Today I am sharing one of my favorite sanity savers with you. It’s not complicated or ground-breaking, but it feels like a little gift I give myself every day. Well, actually it feels like two gifts, as you’ll soon see.
I pack four lunches every day. Three for my school-aged children, and one for my stay-at-home preschooler. In one week I pack 20 lunches. Over the course of a school year, I will pack 720 lunches. With numbers like that, I have to be smart and efficient. I can’t take 20 minutes every day to figure out what to pack, then make it, then package it, then clean up. I’m all about working smarter, not harder.
Here’s the first gift.
Every day when the kids get home from school, the first thing I do is pack their lunches for the next day. Sounds simple, but it’s life-changing.
They are busy getting a snack, putting back packs away, exhaling from their day. I line up their lunch boxes on the counter and get to work. By the time they finish a snack, I have four lunches ready and waiting in the fridge. Why is this a gift?
Three hours later when we are finishing up dinner, doing dishes, wrapping up homework, getting the kids bathed, brushing teeth, putting on pajamas, reading bedtime stories, remembering to sign papers, cleaning up rooms, making sure everything is in order for the next day, I think to myself, “Lunches. They need lunches.” And then I remember I did that hours ago!!! And it feels like a little gift to not have to go back in the kitchen, pull out supplies, make a mess, clean up a mess.
Now, for the second gift.
Our formula for lunch components is a beverage, a main thing (sandwich or salami with cheese and crackers), a fruit (grapes, oranges, strawberries, banana, apple), a vegetable (snap peas, carrots, sweet peppers, cucumber slices, cherry tomatoes), a crunchy thing (pretzels, chips, gold fish, pita chips), and a tiny sweet thing (a life saver, a roll of smarties, a package of fruit snacks). Every two weeks I go to Costco and buy all the supplies we need for lunches. Then I come home and take the time to portion out enough fruit, vegetables, and crunchy things for 10 days of school lunches. It takes about 45 minutes every two weeks.
Why is this a gift?
When I make lunches in the afternoons, those 45 minutes of work every two weeks makes it possible for me to pack four lunches in less than five minutes. That feels like a gift to me!
I literally grab something from each category, toss in a beverage, and then make a sandwich. With a tiny bit of forethought, lunches take no time to pack. They are fresh, homemade, cost-effective, and waiting for me in the morning when I am getting everyone out the door.
Little gifts every day!