Make school lunches a breeze with these ten healthy lunch packing tips.
I often hear from moms that “packing lunch takes a long time” or “I don’t have time to pack lunches.” My mantra is that it only takes 10 minutes to pack one or five lunches. In fact, if you can learn to pre-plan your lunches in advance and do most of the prep work ahead of time, then all you need is a weekly plan.
If you are just getting started and find lunch packing overwhelming, here are ten lunch packing tips:
Make a List
Sit down and write a food plan for the week. You can browse the Internet for new ideas or subscribe to a school lunch-planning service. From there, you can create your shopping list or print out the one from your subscription service.
Shop Over the Weekend
If you shop over the weekend, you can come home and prep a lot of your lunch items. Starting the week with fresh produce means you don’t have to stare at the refrigerator and hope something talks back and says, “Eat me!”
Wash all your Produce at Once
As soon as you get home from the store, fill your sink with water and produce cleaning solution (such as water and vinegar). Let the produce soak for 10 minutes, scrub, and rinse. Begin cleaning your fruits and veggies so they are cleaned and ready for when you need to pack them.
Prep your Produce
After you wash all your produce at once, prep the produce in the way it’s meant to be used. This means chop, cut, julienne, or dice your fresh produce and refrigerate in airtight containers.
Hard-Boil your Eggs
Eggs are delicious and filled with nutrition! Of course, they are very portable in their hard-boiled form but they also offer an infinite amount of lunch options! You can make wraps, egg salad sandwiches, or top a green salad in a couple of minutes when they are already in your fridge. If you have older kids who have bigger bellies to fill, you can throw a hard-boiled egg inside a lunch container for an extra boost.
Do you know you can use your cupcake pan to make little meatloaves, quiches, spaghetti nests, carrot muffins, or ham and cheese muffins? These are all items that bake easily and freeze very well! Bake single-serving lunch box items over the weekend, freeze, and pull them out when you need a quick lunch box fix.
Assembly Line Packing
Instead of packing each lunch container individually, consider placing all of your lunch items on the counter and filling your lunch boxes assembly-line style. Whether you are making a simple lunch with deli meats, cheese, and crackers or adding baked goods, filling your containers at once can save you a lot of time.
Blend and Freeze
If you have smoothie fans at home, make all the smoothies for the week at once! The easiest way is to make a blender full of your smoothie recipe, blend, pour in individual plastic cups with lids, and freeze. Each morning, pull a sealed smoothie out of the freezer and pack inside an insulated lunch bag. It will thaw to a smoothie consistency by lunch. Bonus: no ice-pack needed.
Freeze your Dairy
Prevent soggy cheese and warm yogurt simply by freezing them the night before. They will be thawed out by lunch, and your child won’t complain of the lunch being a soggy mess!
Prep and Freeze your Fruit
Fruits such as mango, pineapple, grapes, and orange slices freeze very well. I like to save prep time by sticking them in the freezer and having them ready to pack inside the lunch box. Berries also freeze well, so buy them on sale when in season and freeze for smoothies!
Getting your kids ready in the morning is stressful enough, let alone getting yourself ready! Follow these tips for less work in the mornings and take packing lunch off your morning to-do list.
Do you have any lunch packing tips for me?