Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Prepping For School Lunches

Since today is the first day of school I thought I would share how I like to get things lined up for preparing school lunches.  I find a little bit of prepping ahead makes it much easier to get those lunches packed first thing in the morning.

As you probably already know (if you have followed my blog for awhile) we use insulated lunch bags and I have an assortment of plastic containers, spoons and forks, and drink bottles on hand to fill and reuse.  I also keep reusable ice packs in the freezer.

On Sunday morning I like to prep for the week ahead.  I get out the big bowl that holds all of our washed and clean containers and bottles.

I like to fill the bottles with milk, sometimes flavored milk and juice.  My girls also like to have a water bottle to take to school.  I usually buy one case of water bottles a year and they wash and refill them.

I prepare small containers with gelatin, fruit (or a combo of both), applesauce, etc.  I pull from the freezer any lunchmeat I plan to use.  I usually plan one PB & J each week.

For a change of pace from sandwiches I like to make a salad or a pasta salad for them to have.  I'll boil the pasta and put that together with veggies, sliced olives, some chicken or ham and a little homemade Italian salad dressing.  Another salad I make is one of our favorites - Chinese Chicken Salad.

I like to hard boil some eggs to have on hand.  Bananas and fresh fruit as well.

I like to keep individual packages of chips on hand too, but they aren’t a daily thing.  Only a couple times a week as they are more of a treat than a staple.

I also like to bake up a batch of cookies or brownies.  Cupcakes or sliced banana bread is nice too.  I enjoy baking and usually can come up with a variety of yummy and fairly healthy desserts.  Once they are cooled I package them up as well.  I also like to freeze extras for later to use later.

Each day when the kids get home ice packs go back in the freezer and containers are washed, dried and put back into the big bowl.  About midweek, usually Wednesday evening, I'll refill some drink bottles, as I don't have enough for all of us for the full week, and we carry on.

I sent my high schooler to band camp with a PB & J cut up like she was
in kindergarten.  She loved it and said it made her laugh.

Do you have any great tricks for getting lunches prepared?  What are some of your favorite items to pack?  I'd love some more ideas!


  1. Little tiny pizzas -- my mom used to buy a huge pack of them and bake one while we were getting ready. Wrapped in foil, it would still be kind of warm at lunchtime.
    You could also make a few of these by increasing your amounts, next time you make pizza...

  2. Calzones work, too...and so do pasties (meat and potato with carrots - my girlies never enjoyed turnips much, but yours might).

  3. This week, my 17 year old made her own lunches (I'm trying to prepare her for college campus life). She made flaked salmon mixed with rice and Furikake (a Japanese rice seasoning w/ sesame seeds, bits of seaweed, salt) and then wrapped the mixture in lettuce leaves; a bottle of water; a chia bar. She had this meal twice this week. And then the other day she had leftover pad thai noodles and sliced apple with water.

    Usually though, I buy frozen Trader Joe's entrees - not very thrifty, I know! I'm trying to break that habit :)

    I just made cornbread, so that will probably go in her lunch tomorrow with something else ... hmm... better meal planning is in my future!


    1. This year the goal is to do all homemade lunches with just a few store bought items like chips and crackers. My youngest likes to get out my grandma's old grinder and make ham salad. She does a really good job. Sounds like your daughter does a great job preparing a healthy lunch for herself. Good job Mom! :)


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