Preparing one day of school lunches is something that most Mums detest, let alone a weeks worth! But the time put in preparing before hand is going to save a lot of stress with the morning rush. Our weekends are busy enough, but if you find that you do have some spare time on the weekend and that you would prefer to actually have a chance to relax at night during the week, then one option you have is to prepare your kid’s school lunches for the week ahead of time. There are several different things you can do to make it a little easier to pack healthy and creative meals all week long. Rather than getting up at midnight after realizing that you have once again forgotten to pack lunch for the next day, try these tips this weekend and see what a difference a little organization can make to your entire week!
Invest in containers
Have several heavy duty containers waiting in the pantry for a weeks’ worth of lunches. That way you won’t have to worry about wrapping each item in saran wrap, which can take much longer and you won’t be washing a load of containers every night just to have enough for the next day. Look for containers of all different sizes – for sandwiches and wraps, for fruits, for nuts, etc. You can also get smaller containers to hold different dips and sauces such as tomato sauce to go with fish fingers, hummus to go with veggies and yoghurt to go with fruit. You can make it even more fun and creative by using different coloured containers – anything to spice up lunch!
Pack different treats in the different containers on the weekend so that they are fresh and ready for the week. For example, you may want to pack five containers with nuts and sultanas, five containers with cut up fruits, like strawberries, grapes and blueberries, five containers with chopped veggies such as carrots and celery with dip and five containers with yoghurt. Store them together in the fridge or pantry so that all you need to do in the morning and pick one of each and place them in the lunch box. There will be no late night chopping or early morning wrapping – everything is all done and prepared in advance.
Cook in bulk on the weekend
There are some items that you won’t want to pack until the night before. After all, making a sandwich on Sunday night for Friday afternoon will result in a soggy or stale sandwich by the time Friday rolls around. However, you can choose items that will remain fresh in the fridge or freezer, such as lasagne, shepherd’s pie, casseroles and mac and cheese. Place a portion into larger containers for your child’s lunch. And, best of all, you have heaps of tasty leftovers perfect for your own lunch or for dinners during the week.
If you enjoy spending your weekends baking tasty treats for your family, then why not make a double dose and use the leftovers for lunches throughout the week? Muffins, cookies, biscuits and even scones can all be frozen in individual containers or kept in the fridge. Simply add them to the lunch box the night before.
Soak and clean
Give your kid’s lunch box a good clean out during the weekend to also keep it lasting for longer and to get rid of all the sticky liquids and goo that somehow end up inside during the week.
It doesn’t take long to prepare a week’s worth of lunches on the weekend but it can keep you feeling less stressed during the week. Rather than spending a half an hour each night preparing lunch for the next day, you can use this time to have a cup of tea, sit in front of the TV with your kids or enjoy a glass of wine with your husband.