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7 Make-Ahead School Lunches That Will Save Your Mornings

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Posted by on Aug. 16, 2013 at 12:51 PM
  • 11 Replies

7 Make-Ahead School Lunches That Will Save Your Mornings

by Adriana Velez 

bento lunchThe new school year is almost here, and guess what I'm most nervous about? Lunch. Every morning I'm slapping together those sandwiches, smearing cream cheese on a bagel, or maybe throwing some string cheese sticks and the rest of the graham crackers into a paper sack and hoping that passes for lunch. Or maybe that's just me?

Let's get some fresh ideas in there. Better yet, let's get some lunch ideas you can make the night before so your kids can just grab and go in the morning. But what to make that won't be soggy by morning? I pestered my more experienced lunch-making friends for some inspiration.

1. Ham and cheese roll-ups. A friend of mine uses spreadable cheese (like Boursain) to cover a slice of ham, and then rolls it all up. You could add other ingredients, like sliced, seeded cucumbers. 

2. Spinach and tuna wraps. This is the same idea as the roll-ups. Spread tuna salad over a large piece of lettuce and roll it up. No soggy bread, although you could pack a bagel with this or the ham roll-up.

3. Hummus platter. Pack hummus in a container and then separately wrap pita bread, baby carrots, and cherry tomatoes. Your kids can then dip the bread and veggies into the hummus.

4. Cheese plate. Cut up some cheese slices and some apple slices and pack with whole-grain crackers. If you're worried about the apple slices browning, you can either add a little lemon juice or slice almost all the way through to the core so your kids can pull off slices from the apple.

5. Crock-Pot soup or chili. For this trick you will need a thermos -- but it's amazing how long a thermos can keep food warm. Start the soup or chili before you go to bed, and by morning it'll be ready to spoon into those thermoses.

6. Banana muffins. Right? Why not breakfast for lunch? If you want some protein, add some nut butter or (if you have allergies) cream cheese. Maybe use whole wheat and a little less sugar so your kids don't crash two hours later.

7. Onigiri with canned salmon. Okay, this one is a bit advanced. Pick up some onigiri seaweed wrappers and wrap up some rice balls with canned salmon inside, or anything else that sounds good. Here's a recipe and directions for making onigiri. Who is now the coolest kid at school? Your kid, that's who.

Be sure and throw in some fruit or chopped veggies with these! Try chopping large batches of carrot sticks, cucumbers, pineapple, or whatever else your kids like over the weekend. Wrap and store well so you can grab a small bunch at a time for each lunch. 

Laptop Lunches has several seasonal lunch menus on their website as well.

What do you like to pack in your kids' lunches?

by on Aug. 16, 2013 at 12:51 PM
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Replies (1-10):
....ClvrScn.
by on Aug. 16, 2013 at 12:57 PM

My son is a fan of veggie "sushi". Take a peeled cucumber, and a potato peeler. Peel long thin strips off of the cucumber. Spread with cream cheese and grated carrots, and roll so that it resembles sushi.

I do the ham roll ups

I do chicken salad wraps


My son is going into kindergarten, and does not focus very well, mix that with behavioral problems, etc. I am not going to be packing him anything that takes work, outside of pick up and eat. lol.

TroyboysMom
by on Aug. 16, 2013 at 4:49 PM

I take turkey dogs, wrap with sliced cheddar, then wrap in a crescent roll and bake them, or cut up turkey dogs and mix with cornbread batter to make corndog muffins. Both of those are good make-ahead options for ds. 

wakymom
by Ruby Member on Aug. 16, 2013 at 5:09 PM

 Dd likes sandwiches (cheese or lunch meat- doesn't like pb), quesadillas, pizzadillas, "raw quesadillas" (quesadilla w/o melting the shredded cheese), the occasional leftover slice of pizza. . . I also send either yogurt or apple sauce, and a juice box.

Ds2 gets the yogurt or apple sauce, something to dip in it, and a juice box. He doesn't like sandwiches as a rule (the only ones he'll eat are pb and pretzel, and Black Forest Ham w/ ketchup), and doesn't like tortillas, either.

Ds1, on the few times he takes, gets a pb&j, chips/Goldfish/Cheez-Its, and a juice box. Might try sending a frozen lunch meat sandwich and seeing if 1) it thaws in time and 2) he likes it.

 

 

 

 

 

soymujer
by Mikki on Aug. 16, 2013 at 6:52 PM
Those all seem like good ideas. Lunches here usually consist of a sandwich of some sort, chips, yogurt/fruit cup/pudding and juice box.

family in the van   Mom of four


lizzig
by Silver Member on Aug. 16, 2013 at 7:28 PM

 i always pack lunches the night before since i don't want to be getting up any earlier than i already do! ;o)

my little guy is the one that packs the most.  he always wants a pb sandwich of some sort; on a mini bagel, with honey instead of jelly, pinwheels, etc.  which is a good thing because i won't do lunch meat.  even with icepacks it's almost impossible to keep the food at the proper temp & out of the danger zone (41-135degrees).  refrigerated foods like lunchmeat should not get over 41degrees.  i know many kids eat such sandwiches & are fine but from working in school nutrition i don't want to tempt fate with my son.

i'll also through in fruit of some sort; a fruit cup, fresh, dried.  oatmeal or ceral bar of sort.  water bottle or the occasional juice box. 

lizzig
by Silver Member on Aug. 16, 2013 at 7:29 PM

 

Quoting TroyboysMom:

I take turkey dogs, wrap with sliced cheddar, then wrap in a crescent roll and bake them, or cut up turkey dogs and mix with cornbread batter to make corndog muffins. Both of those are good make-ahead options for ds. 

 interesting idea.  i've never heard of that before.

TroyboysMom
by on Aug. 17, 2013 at 3:44 AM

Really? It doesn't have to be turkey dogs - I just put turkey dogs in because that's what ds likes best. You can do sausage, regular franks, mini meatballs, whatever. Make cornbread like you normally would, mix in whatever you want in it, and then bake the way you normally would to make corn muffins. They keep for a bit, and you can mix in corn or peas (I usually put peas in), and whatever else you want to add in.

Quoting lizzig:

 

Quoting TroyboysMom:

I take turkey dogs, wrap with sliced cheddar, then wrap in a crescent roll and bake them, or cut up turkey dogs and mix with cornbread batter to make corndog muffins. Both of those are good make-ahead options for ds. 

 interesting idea.  i've never heard of that before.


TurboMom81
by Member on Aug. 17, 2013 at 8:15 AM
PB&J
Truluv4ever
by Member on Aug. 17, 2013 at 10:43 AM
These are some great ideas, I hope there are more to come!
Dodie702
by Doriane on Aug. 17, 2013 at 10:50 AM
My dd is so picky. I don't think she'll touch any of that.
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