Packed school lunches are a cheaper and healthier option for this busy back to school season. Moms everywhere are scratching their heads trying to come up with delicious packed school lunches that won’t break the bank or require them to spend hours of extra time in the kitchen. We’re here to help! Here are 5 ways to save time and money on packed school lunches.
5 Ways to Save Time and Money on Packed School Lunches
Depending what you cook for dinner you can make good use of leftovers to save time and money on packed school lunches. One great way to do this is by portioning leftovers into lunchbox friendly containers as soon as the meal is over. Invest in a few segmented containers and you’ll be all set for those meals that require separated spaces.
Find meals that you can pack ahead of time. Leftovers are great when you are in a bind but one really great way to save time is by prepping the whole week of packed school lunches at one time. This means finding creative ways to serve the usuals. You don’t want soggy sandwiches! Package things like snacks and crackers in baggies or containers so they’re ready to throw into the box each day. Try doing meat and cheese rollups with crackers instead of the traditional sandwich. This means you can prep ahead of time without making a sandwich each night or morning.
Let Kids Help
Let your kids help you with packed school lunches. The ones who are old enough will know what they like and what they will eat…this will cut down on waste (both waste you see coming back and that stuff they just throw away at school) and that will save you money in the long run. Have all the healthy options on hand that you are happy with and let them assemble their lunch each day. Fresh fruit that is cleaned and prepped in containers can be a great option for school lunches and they’re more likely to reach for it if it’s ready to eat, no extra work involved. Prep a whole batch of grapes, oranges, bananas, etc. at the beginning of the week so they can pick healthy options all week long.
The Right Tools
This might seem counterintuitive to saving money but you might want to invest in some great containers up front for making packed school lunches easier. Silicone cupcake liners and divided plastic or glass containers can be a life saver. You can portion things out into these individual spaces and they won’t mix together after a shuffle in the backpack or the fridge all week long. Make sure you have enough containers for the whole week so you don’t have to stress about things half way through the week!
Use Fresh Ingredients
Of course we all want to pack the best and most healthy lunches for our kiddos, that’s a given. One way to make your life easier when making packed school lunches ahead of time is fresh ingredients. You are much more likely to have a good experience the full week through if you start with super fresh ingredients. Starting out with things that are not fresh is a recipe for disaster. You won’t have ingredients spoil or be wasted at the end of the week if you are starting out with fresh ingredients!