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How to simplify school lunches when you have a chronic condition

39790995 - happy boy eating fresh fruits for lunchThe school year is here, which means school lunches. If you prefer to pack your kids’ lunches, this can get a bit overwhelming, especially during a flare. It’s just one more thing to think about when you’re living with a chronic condition. However, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. What you can do is plan ahead. There are so many easy ideas for making school lunches a breeze! It doesn’t have to take up too much time or cause stress, which can worsen flares from a chronic condition. Instead, invest in these time saving ideas.

Prepare easy individual grab-and-go foods

A lot of food can be prepared in advance for the entire week. One simple way to make your life easy when living with a chronic condition is to get everything ready ahead of time, when you’re feeling good. Think about the foods you want available for your kids’ lunches that week, then have it easy to grab and go. That way in the morning, you, your significant other, or your kid can easily grab it and put it in the lunch box.

For example:

  • Put oranges in a bottom crisper.
  • Pre-slice carrots and celery sticks and place them in five individual baggies for the week. Add a side of ranch dressing or hummus in individual to-go containers.
  • Cut up cubes of cheese.
  • Buy bananas and apples for an easy on-the-counter grab and go snack.
  • Have individual bags of pretzels at the ready.
  • Buy small containers of yogurt.
  • Purchase finger foods like baby tomatoes or grapes.
  • Make deli meat roll-ups ahead of time and have them individually packed.
  • Dice up melons ahead of time.
  • Pre-make chicken salad or tuna salad, and get pitas or crackers to go with it.
  • Have hard boiled eggs ready in the fridge.

You can change it up each week or add a few different varieties for the week, but this quick fix can make things much easier for you. That way, if your chronic condition does flare, you’ll have less to be concerned about. Plus, you’ll preemptively avoid a stressful situation by making your day-to-day schedule simpler.

Have meals ready to go

If you prefer to have a whole meal ready to go instead of individual to-go packs, you can use a bento box. Get a couple of these containers out and prep them ahead of time so you don’t have to do it daily. You can even make your own homemade lunchables with slices of cheese, lunch meat, and crackers. You can even make pizza ones with mini bagels or English muffins, pizza sauce, shredded cheese, and pepperoni. Bento boxes can be used to make lunches easy for you and for your kid.

Ask for help

When you have a chronic condition, sometimes you just have to delegate. Ask a significant other or an older child to handle the school lunches this year. That way you don’t even have to worry about it; it’s one less thing on your plate.

Work around your chronic condition

Only you know exactly how you feel and what you can handle. If making school lunches gives you joy and doesn’t add stress, then continue to enjoy getting the meals packed. However, if it’s just one more thing to be concerned about, there’s no shame in figuring out a system that works for you. Use easy solutions to make lunch simple with individually wrapped, self-pack grab and go food or prepackaged meals. Or take it off your shoulders all together and ask a significant other or assign an older child to the task.

You are the only one that can really determine what will make things less stressful for you. By reducing stress, you can reduce flares from your chronic condition and live better.

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