Inside: Need to send in a snack and lunch for Kindergarten this school year? I’ll show you how to pack both and keep everything cold and separated!
Starting Kindergarten feels like a huge milestone, mostly because it is!
Your former preschooler may have been home with you more and now you’re sending them off for a full day of school (and full of worry about what it will be like).
I’ve sent two kids off to Kindergarten (in the US, this is typically at age 5 or 6), and my 3rd will be ready in a few years.
And if I’ve learned anything it’s this: It will be great.
You’ve done the hard work.
The early toddler wakeups, the playdates, activity planning, endless snacks, and now you’ve arrived.
You’re in your Kindergarten Mom Era and you are ready!!
But first, if we haven’t “met” on IG, Hi! I’m Marla.
I’m a SAHM to 3 little girls + a Cavalier King Charles. I teach a course called the Ultimate Stay at Home Mom Course that will help you get your stay at home mom life on track!
Inside the course you’ll learn exactly how to establish systems and routines so that your home operates with ease. We even chat about packing lunches, storing your supplies, and systems for making that daily task simple!
Can’t wait to see you inside the course!
I vividly remember the night we came home from Open House for the first time.
I sifted through the info from the teacher, trying to absorb all of this new information, while also realizing that packing lunches and snacks was about to become a full-time job.
That night I knew I would need to come up with a system for making this new task easier and more manageable.
Mom to Mom Tip:
- At Open House, you’ll most likely receive an information packet from your child’s teacher explaining their snack and lunch policies and procedures.
- Most schools will have a policy on sending in peanuts or other common allergens.
- Some teachers will have a snack calendar and each parent will have a designated day to send in snacks for the whole class.
- Other teachers will require each student to bring in their own afternoon snack. If that’s the case for you, I’ll show you how to pack both a snack and a lunch, plus ideas for both!
How do you pack a snack and lunch for kids?
The main thing to consider here is that the snack and lunch need to be packed in separate containers.
You don’t want your 5 year old opening up and eating their lunch at snack time, or taking their lunchbox out of the insulated lunch bag just so they can eat their snack.
- Ideally, their lunch is in a Bento or other type of container, and their snack is in a separate container, or individually packaged.
- You’ll want to pack both containers (snack and lunch) inside an insulated zippered lunch bag with a flat ice pack to keep everything cold.
- I’ll also share some easy room temperature snack ideas if you’re unable to keep both their lunch and snack cold. Especially if snacktime isn’t until the afternoon, you may find the ice pack doesn’t keep everything cold for that long.
How do you pack a lunch for Kindergarten?
My preference is to send lunch in a reusable Bento box. I’ve tested several different brands over the years – with reviews plus pros and cons shared here: Favorite Lunchbox Gear for Kids
There are so many benefits to using a Bento-style lunchbox:
- Less disposable packaging
- Keeps everything together
- Pack by component / category
Below I’ll show you how I pack a lunch by component or category.
I find that this really helps reduce lunch-packing decision-fatigue. Rather than feeling like you constantly have to invent new healthy lunchbox ideas every day, it’s much easier to pack their lunchbox based on components.
- Review the info on lunches & snacks from your child’s teacher
- Pack their snack and lunch in a separate container
- Use a Bento Box to make packing lunches easier
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How to Pack a Snack and Lunch for Kindergarten
Now let’s take a look at how you can pack a snack and a lunch for your Kindergartener, plus simple ideas for what to pack using my category/components method.
- As we discussed before, you want them to be able to keep their lunch cold during snacktime. This is why it’s essential that their snack is packed in a separate container, bag, or small Bento box (as pictured above).
- Another idea is to send a pre-packaged snack (that doesn’t require refrigeration) and to pack it in a side pocket of their backpack or lunchbox, that way they don’t have to open their lunch bag at all.
Healthy Snack Ideas to Send in to School
Dried Strawberries + Cheddar Crackers
Get the snack box pictured above on Amazon
MadeGood Cookies + That’s It Bar
the pre-packaged snacks above can be packed in the zipper pouch of a lunchbox or in the side pocket of their backpack
Cheese Stick + Zbar
Raisins + Babybel cheese
Healthy Kindergarten Lunch Ideas
Instead of feeling like you need to go down a rabbit hole of lunch ideas or come up with new lunch ideas all the time, it’s much easier to stick to a rotation of 5-10 *favorite* ideas.
These are some of my kids’ all-time favorite lunch ideas that I rotate weekly:
- Peanut Butter & Jelly
- Cheese + Crackers + Deli Turkey (aka a lunchable)
- Make Your Own Pizza (Naan bread rounds + sauce + shredded cheese)
- Refried Bean & Cheese Taquitos (they actually will eat these cold)
- Pasta or Mac n Cheese (packed in a thermos)
For the other compartments of the Bento Box, I stick to basic sides I know they like:
- Pretzels or cheese crackers
- Soft cookies or a bar (like a Larabar or Zbar)
- Hummus or ranch for dipping
- Fresh fruit, cucumber or carrot sticks
These are all basic ideas. I’m not trying to reinvent the wheel when it comes to packing lunches.
For me, it’s all about creating a system and sticking to it.
- Consider your Kindergartener’s favorite foods, plus things that are easy to eat (as they usually don’t have a ton of time for lunch). Write down a list of favorites and stick it on the fridge.
- My Ultimate Guide to Toddler Lunchboxes also includes a Bento Box cheat sheet that makes packing lunches so much less work!
- Find all of my lunchbox and snack box favorites in my Amazon Storefront
What to Read Next:
- 40+ Preschool Snack Ideas
- Grab-and-Go After School Snacks
- Ultimate Toddler Lunchbox Guide
- 1 Year Old Bento Box Lunch Ideas