Five Things Teachers Wish Parents Wouldn't Pack in Lunches

Last year, I polled teachers asking what they wished they could tell parents about packed lunches. The feedback from teachers was overwhelming but pretty consistent across the board, and I’m sharing a quick abbreviated version on FIVE things that teachers wish parents wouldn’t pack in their kids’ lunches.

#1:  more than 4 foods

Teachers consistently reported that only 2 to 3 items in a lunch box really get eaten and that most parents send WAY too much food.  This means that an empty lunch box doesn’t mean they ate it but that some stuff went in the trash. 

#2:  elaborate designs

Kids want simple foods that they like and recognize, so school isn’t the best place to try out new recipes or foods. And those elaborate bento box creations on Pinterest? One seasoned teacher shared that kids often don’t eat them because they don’t want to mess up the masterpiece!

#3: things kids can’t open

Don’t let the teacher get HANGRY and not be able to eat lunch. This can easily happen if all 20 kids in the class need help opening something, so try only sending what your child can open independently. As one teacher said, “Parents forget that lunch time is when I eat as well – but only AFTER I’ve served, opened, cleaned up, and monitored.” 

#4:  foods that need reheating

Having to heat up food for kids leaves a teacher with only a few minutes to eat. I know rotation of cold lunch items gets monotonous, so try using containers designed to keep food hot and heat them with hot water before packing food.

#5: FRUIT CUPS – please!

This was a top request from pretty much all teachers polled. Not only do most kids need help opening them, but the juice ALWAYS spills – regardless of who is opening them. Cut up fruit or send dried fruit, but skip the fruit cups in juice.

Avoid packing these five things, and you’ll save your kids’ teachers a lot of extra work and time on their short lunch break.

Got others to add to the list?

Let me know on social media! Be sure to tag me : Instagram @realfoodreallife_rd / Facebook @Real Food. Real Life. - Carolyn Williams, PHD, RD. Stay tuned for more recipes to come!

You can find the original post “What Teachers Wish you Knew About Your Kid’s Lunch” here.

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