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Taking charge of making lunch for school—or, in the summer, work or camp—helps teenagers build some key skills, including basic food preparation, grocery shopping, nutritional know-how, and time management. Forward this article to your teenager. Remember, you are the coach. Stand on the sidelines and offer advice, but let your teenager do the work.
- Give mom or dad a list of the food you need to make your lunch Monday to Friday. Parents: Be sure your fridge is stocked for Monday morning. Also, the shopping list is a great opportunity to help your teenager learn what goes into a healthy lunch (e.g. not all snack food).
- Make sure you have 10-15 minutes set aside in the morning to put your lunch together. If waking up earlier is too difficult, consider making your lunch the night before.
- Make a lunch that will satisfy you and keep you going until you get home. This could be a sandwich, fruit, and a granola bar or chips. Or it could be leftovers from last night’s dinner. Whatever it is, make sure you use appropriate containers (ideally, re-useable containers). For example, if you’d like your pasta to still be warm when you eat it, use a thermos. When it’s warm outside or if you’re packing yogurt, cheese, meat or other items that should stay cool, consider using a cold pack.
- Don’t forget a drink, a napkin and utensils if you need them.
- When you get home, unpack your lunch bag, then wash and dry containers, so you can use them again tomorrow.