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Do you need some lunch meal prep ideas?

Before I had children, I never really realized how much time I was going to be spending in the kitchen… making lunches.
With four kids all going in multiple directions it can quickly become a daunting task.

While we homeschool all four kids, we also attend weekly classes outside the home with a CoOp and that means we have to come up with some kind of daily lunch plan.

So my husband James and I had to figure out a way to get this job done easily and efficiently.

And you know what? The solution is closer than you think!
We came up with a super easy (no brain power) way to plan easy (and healthy) lunches and snacks that you can feel good about feeding your kids.

It’s these fun & easy lunch box ideas for kids that I still use today!

It’s the perfect solution to help you not worry about lunch all week long. Plus you’ll save yourself the daily aggravation of having to rush in the morning to make lunch before the day begins!

I spoke about this topic on my Fox Segment. Watch the replay here:

Sunday Dinner Becomes Lunch Meal Prep Ideas For The Week

Plan to make your Sunday dinner a prep day for the entire week.

Make double the meat so you can use it later in the week for multiple meals. For example, extra chicken breasts become chicken salad or part of a cobb salad.

Baked Potatoes easily can be topped (and reheated) with some cooked broccoli, diced ham and cheese or chili on top and you’ve got a sturdy lunch the next day.

Spinach or Cheese Quiche is another “good when cold” meal you can make on Sunday and eat it cold or reheat later in the week for lunch.

Personally, I truly HATE leftovers, but with a little creativity, you can create a meal that “feels” new.

lunch meal prep ideas

Plan A Month At A Time

I’ll be honest, James is a huge help to me in this matter so I cannot take credit for this system.

We determined that the hardest part of meal planning was actually coming up with the ideas. So he created a super easy system for quickly devising a plan to have a MONTH of lunch meal prep ideas!

There are over 20 main dishes on the sheet to get your mind started with creative lunches!

Simply choose one Main Protein/Starch item, then choose 2 Sides to go with it.

I’ve even put together 5 combinations at the bottom of the sheet to get you started for this week!

Download the Easy Lunch Planner Sheet here.

BONUS DOWNLOAD

Want to plan healthy lunches with less hassle?

Download this FREE Lunch Planning Worksheet and just check the boxes to plan a month worth of lunches in just minutes.

Here Are 4 Creative Lunch Meal Prep Ideas:

Here are some more fun & easy lunch box ideas for kid!

1. Wrap It Up

It’s easy to get creative with a tortilla and some unique ingredients.

Take your regular tortilla (whole wheat for an even healthier version) and add peanut butter, banana & honey; or mayo, ham & cheese; tuna & celery or even hummus & veggies.

If you can make a sandwich, you can make it more fun by wrapping it up.

*Lunch Meal Prep Ideas Fun Mommy Tip* Make wraps the night before, then in the morning, slice to look like sushi. Just the sheer change in appearance makes it more fun to eat!

2. Homemade Lunchables

Recreate those expensive “Lunchables” on your own by simply taking a box of crackers, brick of cheese & thick sliced lunch meat!

Don’t forget that mini PB&Js are also good on crackers to break up the mundane. Include the crackers and a small container of Jelly & Peanut Butter.

Kids love to make their own “mini” lunch and it’s these lunch meal prep ideas that keeps kids wanting to take their lunch to school.

lunch meal prep ideas

3. Dip It

These lunch meal prep ideas are simple – make it dip-able!

Expand your options by making combinations of snacks with dips…think pretzels & peanut butter, mustard or hummus, or Bell Peppers with Ranch, Blue cheese or hot sauce!

It can be more than just Carrots & Celery…although, if those are your fave, use them too!

And please don’t leave the fruit behind! Include peanut (or almond) butter to spread on apples and bananas or dip strawberries in yogurt or just top yogurt with blueberries, pineapple, raisins, nuts or granola.

You could even sprinkle plain fruit with cinnamon to give it more flavor!

Are you fun & easy lunch box ideas for kids?

4. Top It Off

Soups are a great lunch because it’s cheaper to make a big batch and freeze to have ready in a jiffy…but want to WOW your loved ones? Add in a baggie of shredded cheese or oyster crackers so they have something fun to top it off with pizzazz.

