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Lunch box hacks?
Why, yes, please!
This year my middle schooler, 3rd grader, and preschooler will have 3 different start times in the morning, making school mornings a little more busy than usual.
Throw in a few lunch boxes to pack and this promises to kick every morning into a frantic tizzy.
Does this sound like your regular school morning to you?
Let’s change that this new school year, shall we?
My Time-Tested Lunch Box Hacks!
The secret to a stress-free school morning is a little planning and organizing.
These time-tested, parent-approved hacks will make life a whole lot easier for you when it comes to packing that lunch bag.
1. When you make pasta for dinner, double the batch and set aside the 2nd batch to make a cold pasta salad for your child’s lunch box.
My kids love pasta salads, so I jump to the opportunity to add a variety of veggies in the same to give it that extra nutritious value.
The cool thing about my favorite pasta salad recipe is it remains fresh when stored in the fridge for a good 3-5 days.
This allows you to pack the lunch box the night before and not worry about it.
add some hummus in the dressing container, fruit in one compartment, and celery /carrot sticks in the other, or pop a few pita chips the next morning just before putting the container in your child’s bag.
Try a refreshing Greek Pasta Salad with a homemade dressing.
2. Freeze sandwiches the weekend prior.
For some families, the weekends are a little more relaxed.
Capitalize on this and make sandwiches that can be frozen and pulled out when you wake up on busy school mornings.
(The sandwiches will thaw out in time for lunch)
Sandwiches that freeze well include mayo and chicken, mayo and roast beef, peanut butter, and jelly.
(Note: Don’t add tomatoes, onions, pickles, and lettuce in your sandwiches if freezing the same.
When thawed, they become limp and practically flavorless)
With all three kids going to school at different times this year, frozen sandwiches will save my sanity on mornings, things get a little rushed.
3. Use cupcake wrappers to hold snacks or fruit
Don’t fret if your child’s lunch box doesn’t have compartments.
Make some with cupcake wrappers.
Besides being effective, you can add character-themed cupcake wrappers for younger children to put an extra big smile on their sweet faces.
4. Bake muffins in large batches and freeze.
I love adding homemade muffins to lunchboxes, especially as it’s another opportunity for me to sneak healthy goodness in!
My morning glory muffins are a great treat to add to healthy lunches as they’re packed with dried fruit, nuts (optional if your child goes to a nut-free school), fruit, and veggies. These also make a great after-school snack.
Bake a large batch and save several muffins in freezer bags. When planning to add in the lunch box the night prior, place a few in the fridge and allow the same to thaw out in time for school the next morning.
Popping a muffin and a savory snack/ fruit or a fruit pouch in a compact food storage container is so much better than a bag of chips or store-bought cookies.
5. Add colorful wrap rolls to a lunch box.
Kids eat with their eyes first so adding a burst of color and an intriguing shape, will definitely push them to try and enjoy healthy foods more.
Something as simple as a spinach wrap smothered with cheese spread,
topped with grilled chicken from last night’s dinner, finished off with fresh carrot shreds,
and sliced like little sushi rolls,
can quickly become a favorite staple in your child’s lunch box.
My 4 year old, who’s a little pickier when it comes to her veggies, chomped these “pretty” rolls down quickly while whispering a quick “mmm, good” before skipping away to play!
6. No ice pack? Don’t stress!
7. Keep your apple slices fresh and not brown.
My kids love apple slices in their lunch boxes but hate browned apple slices when they open their box at lunchtime.
Cut the apple into slices, leave the core in, and put the apple together again with a rubber band.
Armed with these lunch box hacks, you’re ready to face the new school year with a confident grin and no stress whatsoever.