HOW TO PREPARE A WEEK OF SCHOOL LUNCHES IN ONE DAY
- You don't want to take the time to prep food for a week of lunches and run out before the week is done. I have 3 kids that are in school full-time and 1 toddler in preschool two days a week, so I prepare enough food for 14 lunches.
- This plan only works if the food you prepare will keep well for the week. Sandwiches are best kept in the freezer (although you'll want to avoid mayo or mustard on a frozen sandwich). Think SIMPLE here. Kids don't need an elaborate array of different foods cut into cute shapes. If that's your thing, go for it, but I try to strive for super simple and convenient so I don't burn out.
- A lot of the school lunch ideas I see on Pinterest look delicious, but you have to consider that they'll be eaten hours after they're prepped and from a cold lunch box. Chose foods your kids will enjoy cold so they actually eat what you prepare.
- Throwing away good food is throwing away money, so I try to avoid that as much as possible. I tell my kids to keep any extra food in their lunch box and bring it home. That way, they can finish any leftovers after school if they want. It also gives me a good idea of how much each child is eating at school and I can give them more or less, as needed, to reduce waste.
Once you chose all your lunch components for the week, prepare everything (make and freeze sandwiches, bake muffins, cut fruit and veggies, etc) so that all you have to do each day is assemble.
5 MAKE-AHEAD LUNCH IDEAS
Here are 5 school lunch ideas I've used with my kids that have worked well with this strategy
(link to my very favorite, dishwasher-safe lunch containers here).
Pesto Pasta with Grape Tomatoes and Mozzarella Balls
Cookie Dough Bites (recipe here)
Criossant Sandwiches (filled with a slice of ham and cheese, then frozen)
Go Gurt (frozen)
Chocolate Chips + Marshmallows
Banana Muffins (recipe here)
Fruit Salad (strawberries, pineapple, grapes)
Yogurt Smoothie Drinks
Rolled Deli Ham
Deli Skewers (cheese, grape tomatoes, peppers, deli turkey)
Cheesecake Yogurt (Greek yogurt mixed with a packet of sugar-free cheesecake pudding mix)
Strawberries + Crushed Graham Crackers
Sweet Spinach Muffins (recipe here)
Vanilla Greek Yogurt
Fruit (strawberries and peaches)
I hope you feel less intimidated and more empowered to prepare a week's worth of lunches in one day for your kids. It's worked really well for our family and actually gets me excited to think of new lunch menus, so I hope it does the same for you.
I'll continue to share new lunch ideas and videos of how I prep for the week over on our Instagram page, so make sure you're following along there!
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