We know that you are busy. We know firsthand the life between work, juggling homework, taking kids to and from their various activities, and keeping up on the non-stop housework that comes from having a family. There is also an hour that many of us spend cooking for the whole family each and every day. We love it, of course, but we acknowledge that it all gets so exhausting.
Although most people tend to think of dinners or breakfasts, not many of us give much thought to school lunches being added to our meal prep list.
However, did you know that you can “meal prep” school lunches? Whether you have one kid or three or more, preparing school lunches each day can be a chaotic mess. Do want to deal with a chaotic mess? Meal prepping school lunches has saved us a tremendous amount of time and frustration over the last couple of years.
Can you meal prep school lunches?
While our preference would be that lunches can just prepare themselves, we aren’t quite there yet. That’s why meal prepping school lunches is our shortcut to easier mornings!
Here are some tips that will help you prep school lunches and streamline your time!
School Lunch Meal Prep Tips
When prepping school lunches, it makes the most sense to do it for the week.
Plan a Menu
Set aside a menu plan for lunches ahead so you aren’t frantically trying to figure it out as you go. Pick a main course for each day (sandwiches, salads, etc), and pick several sides that will work for every day.
Go Shopping First
Before starting your prep session, be sure to go shopping first. You want to be sure and have everything on hand for the lunches.
Use common ingredients
One way to save yourself time and fuss while meal prepping school lunches is to use common ingredients in your school lunch meal prepping. Ingredients such as specific lunch meats, boiled eggs, etc are great to use in more than one meal throughout the week. It saves you time and money.
For your sides, choose easy items that your kids like, that can easily be given daily without wearing them out. For example, pick up a variety pack of granola bars so you can send different flavors each day, or pick and slice up a variety of fruits for the week ahead.
Change things up daily without changing much. For example, somedays you can send string cheese, while other days you can cube up some pieces of cheddar. Send apple slices one day and include a packet of peanut butter along with the apples the next.
Pack them up and organize them for the week!
Last fall, we discovered a brilliant hack for organizing school lunches after prepping them. we use the Handi-foil Meal Prep containers for each individual item and store them in either the pantry or fridge.
For example, you can put all of the granola bars for the week in one container, sandwiches for the week in another, fruit servings in another container. It doesn’t matter what items you put into them, but they work very well for organizing these food prep items.
Each morning, the kids can reach into each container and grab each item to put into their lunchbox. It gives them the responsibility of “making” their lunch each day while saving me tons of time each and every day.