With the new school year approaching, the buzz around ‘back to school’ is ramping up. You may be feeling overwhelmed by the checklist of things to do before the start of September – from buying new school shoes to making sure they’ve got the right stationery sets.
Don’t stress, we’re here to help tick lunch box prep off your to-do list. Follow our easy school lunch box hacks and this next school year will be a breeze!
Always have sliced bread in the freezer
You’re running late and the last thing you need to do is sort out the kids’ school lunch box. After you rush around to get the butter out of the fridge, you reach into the cupboard for the loaf of bread to find that there’s one slice left! We’ve all been there.
Avoid the early morning panic and freeze your bread, so you can rest assured that you’ve got back up. Not only does this give you more lunch options, but freezing also reduces waste. There’s no need to worry about the best-before date as frozen bread will taste just as fresh once you’ve defrosted it.
Use frozen drinks as ice packs
Ice packs are bulky in your kids’ lunch box and are just another belonging destined to get lost at school. Skip the unnecessary cost and use frozen drinks as ice packs. Simply put your juice carton in the freezer overnight and it will keep food cold until lunchtime, as well as defrosting enough to drink.
Make frozen fruit cups
We’re sticking with the freezer theme for our next hack; who’d have thought that the freezer gave so many clever lunch box ideas! To make frozen fruit cups, divide portions of frozen fruit into cupcake cases and leave them in the freezer. Then in the morning, pop them in your kids’ lunch box and they’ll have chilled fruit to munch on by lunchtime.
There are many perks to frozen fruit over fresh fruit. As well as being more cost-effective, you reduce waste as the fruit is good to eat for months on end – enjoy your frozen berries no matter what the season.
Create a dedicated fridge space for lunch box food
This handy tip will keep you organised as well as helping you to plan your food shop. Keep all of your lunchbox essentials like yoghurts and carrot sticks in one plastic tub in your fridge. This way, you can easily access the things you need when you’re caught up in that morning rush. Also, it’s good to keep lunch box snacks separate from the main family food to avoid people eating the wrong thing by accident.
Keep bananas fresh
A top money-saving tip is to reduce the amount of food you throw away. Bananas are the main culprit when it comes to foods that don’t seem to last well. If you find yourself with a bunch of bananas that have turned brown in a blink of an eye, remove each banana from the bunch and wrap each stem in a piece of foil. This will slow down the ripening process and buy you a few more days of use.
Make the lunch the night before
We’ve already mentioned the dreaded morning rush a few times, so why not cut out the stress completely? Make your packed lunches while you’re cleaning up dinner the evening before. Better still, you could cook extra dinner portions and send the kids to school with leftovers the next day. This way, you’re not creating extra mess between meals and you can get multiple jobs done at once. If you plan to follow our previous school lunch box hacks, just remember to take your frozen drinks and fruit out of the freezer in the morning!
Plan, plan, plan
We’ve saved the simplest and possibly the best hack until last! If you’re working to a tight budget, you want to make sure that every penny counts. Plan every meal for the week and work out the ingredients you need on your shopping list. Kids don’t mind routine, so just stick to around two lunch ideas; maybe alternate between sandwiches and wraps (don’t forget you can freeze them). You may want to opt for leftovers one day too if you feel like mixing it up a bit.
Whilst there are many things to juggle when the kids go back to school, we hope we’ve helped to take some of the strain with our tips. Although it’s great to follow these school lunch box hacks, don’t fret about making the perfect packed lunch every day. As long as your kids are happy and get their nutrients throughout the week, that’s all that matters.
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