Meal planning tips for school lunches will make your morning much easier. Meal prepping and planning is a great way to start putting together your kids’ lunches. It gives you the opportunity to plan ahead of time. So in the morning you’re not rushed and putting together a less healthy lunch for your little ones.
I’m guilty of sending my daughter to school with Lunchables all the time. They are easy and convenient and all I have to do is place it in her lunch bag. But Lunchables are not healthy or nutritious.
My daughter is also the pickiest child to ever exist! So getting her to eat healthy nutritious meals is pretty much impossible. Especially when I’m trying to throw a lunch together five minutes before we have to walk out of the door.
I know meal planning dinners are helpful in eating healthier meals. So why not meal plan my little one’s lunches too. Here are some meal planning tips for school lunches.
What You Can Plan Ahead
You can plan certain things ahead of time. You may not be able to prep every part of your little one’s lunch beforehand though. For example, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches can get soggy if made too far in advance.
But think of things you can prep for on the weekend before the school week begins. Some things you can do ahead of time are boil eggs, chop fruit and vegetables. Also, put snack items like crackers into portion-control containers or baggies.
Save These Things For the Night or Morning Before School
There are some food items that you should not prep until the night before school. Or in the morning before school. Like sandwiches with lettuce and tomatoes. It’s best to wait until the day of eating it. Because the ingredients can make the bread soggy.
Bento Boxes Help With Meal Planning
Bento boxes can help with meal prepping and planning. These are lunch boxes that have different compartments in them. That allows you to pack lunches that are well-balanced and nutritious.
Bento boxes can also help you prepare balanced meals. Sometimes it’s difficult to have the right balance of foods in your kids’ lunches. Especially, when you are trying to offer foods your kids like that are nutritious. With Bento boxes, you can plan ahead and put one food from each food group into the compartments.
Another benefit of a Bento box is that it can help keep lunches fresh. You can prep the lunches and not worry about certain ingredients mixing together.
Or spoiling the other parts of the lunch. These containers don’t allow food to touch. But they have airtight lids to keep everything fresh until it’s time for your kids to eat their lunch.
Create Well Balanced Lunches
Instead of trying to put a meal together, try to include different food items in the lunch box. This way your kids will get a well-balanced lunch that is nutritious. You can choose food from each food group to make sure they have healthy options.
This is where a Bento box or other lunch box with compartments inside is useful. If there are four compartments, you can use one for protein, one for veggies, one for fruit, and one for another snack.
Veggies With Dip
Everyone needs to eat several servings of fruits and vegetables. Unfortunately, a lot of fruits and vegetables are not kids favorite.
You can serve most vegetables with a dip like ranch or hummus. Veggies that are good for dipping are cauliflower, broccoli, and carrots. Also, garden vegetables like cucumber, or even mini bell peppers with ranch dip.
Sneaking Veggies in Your Kids’ Lunches
If you have picky eaters as I do, you know the challenge it is to get them to eat their veggies. No matter what type of dip you have with it. My daughter doesn’t like dip so it’s even more challenging! To get veggies in her diet I have to be a little sneaky about it.
One way is to put pasta in her lunch and sneak veggies in the sauce. Vegetables can be pureed into the pasta sauce. That way picky little eaters won’t notice small chunks of veggies in the sauce.
After cooking the veggies it’s easy to put them in a blender to puree them. Or you can use a stick blender and do it right in the saucepan. You can use tomatoes, onions, and bell peppers. Even carrots or celery into the sauce without your kids noticing.
Don’t forget the fruit. Though my daughter is picky the one healthy thing I can get her to eat is fruit. Some of her favorites are strawberries, grapes, and mangoes. I cut up the fruit for her into bite-size pieces when I pack her lunches. Another fun thing to do is to put the pieces on a toothpick or mini skewers.
Easy Lunch Meal Prep Ideas
Peanut Butter and Jelly Wrap
Choose either a flour tortilla or a whole wheat tortilla. Then spread some peanut butter and jelly on the tortilla. If your kids like it you can add a sliced banana too. But if you don’t use banana you can make this the night before. A wrap is a fun change of pace from sandwiches!
Make mini pizzas for your kids’ lunches. You can use mini bagels as the crust. Then you can always meal prep these by putting them together and cooking them in the oven.
You’ll have these ready to go all week. Or you can pack the ingredients in their lunches. You’ll want to make sure to pack pizza sauce, cheese, cut up pieces of pepperoni, and veggies.
You can also prepare some quesadillas for their lunches. Bake the quesadilla so it is crispy. Besides cheese, you can try adding veggies and shredded meat to the quesadilla. Cut the cooked quesadilla into smaller pieces, and place it in their lunch box with some salsa.
Have Your Kids Help
A good thing to do is have your kids help put lunches together. Giving them options within each major food group. So that they can pick and choose their lunch items. But you can give them healthy items to choose from.
I hope found these meal planning tips for school lunches helpful! What do you pack in your kids school lunches? Let me know in the comments:)
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