Morning routines before school can be rough! If you’re looking for some amazing school lunch ideas and ways to make the start of your day easier, I got your back.
Having lunch for your kiddos ready to go ahead of time can bring the morning crazy down to relative calm. I even have some eco-friendly options for storing school lunches.
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1. Prevent chips from being crushed in school lunches by filling the zip bag with air before sealing.
2. Freeze juice boxes or pouches so they stay cold.
Keep a few juice pouches in the freezer and the night before school, take however many out you need and put them in the fridge so they will be thawed enough but still icy cold by the time your kiddos eat lunch. Don’t forget to take them out! If you go straight from freezer to bag they’ll be gnawing juicy ice hunks by lunchtime, because they won’t melt in time. (Unless you live in Death Valley with no AC.)
3. Buy school lunch snacks in bulk and divide them up at home.
The secret to making bulk buying work for school lunches is to spend a few minutes portioning it out right when you get home. If you don’t do this, you’ll just create extra stress for yourself when the morning rush hits.
PRO TIP: For an eco-friendly option to plastic baggies go with reusable silicone food storage bags.
4. Stop a sliced apple from browning by wrapping it in plastic wrap.
To keep a sliced apple from browning, stack it back together and wrap it up in plastic wrap or just place a rubber band around the apple pieces to hold it together.
5. Prepare and freeze PB&J sandwiches ahead of time.
Similar to the store-bought brand of frozen PB&Js, but way cheaper!
The key to making a good (non-soggy) frozen PB&J:
- Spread PB on one slice but not to the edge. Do the same with the jelly.
- Put the slices together.
- Seal the unbuttered edges with a large cookie cutter, cutting out the middle section of the sandwich, or pressing down the edges with a hard plastic cutting board.
- Once sealed you can cut off any edges or excess.
PRO TIP: Don’t throw those scrap bread pieces out. You can feed the birds in your neighborhood or toast them up and grind them into bread crumbs for a casserole topping or breading for meat. No waste!
6. Stock your pantry, and let the kids choose what items they want in their school lunch.
We keep three bins stocked in our pantry. One has pretzels, trail mix, and granola-bar-type-stuff in it, another has fruit cups and applesauce, and the last one has treats. The kids must choose one thing from each bin to put in their lunch. They get control over what they want to eat, and I only have to worry about the “main dish.”
7. Freeze a sponge and use it as a homemade ice pack.
Stick the frozen sponge in a Ziploc bag to keep the moisture contained.
8. Use cookie cutters to make fun shapes out of cheese, tortillas, and sandwiches.
9. Create caterpillars with grapes, chocolate chips, skewers, and icing.
10. Serve DIY Lunchables with divided reusable containers or silicone muffin liners.
11. Create butterfly snack bags with decorated clothespins.
Bonus points for parents: Write a message on a banana peel with a toothpick.
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