Preparing lunch for your child can be extremely stressful. There are often a lot of rules to follow and certain foods to avoid, which can make preparing a healthy meal difficult. It doesn’t have to be hard! We’ve compiled a few tips and tricks to help ease the stress.

Spend Time Planning

Planning for the week can go a long way. We recommend creating a separate grocery list for lunches—that way you know exactly what you’re getting and why. Grocery shopping, especially when you have a family can be a little chaotic. This way, you’ll be prepared.

Save Time

Once you have your groceries, use your Sunday night to bake a protein-rich food to add to your child’s lunch. It also helps to use dinner time to prepare for lunch. Throw an extra piece of chicken on the grill and turn it into chicken salad, or make a little extra pasta salad. Use the time when you’re already in the kitchen.

Ask Your Kids

Involve them in the lunch planning and preparation process. It will be great for them to be included and grocery shopping can be a great educational tool—it teaches real life math. Plus, if your kids put the effort into choosing foods they like, there will be less waste at the end of the day.

Have the Right Tools

Be sure you have all of the containers and baggies necessary to pack for the week. If you need ice packs, prepare them in advance. Make sure your thermos is clean and ready to go. And of course, make sure you have a lunch box labeled with your child’s name!