When the kids went to daycare full time I started snack drawers for them. They each have their own so that all I have to do is reach into their snack drawer and grab enough snacks to throw in their lunch box (which is located next to said snack drawer) and I'm done.
It started as a joint drawer- but seeing as how I am always looking for ways to save even fractions of a second if I can, I decided individual drawers were more efficient because I didn't have to A) locate a Sharpie and label the snack with their name in a frenzy or B) look for their name on the snack to make sure it went into the right lunch box.
Once a week I get all my supplies and I sit in front of the TV and I pre-package and label away. Fruits and veggies I only cut up and prepare up to 2 days in advance but dry snacks I do a whole week at a time. As I start running low on stuff - I add it to my shopping list and I stock up and then start all over again on a quiet night and re-stock our drawers. It makes lunch packing SOOOO Fast and seemingly painless.
As for actual lunch items - My kids are picky eaters (I'm working on it) So - their options at this stage in our life is pretty limited. Ben will eat various leftovers but Katie sticks to a usual menu of boring, bland items.
I know, I know - your kid only eats like 4 things - how hard is it to pick which one to send for the next day? Well, for some reason I struggle with it and it stresses me out - so this week I instituted a meal plan. Every day is already chosen for me - so I don't have to think at all at the end of the day when I'm fried and frazzled and exhausted.
I knew tonight that after we ate Pasta for dinner - to set aside some noodles with butter for Katie for tomorrow. I also have started pre-packaging some of their lunches and have dedicated part of a shelf for easy retrieval. This makes it so simple so if I want to run out for a run in the morning I don't have to explain to Dave where to find their lunch for the day. Easy Peasey
Now, if only I could figure out more exciting lunch options for my kids... Check back in next week - maybe that menu will be more exciting. Also, for those of you actually reading this - any suggestions for what to send her on Thursday understanding it's a NO NUT school??? Cheese sandwich just sounds sooooooooooooo unappetizing to me!