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Today I want to tell you how to pack lunches fast –  in less than a minute.  I’ve written about how we pack lunches one time for the week and this just takes that a step further.  Today I’ve partnered with Smuckers to bring you my favorite tips. 🙂

A brown bag lunch with a stack of books beside it and a child writing on a chalk board in the background with text on  it.
Ok… start in the pantry.  When I would ask the kids what they wanted for lunch, it was this big ordeal. “I want pretzels.  I want goldfish.  I want a banana.  I want peppers.  I want… ”   well, you get it.

So, I decided that in order to make it easier, I was going to organize the pantry and give them options.  I wanted them to have SOME options, but not too many.  (Our 6-year-old,  Ethan, takes a long time making decisions, so I needed it to be quick for him).

I had recently re-decorated our playroom, so I had one of those extra storage cubbies.  I had debated selling it when I had the idea to use it in our pantry.  I would give the kids choices in there.   I brought it down and it fit perfectly below our bottom pantry shelf:

I swap out the fresh fruit every day or so when we run out (getting pretty close in this picture!) or the can pick fresh veggies that are cut up & ready in the refrigerator.

Then I give them a choice of muffins or a baked good like that.  Right now I have these clean peanut butter protein muffins ready for them to eat.   I give them pretzels, fruit cups (with the fruit in fruit juice, not syrup) and fruit pouches.   I put water there, too, so they won’t forget to grab one.

Next, they just grab their sandwich from the refrigerator.   Lately, that has been Uncrustables® Sandwiches, which couldn’t be easier.

Seriously.   The kids love them and so do I because now I don’t pack lunches at all! lol. I like that they are eating them and staying full throughout the day, too.  I usually pick the PB&J (strawberry) but there are a lot of different varieties. (Example: whole wheat and reduced-sugar options, PB&J’s, PB & Honey)

Oh… and yes, they even make Hazelnut filled Uncrustables® Sandwiches that my kids (AND HUSBAND!!) might or might not eat as a little snack. 😉  

All in all, it is a hit.   So, the kids grab one out of the freezer and stick it into their lunchboxes.   I add the napkin (because I like to write a little note on it)  and that’s it.  It goes into the refrigerator for the following day.

So they grab anything that they want out of the organizer, grab their sandwich, grab any veggies that they want from the fridge & then put it in to their lunchbox.  It is so fast!


In the morning, I DO NOT get their lunch boxes out.  I do a lot to get them ready in the morning, but I leave the lunch boxes up to the kids.  It is one thing that I want them to be responsible for and it is an EASY way to teach responsibility.   (If they forget it, they have to buy a school lunch that day, which does not make them happy).


All in all, my 3 tips:

1- Offer healthy choices (not too many or it is overwhelming & not fast) and throw a special surprise in now & then (like a cookie)

2- Use UnCrustables to make lunch packing fast & fun (I say FUN, because for some reason our kids’ things that PB&J made my Smuckers is just way more fun than made by me. lol!  Whatever works, right?!)

3- Let the kids pack them.

Oh!  When they get home from school, they unpack them and I clean them out (they take out any containers, trash, etc… and then I clean out the lunchboxes and the kids re-pack them & put them back into the refrigerator.)


FREE printable lunch box notes

prepare your child's lunch once for the week


Hi there!

I’m Becky, a former elementary school teacher turned certified child development therapist and blogger. I work at home with my husband and together we are raising (and partially homeschooling) our four children in the Carolinas. I love diet coke, ice cream, and spending time with my family.

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