Need more lunch meal prep ideas? Keep reading!

lunch meal prep ideas

Make Snacks Easy To Plan {& Grab}

I honestly think the most frustrating words in my children’s vocabulary are… “I’m hunnnnnngry… Mom, do we have any snacks?”

To combat that problem, I set up a “hanging snack distributor” that we hang it on the back of our Pantry Door and I fill it up every couple weeks with super easy snacks to satisfy that afternoon get-me-to-dinner lull.

You can find this Shoe Holder at Dollar Tree, the Dollar Section at Target, or order from Amazon for less than $10 and have it tomorrow (with Prime).

Some ideas for filling it include: pre-bagged portions of Pirate’s Booty or pretzels, Kashi Bars, Cascadian Farm Chewy Granola Bars, raisin boxes.

Here’s a video about me talking through this concept on my weekly Fox Segment in Aug 2017:

We also keep a single bin in the fridge for the fresh/refrigerated snacks like hard-boiled eggs, yogurt, lunchmeat wrapped string cheese, grapes, apples (washed and ready to eat). It’s this help yourself fun & easy lunch box ideas for kids that I love!

Remember, for each of these items, you need to stock up when the prices are low so you have more options already on hand making it easier on your budget!

lunch meal prep ideas

Lunch Box Prep Tips

From one momma to another, we all have our lunch box prep tips. This is what has worked for us.

Start the new year off right by creating a routine by having your children empty their lunch box as soon as they come home.

Give it a “home” while it waits to be filled, ie. in the pantry, on top of the fridge or on the hook by the back door.

I’ve even kept some space in the fridge so they could fill up their lunch box the night before and everything would stay cold. All they would just have to put an ice block in it, zip it up and head out the door.

I’ve also kept a reminder sheet of what they were to put in their box on the fridge. For example: (1) main dish or sandwich, (1) veggie &/or fruit, (1) salty, (1) sweet, (1) drink

This way they were clear that they shouldn’t take (2) sweets even if they wanted to. (Yes, we’ve had lunch inspections regularly when the kids were little.)

What other lunch box prep tips do you have? Share below!

lunch meal prep ideas

Include Some Fun Inside Their Box

There are hundreds of adorable “Lunch Box Notes” you can print at home and tuck in your child’s lunchbox to surprise them when they open their lunch.

Here are two that I designed for you to Download, a Beach Theme and a School Supply Theme.

Here are 5 more fun ones I printed to have on hand to send with my kids:

  1. 32 Encouraging Boys (blues) and Girls (pinks) from my dear friend Melisha at Finding Time to Fly
  2. Older Kid Lunchbox Notes from the lovely Ladies at Get Buttoned Up.
  3. These Lunchbox Jokes are adorable from Cap Creations.
  4. Clever Lunchbox Notes that say “I love you”, while still looking pretty “cool”.
  5. And I think these Kindness Cards would be perfect for lunchbox notes and then your kids can pass them along to friends also. There’s always room to spread kindness, right?

If you are packing a lunch for your kids to take with them, or for you to bring to work, then you will want a nice container that keeps the food separated.

These are my two favorites (sometimes Rubbermaid containers go on sale at the Grocery store, so watch for those too!):

 Lunch Containers Lunch Containers 2
$13.95 for a 4-Pack
Measuring: 9.4″ x 6.1″ x 2″
$12.95 for a 5-Pack
Measuring: 8.7″ x 6.1″ x 2.1″

So as you can see, making lunches can be easier with these lunch meal prep ideas!

Hurry and your Easy Lunch Planner Sheet so you’ll be ready to start the new year organized!

 

Your Turn: Have you used the Easy Planner Lunch Sheet full of meal prep lunch ideas? Let me know how well it worked for your family!

lunch meal prep ideas
Do you need fun & easy lunch box ideas for kids? If you dread making Back to School lunches like I do, then I\'ve got a quick and FREE download to make 30 days of lunches in minutes! Plus some great lunch box prep tips too! 
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