Ideally, I’d make lunch the night before, but this doesn’t always happen. Usually I’m not one to buy convenience foods, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. I keep some on hand in case of emergency. I think “Bagelfuls” are great. My kids love them and the make life so much easier. Its like a sandwich already made. They also sell those frozen PB and J sandwiches (Smucker’s) but I haven’t tried those. Toss a bagelful in the brown bag or lunch box and you are half way there. Plus, they come in a variety of flavors. My kids like cinnamon.
Peel a couple of carrots and slice. Take half for your own lunch and put the other half in your kid’s lunch. Give your kids some ranch dressing to dip. You can also provide a sliced apple with peanut butter to dip. Kids love to dip!
Put some raisins in a zip-loc bag. You can throw a handful of nuts into the same bag. Instant trail mix with hardly any effort at all! You could toss in some Cheerios or other cereal in with it, if you like.
Yogurt. We are all familiar with the different types of yogurt out there in little cups. I stay away from the “gogurt” because of all the sugar and artificial whatever in it. My kids have been easting Stonyfield Farm yogurt and love it. You could certainly pack some yogurt from a larger container into a Tupperware and throw in your own fruit and pack a little granola on the side.
No bread? Cupboard bare? Well, I have been known to put a tupperware full of Spaghettios or mac n’ cheese into my son’s lunch. He actually likes to eat these things cold. You can purchase small, wide mouthed thermoses if it MUST be kept warm. Another plus: Spaghettios include a “Label for Education” on the can.
If you have some of these things on hand, it will take you less than 10 minutes to put lunch together in a pinch. I don’t mess with packing drinks. Usually my kid buys milk at school.
I avoid packing fruit snacks or fruit roll ups. They are CANDY.