When it comes to making school lunches there is a lot you can do in advance to lessen the load on a daily basis. Lunchboxes provide kids with all the nutrients and energy they need to get through the school day.
But, packing a nutritious and delicious lunch every day can be a pain. And as we all know, with so many things going on when you’ve got kids, it's easy to fall into the trap of relying on unhealthy and processed foods.
The solution? Take time once a week to help prep for lunchboxes. Meal prepping for your kids lunchboxes will help you to get ahead and get organised, meaning you’ve always got healthy and delicious lunchbox options. Here are my top tips for getting lunchboxes done quickly and how to best utilise your time to make awesome, healthy, and fun lunchboxes.
The first step in lunchbox meal prep is to plan ahead. Take some time to think about what your kids eat. There is no point making them mini pizzas if they won’t eat them cold, or chopping up stacks of veggies if they prefer them whole. Think about what’s going on for the week and what you’ve already got in the fridge and pantry. As you plan your lunchboxes for the week, write the shopping list!
10 Things to prep in advance for lunchboxes
- Cube your cheese – if you include cheese in your lunchbox it’s much easier to grab cubes of cheese already done from the fridge. Store in an airtight container and they will keep for a week
- Boiled Eggs – eggs can be boiled in advance and kept cold in the fridge ready to put in lunchboxes. They keep for 3 days in an airtight container. If you need a method for this you can grab it here:
- Chop your veggies – store chopped cucumber, peeled and chopped carrot, chopped celery in the fridge in airtight containers ready to go
- Pre-chop large fruits – fruit like watermelon and rockmelon will keep in an airtight container in the fridge when chopped. Not only does chopping make it easier for the mornings but it also means you don’t have to fit an awkward, large, round fruit in the fridge
- Home-made Popcorn – it only takes about 10 minutes to make homemade popcorn on the stove. You can follow my method here for 2 ingredient homemade popcorn, gluten free, dairy free. You can then store it in re-useable snack bags to grab and pop in the lunchbox
- Making freezer-friendly lunchbox items – when it comes to savoury lunchbox items you need to think beyond the sandwich if you want to prep in advance. Things like scrolls, mini pizzas, savoury muffins, and quiches can be made in advance and frozen.
- Sweet treats – there are lots of freezer-friendly options for a sweet treat in the lunchbox, muffins, mini cakes and bliss balls all freeze really well and save you time in the morning.
- Salads – making salads like our lunchbox rice salad, or our chicken pasta salad can set you up for the week. Make them on Sunday, put them into airtight containers and pop them in the lunchbox in the morning
- Dips – make dips in advance and store in large containers. Not only is it cheaper, but it means you just need to dollop the right amount into the lunchbox on the day with a few store-bought crackers
- Yoghurt – yoghurt is a great, healthy inclusion for the lunchbox. You can either make it for yourself, or buy a large container of it and flavour it. Place into reusable pouches for the week or put directly into the lunchbox
Storing your prepped lunchbox items
Once your bits and pieces are prepared, it's essential to store them properly to ensure that they stay fresh, delicious and safe to eat. Invest in good quality, reusable containers (I like glass ones like the décor real seals) that are designed to keep food fresh. If you are storing in the freezer, freeze on trays until solid and then place in containers or bags. Make sure to label them with the date and contents so you can keep track of what you’ve got ready to go.
Choosing the right lunchbox for meal prepping
For lunch items to stay fresh, you need to choose an airtight lunchbox. If you plan on packing things such as dips and yoghurts then you also need one that has leakproof sections. Also, if you are meal-prepping for lunchboxes and want to make a few days’ worth in advance you will need a couple of lunchboxes which makes getting ready in the mornings even easier. Some of the lunchboxes we recommend are: Yumbox, Bbbox for kids, Boxi and Bentgo.
Keeping it fun and interesting
Lunchbox meal prepping can end up being repetitive, but it doesn't have to be. To keep things interesting, try to mix up your lunches with a variety of different ingredients and recipes. I try to never pack the same combo in a week, sure, they may have ham and cheese scrolls twice, but one day it will be with choc caramel bliss balls and another day it might be with strawberry muffins. This will help stop the kids getting bored and keep them eating and it will also keep you motivated to continue meal prepping for lunchboxes.
Prep with the kids
Lunchbox meal prep is an excellent way to ensure that your kids have a healthy and delicious lunchbox full every day. With a little bit of planning and preparation, you can make this a stress-free and enjoyable part of your family routine. It’s even better if you can get the kids involved because that allows them to learn the necessary skills for following recipes and making lunches. So why wait? Get started today, and enjoy the benefits of lunchbox meal prepping.
Here are some awesome options to get ahead with lunchbox prepping
Need more inspiration?
Make sure to watch the video for this post where I chop veggies etc for the week and then pack a lunch box!