–none of it matters but the fact that your child is fed. All we can do is our best, not anyone else’s best.
If you’re like me and are overwhelmed by this whole school transition, I hope this helps break things down a little to see what will work for your littles. I will try and post some lunch inspiration over the next few weeks once we get into the swing of things.