Stress-Less Lunches: Helping Kids Make Healthy Choices

By Tiffany McAvoy

I  pack lunches for my daughters every day. I know it would make sense to do it the night before, but this is usually how it goes:

As we are rushing into the car, Abby will say, “Where’s my lunch?”

I have to run inside and throw things in their lunch boxes. It’s ridiculous how many times Tori has gotten two sandwiches and Abby doesn’t get one.

Once I even put an empty can into a lunchbox and threw the plastic container of food into the recycling.

I knew something had to change. I decided that the girls would be responsible for packing their own lunches the night before.

I decided to come up with an organization method to help them decide what to pack and make healthy choices.

We start with three containers:

Entrees: Soup, ravioli, mac and cheese, tuna fish, sandwiches, leftovers or salad. They pick one of these entrees.

Snack food: Chips, cookies, beef jerky, fruit roll-ups, etc. They pick one of these snacks.

Healthy snacks: Individual bags of veggies, fruits, olives, cheese sticks and yogurt. They pick three of these healthier foods.

This one small change has really saved a lot of time and stress for me.

It also gives my kids ownership and responsibility in making healthy food choices that hopefully they will carry with them in life.


Tiffany McAvoy is the mother to Tristan, 20, Abby, 13, and Tori, 9. She is an elementary teacher and writes about her family’s adventures with food on her blog,