With our increasingly busy schedules, it can be quite the challenge to be organised when it comes to preparing your child’s lunch boxes and making sure they have variety week to week. Here we share our favourite tips and tricks to make the task that much easier and have you lunch packing like a boss!
Plan your lunches
We can’t stress how much prior planning is your saviour while you juggle work, school and everything in between. Prepping food and having it ready to grab from the fridge saves you heaps of time and stress in the long run. It also helps to have a selection and variety of foods in school lunches to keep your kids interested in what they’re eating. If you have older children, try to involve them in deciding what goes in their lunchboxes and have them assist in putting them together.
Here are some handy foods that you can easily prep and refrigerate:
- Apples, sliced and soaked in salted water for 5 mins. Drain and rinse the apple slices and store in an airtight container covered with a moist paper towel. Store for 2-3 days.
- Carrot sticks, store in water (changing the water daily) or in wet paper towel or kitchen towel. Store around 5 days.
- Celery sticks, store wrapped tightly in aluminium foil. Stores for 1-2 weeks.
- Cheese, diced or sliced. Stack together and wrap in clingfilm and then zip-lock bag.
- Corn Cobs, cooked, drained and stored in an airtight container. Store for 3-4 days.
- Cucumbers, cut into sticks or sliced covered in water or a soaked paper towel can be stored in an airtight container for up to one week.
- Hard Boiled Eggs. Store unpeeled in a container for up to 5 days (eggs must be cooked and eaten within use by dates)
- Pasta, plain and cooked stored in airtight containers lasts for around 3 days. Cover with a damp paper towel to stop the pasta from getting hard. You can rinse under cold water to freshen up before popping in the lunchbox.
- Popcorn, make in bulk and store in an airtight container. Store for up to a week.
- Trail mixes and nuts.
Healthy baked treats are a great way to add variety to your kid’s lunchbox. We recommend baking multiple batches of baking in one day and freezing them. Frozen baked goods normally last 2-3 months so you can bake and freeze enough to last you the whole term.
Ideas of what you could bake:
- Muffins – link to previous article eg. https://forestlakeshoppingcentre.com.au/homeactivity/kids-breakfast-muffins/
- Protein Balls
- Muesli bars
- Sweet Scrolls
Make the most of your freezer
The freezer is your best friend when it comes to meal prep. Making large batches in one go and freezing them saves so much more time and effort in the long run. Cheese and ham bread rolls are a great option to prepare in advance and freeze. Simply defrost overnight in the fridge and add salad options in the morning before packing in the lunchbox. Just like the baking, these will also freeze well for 2-3 months.
Fresh fruit is always a healthy and convenient option to include in your kid’s lunchbox and the natural sugars make it a sweet treat too. Here are some ideas of fruit that you can add and how to store them. Of course, try and use as much of whatever fruits are in season at the time!
- Bananas – whole
- Apples – whole or sliced
- Kiwifruit – peeled and sliced
- Grapes – off stem
- Oranges – peeled and diced
- Watermelon – diced
- Pineapple – diced
- Pears – whole
Easy School Lunch Ideas
- Sandwiches – a classic sandwich never goes out of style! Mix your kids sandwiches up weekly with their favourite fillings. Tip: Cut them into cute animal shapes to jazz them up!
- Wraps & Tortillas
- Homemade Pizza > https://forestlakeshoppingcentre.com.au/homeactivity/homemade-pizza-night/
- Leftovers from dinner (if last night’s meal can be enjoyed cold this is a fantastic option to save time!)
By taking these handy tips and tricks on board, lunch prep will soon become a breeze! We suggest setting some time aside on a Sunday afternoon to get organised for the week. Have the kids get involved by dishing out some of the simpler tasks, put on some music and make it a fun activity for all!