When our toddler started preschool this year, I anticipated there would be lots of big changes our entire family would have to adjust to—like the huge shift of not seeing him for hours at a time. However, I did not anticipate how all of the seemingly small and insignificant changes would cause equal amounts of stress. You really don’t realize how tightly wound up you are until your spouse asks you to pack your kid’s school lunch for the next morning. As simple as it sounds, it truly feels like the literal last thing on earth you want to do at the end of a chaotic day.
The first two weeks of packing school lunches were cute at first with the little dino-shaped sandwiches and perfectly cut strawberries. Then it became the task we desperately tried to evade through an aggressive game of rock paper scissors. It became such a nuisance that we decided to brainstorm ways to make lunches less of a debacle. Thankfully our local Target came to the rescue with a few products that simplifies our evening to-do list significantly. Here are my top 5 school lunch essentials from Target.
1. Easy to pack brain food
This one is a no-brainer. Our kids need lunches that are vitamin and nutrient-packed, yet are easy to pack—and there’s really only one kids food brand that accomplishes both. Cerebelly, the first and only science-backed, cognitive development focused kids food brand delivers whole food nutrition. Plus, their ingredients contain 16 essential nutrients that are ideal for a LO’s healthy brain development. Their snack bars come in multiple flavors but the Organic Blueberry Banana Sweet Potato flavor is his fave.
Another hack I love is adding Cerebelly’s Bone Broth pouch into dinner’s like mac and cheese and using leftovers for lunch the next day. It’s a genius way to get more protein into my very anti-protein toddler’s diet along with their 16 brain supporting nutrients. Essentially, I can always use Cerebelly for his school lunches and not feel an ounce of mom guilt. I know it’s good for him, and it makes my life so much easier when deciding what to feed him everyday. The pouches and snack bars are easy to find in Target’s baby food aisle and are a staple in our drive-up orders.
2. Pre-organized lunch boxes
Bento boxes are a game changer. The convenient compartments predetermine his portion sizes, and the less thinking I have to do before bed, the better. They also keep all his food neat and separated, so I don’t have to individually bag any of his food. I also appreciate the straightforward nature of a bento box—you see a space, you fill it, and you’re done.
3. Reliable containers
Thermoses are great for sealing up messy foods that would otherwise create a headache. They also provide you with an easier way to pack leftovers from dinner, which is a tired mom’s saving grace.
4. Baking tools for creativity
I know that cutting our kid’s food into cutesy shapes is super low priority when we’re just trying to wrap up our day, but it is something small that most littles appreciate. Packing fruit in baking cups and using cookie cutters on sandwiches can expedite the whole process and spruce up an otherwise boring meal.
5. Sentimental notes
Regardless of being totally illiterate, my son still adamantly requests a handwritten note packed into every single lunch. I feel for the teacher that is forced to read them, but it really is adorable when he runs out with his note in hand and a smile on his face at pickup.
This post contains a sponsored inclusion of Cerebelly, but all of the opinions within are those of The Everymom editorial board. We only recommend products we genuinely love.