Plan and prep for school (or work) lunches ahead of time and make eating healthy meals easier for you and your family.
Getting the kids up and ready for school by 7:30 a.m. is hard enough as it is. When you add the task of packing a healthy lunch to that list, you’re probably thinking relying on cafeteria food is a better bet.
Don’t give up yet, because with a little planning, packing your lunch doesn’t have to be such a chore! Here’s how you can do it:
Table of contents
Planning a week ahead
It is always a good idea to have a running list of your family’s favorite lunches jotted down. This makes planning for the week’s lunch so much easier.
Here’s what you can do to make weekday mornings less stressful –
- Plan what you are going to pack each day over the weekend.
- Plan to make extras for dinner so that you have leftovers that you can pack for school or work lunch.
- Don’t forget to shop over the weekend.
Prep & cook ahead of time
Things to do over the weekend
- Make hard boiled eggs – they stay good in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
- Bake muffins. Make large batches of soups, chicken nuggets over the weekend – they can be frozen for up to a month.
- Prep the ingredients as much as possible – For example, you could marinate chicken, make nut butters, chop veggies and freeze them.
- Blend and freeze smoothies – Pull it out in the morning and pack it in an insulated lunch bag. They’ll thaw by lunch.
- Grill your favorite veggies and refrigerate it.
- Make a few rice dishes and curries over the weekend. They store well in the refrigerator for 3 days.
For more tips on planning & prepping for your meals ahead of time, check out this meal planning guide.
Things to do the night before
Here are a few things you can do the night before to save time in the morning. If you are not a morning person, you’ll love the extra time in the morning to catch up on your sleep.
- Pack the leftovers from dinner into lunch boxes.
- Fill your water bottle and keep it in the refrigerator.
- Wipe down your lunch bag and keep it ready for the next day.
- Pack silverware in your lunch bag.
- Decide what lunch box containers you’ll use.
- Pack salad in your lunch box. Put the dressing in a separate container.
- Chop veggies, cook rice, boil eggs, etc. In short, do as much prep work you can the previous night.
- Portion out snacks, yogurt, fruits, veggies, trail mix, nuts etc.
- Pack any snacks that don’t need to be refrigerated in your lunch box.