I have had many stressful mornings spent getting lunch ready for my 3 kids to take to school. There is nothing worse than running late in the morning and then desperately trying to figure out something you can put in your children’s lunch boxes. If you have found yourself in a similar situation, or your child ends up buying school lunch because packing it seems like too much of a hassle, help is here! I have some actionable tips to help you get organized so Stress Free School Lunch Meal Prep becomes quick and easy.
How to make school lunch meal prep stress free
Start with a list and go shopping
Sit down with your kids and come up with a list of lunches they like. This might include sandwiches and wraps, or even a homemade lunchable, but don't stop there. If you add a thermos to the mix, you can suddenly pack reheated leftovers, like homemade soup. My kids love to have mac and cheese for lunch. The key is to find foods and snacks that your kids will eat that are also easy to pack.
Head to the grocery store to pick up everything you need for the week. Don’t forget about snacks and drinks as well. Once you have several different lunch options that your kids like, you can simply rotate through them and make the ingredients part of your weekly shopping trips.
Lunchbox supplies to get organized and make packing lunches easier
You will want to have appropriate containers that include a cooling mechanism. We have used these containers for years and they are durable and fit perfectly in most lunchboxes. A good thermos is also key. We have had this thermos for years as well and it is are still going strong.
Prep what you can as soon as you get home
When you get home from the store, don't put the lunch foods away yet. Take some time to prep some items to make things easier for you on those busy mornings. Instead of just putting that bag of grapes away, go ahead and wash them and store them in little containers that you can grab and toss in the lunch box. You can do the same with carrots and even salads. Having these items ready means that kids can help in the mornings and just grab the items and toss them in their lunchboxes.
Pack lunch the night before
Mornings are stressful enough as it is. Don't add more to it, by trying to get lunches together in the morning. Whenever I do this, I end up forgetting something. Try making lunches the night before. The kids can help you pack them after dinner. You can store cold items in the fridge and have everything else sitting in the lunch box ready to go. It won’t take you long to get into the rhythm of prepping lunches while you’re cleaning up after dinner. You’ll appreciate this new habit in the mornings when all you have to do is grab a couple of things from the refrigerator and place them in the lunch boxes. It will take so much stress out of the morning routine.
Clean lunchboxes as soon as you get home
To make lunch prep even easier, get the kids into the habit of cleaning out their lunch box as soon as they get back from school. Have them toss any uneaten food in the trash or compost and bring the containers to the sink or dishwasher to be cleaned. Having everything clean and ready to go will make it easier to pack the new lunches later on in the day.
Stick to these tips and it won’t take you long to get into an efficient lunch packing routine that will take the stress out of your mornings. Give your kids responsibility for as much of the lunch prep as makes sense. This will this make your life easier in the long run, and it will give your kids a sense of ownership over their lunch. It's a win-win!
Make meal planning easy
Have you heard about Eat At Home Meal Plans? If the cost of eating out or the decision of what to make for dinner each night is stressing you out, then you must try these. When you sign up, you get access to four separate meal plans each month (Traditional, Wholesome Traditional, Slow Cooker, and No Flour/No Sugar). All you do is print the plans, color-coded grocery lists, and recipes you want for that month. Don't worry, there are lots of options, so even picky eaters will find something they like.
Then when it is time for dinner, make that night’s recipe (choices include make-ahead, freezer meals, slow-cooker recipes, and other time-saving strategies).
That's it! Dinner is on the table and you can enjoy a home cooked meal with the family – without the stress!
We all have more important things to do than meal planning. Let someone else do it for you with Eat At Home Meal Plans. Monthly, quarterly and annual plans are available.