If there's one thing I've learned about my children, it's that they like to have a say in everything. They would do anything for a bit of control over their lives, but there aren't too many things they are responsible enough to handle at ages three, five, and seven. But, they can make their own school lunch with a little prep work on my part.
Step 1. Designate Bins
Create bins for different lunch box approved items in your home. Snacks for example: a bin for fruit and veggies, a bin for crackers, a bin for yogurts, and a bin for treats. Put a "1" or a "2" on the bin. As for main meal items, you could make a bin for lunch meat, a bin with pepperoni, a bin with sliced cheese, and a bin with breads, wraps, and crackers. Label those as well.
Step 2. Let Your Children Choose
Once all of the bins are ready, you can hand your child a lunchbox and watch them pick what they want. They would have to choose one or two of the snacks, depending on how you labeled them. Such as: two fruits/veggies, one yogurt, and one treat. They would also pick items to build their own sandwich either ahead of time or at school. As long as any condiments they want are made accessible to them, this should be easy for children age five or older.
Step 3. Double Check
When you first begin this DIY lunch plan, you might need to double check your child's lunch bag to make sure she didn't stick an extra bag of cookies in there. Chances are she hasn't, but she needs to know you're still technically the one in charge.
Not only will you be allowing your kids to feel a bit of independence, but you'll be teaching them about enjoying foods in moderation, and creating the financially sound habit of making their own lunch instead of purchasing it.