Sack Lunch 2.0: Prepping the Kitchen (and the Kids!) for the Coming School Year

The back to school prep is in full effect: the new clothes are bought, the pencils sharpened; the desks are spic and span. In the flurry, it can be easy to forget that there’s another area that deserves consideration: the kitchen. If you put a little time into organizing, planning meals and giving everyone a job, this semester will go so much easier for the whole family.

  1. Clear out the clutter! You know those plastic containers that always seem to collect and you can never find the top? Yeah, it’s time. Roll up your sleeves and make some hard decisions about space – you will not regret it.


  1. Go with reusables. We dump thousands of tons of garbage in the landfill each year from juice boxes alone. Consider BPA-free water bottles and reusable containers – they are much more versatile for whole foods!


  1. Toss the old stuff, and stock up on staples you know everyone will eat. There are probably some things that haven’t been stored properly, and some things you’ve been hanging onto that will simply never get eaten. Clean out the fridge, give it a good shine and think whole foods the kids will love to eat.


  1. Make a meal plan. One easy way to do it is to make a chart and give each day a meal. Let the kids choose within reason, but stick to it so that you take the decisions out of the morning routine.


  1. Create a lunch station. The next step is to make all that food immediately accessible to the kids so they can put it together themselves. Make one space in the fridge for them and one in the pantry or cabinet, and then set up a cutting board or counter space where the kids can assemble their lunches. This is a simple way to streamline the morning routine.


  1. Stock the freezer for easy dinners and make friends with your slow cooker. Before school starts, take half a weekend day and make some meals to freeze. It’s a marvelous feeling to get dinner on the table without actually having to think about it first. Similarly, you can quite literally throw some cut up veggies and a whole chicken in a slow cooker, turn it on in the morning and you have a beautiful stew waiting for you in the evening. One less thing to worry about.


Some easy kid-friendly meals they can make themselves:


Pasta & Salad

  • 1 cup bow-tie pasta salad with fresh veggies
  • 1 cup baby greens salad with 2 tablespoons low-fat dressing
  • 3/4 cup watermelon
  • 2 fig cookies


Turkey & Cheese Wraps

  • Sliced turkey and provolone cheese with a smear of hummus rolled into a wrap
  • Two spears of dill pickle
  • Cup of blueberries
  • Blanched broccoli and cauliflower


Black Bean & Corn Salad

  • Black beans, corn, chopped sweet pepper and Bragg’s Aminos
  • Carrot sticks
  • Tortilla chips
  • Chopped melon


One cool bonus about getting the kids in on the prep: they are much more likely to eat it if they made it themselves. True story, ask your pediatrician! This kitchen prep does take time and energy, but it can be a really fun way to anticipate heading back into the classroom. Make this school year a big success with a conscious effort and a little planning.  



About Susie Almaneih

Susie Almaneih spent several years during her young adulthood teaching children dance at her church group, as well as other cultural-based activities. Susie now spends as much time as she can giving back to the families in her community. Over the years, this love for community has evolved into a deeper love for delivering positive and creative content and awareness to families of all ages.

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