Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Pick and Pack Lunches

To anyone who reads this catartic event I call a blog, you'd think I'm on an organizationa hiatus. I'm not. I've just undertaken a new system. Not just a project. A system.

Bigger than the dish towels, and bigger than the office supplies. More colossal that the toy closet and farther reaching than the laundry.

It's working (after 2 weeks) .. so I'm ready to share. We call it Pick and Pack Lunches. Visualize my kids in the kitchen. Lined up. With their empty lunch bags in their hands (they clean them out at day's end now, too). They follow a series of labeled baskets to pack their own lunches . . . choosing one item from each of 6 containers . . . .

1. napkin
2. drink (mini water bottles are in here along with drink mixes, juice pouches and their favorite bevvies)
3. main . . they visit a container in the fridge where we spend about 30 minutes on Sunday pre-packaging portioned snack baggies of ham, turkey, a lunchable . . . strawberries, fruit, snap peas or whatever else might need refrigeration
4. salty . . . from the line of baskets in the pantry . . they choose a salty snack . . . veggie straws fall into this . . also, corn chips, sun chips, crackers to go with the ham in the fridge basket, a variety of leftovers and other processed food delights (this is my LEAST favorite containter . . but one they covet)
5. fruit . . . from another basket in the pantry . . . fruit leather, fruit roll ups, fruit by the foot, peaches, pears, pineapple . . . . (or choose a refrigerted version)
6. sweet . . . from the last pantry basket . . . a few leftover peppermint patties, chocolate bunny grahams, 100 calorie pack cookies . ..

I LOVE THIS . . . All of them pack their own lunches. It works fabulously . . . . they all have a healthy selection. I'm balancing getting rid of shit in the cabinet with limiting their choices for each basket . . . . it's fast, very efficient . . . and best of all, I'm not reading the lunch menu, figuring out who will eat what and trying to smear PB on bread at the same time we're scooting around in the kitchen at the ass-crack of dawn . . . simultaneoulsy doing breakfast, folders, snacks & morning drama.

Down side is that I'm using alot of snack baggies. But, I had those anyway . . . . I'm considering swapping to recyclable small tuppers when they are out . . but need to make sure everyone can open them . . .

Also on the up-and-down list . . . it required a whole pantry overhaul. In order to get all the baskets within their reach, I sacrificed the whole shelf at their level. But, I'm hoping in the end . . . it will keep on working.

So well is it working . . . I'm willing to share . . . please try. Perfect and tweak & tell me what's working for you to trim the fat off your morning routine . . . .

1 comment:

3Js said...

We look @ the menu the week ahead, see what is going to "good", then I plan lunches from there. I make sure we have plenty of grabbable snacks. Chips, pudding, some sort of fruit (fresh, dried), juice box or milk money, I just make sure their lunch boxes are clean (ewww, some yucky stuff can collect in there!) and their sandwich containers are clean. We do use glad containers for canned fruit and other things that may leak, but still sandwich baggies are a must.