It wasn’t until last year that I fell in love with prepping kid’s lunches.
I think it was because both of my kids needed their lunches made (instead of just one of them) and I often jump out of bed and rush out of the door last minute each and every morning. There’s not a whole lot of time for me to work on putting lunches together. So, I guess I fell in love with prepping lunches out of necessity.
Regardless, this year we are needing to plan ahead and meal prep even more, so I’ve put a few of our favorite tips and hacks together for making mornings easier while still sending healthy lunches for your kids! Especially for those of you who love to wake up late and run out of the door like I do….just saying.
What You’ll Need for Meal Prep
- Knives (I like to use a paring knife and a larger knife)
- Cutting Board
- Empty Plastic Container
- Ziploc Bags
5 Tips & Hacks for How to Meal Prep Kid’s Lunches
1.) Watch What Your Kids Eat Before Buying Food
This might sound like a no-brainer, but it’s really important to watch what your kids are eating at home. First, see what fruits and veggies they love to eat so that you know what to send in their lunches. Trying out a new food in your child’s lunch probably isn’t going to have a high success rate.
And, secondly, try out some new foods at home to see what they like. Our rule is that the kids can always choose one new fruit or veggie to try at the store and we’ll figure out how to cook or eat it at home together. This might help in figuring out what to choose for #2…
2.) 2 Types of Each
The easiest way that I’ve come up with to make sure my kids aren’t eating the same thing over and over (while stopping from being a short order cook) is to prep two fruits and two veggies for the week. Then, I alternate the fruit and veggie every day so that I know my kids are getting more diverse foods at lunch.
That takes me back to #1.
When I watch my little ones eat, they always gravitate towards carrots. So, this week I’ve chosen carrots as the main veggie in their lunches, but I’ll serve it two different ways. Firstly, raw with hummus and, secondly, cooked with cinnamon (my kids love it). My hope is that it helps my kids avoid burning out on carrots all week long, but gives them veggies that I know they’ll eat while they’re at school!
Note: My son loves watermelon and my daughter hates it, so I prepped watermelon for him and extra grapes for her. Sometimes, it’ll come out to 3 instead of 2!
3.) Cut Everything You Can & Use a Tupperware Container <—Not for what you think!
For me, meal prep for kid’s lunches is always about the fruits and vegetables.
I want to be sure that no matter how late I run out the door, those kids will have at least a fruit and a veggie to eat in every single lunch! So, we started by cleaning everything, peeling, cutting, and separating the foods into small ziploc bags. My kids use Yumbox (affiliate link), so I need everything cut, but not stored in individual baggies. If you use baggies for your kid’s lunches, you could separate each fruit and veggie into five bags for the week.
Tip: use an extra tupperware container as a waste basket for the trimmings, peels, and everything else so that your cutting board stays clear for chopping.
4.) Storage is Everything
Knowing how to store fruits and veggies is key in the prepping process! For example, my daughter doesn’t like browned apples, but doesn’t like the lemon juice taste when I put it on sliced apples (lemon juice keeps sliced apples from browning).
So, I cut up my apples, put them back around the core of the cut apple like I’m putting together a puzzle, and wrap it in aluminum foil. My slices don’t brown, but it allows me to prep ahead of time. I also peel and cut all of our carrots, but they can easily dry out in a baggie. Filling the bag or tupperware with water will keep them fresh all week long!
Be sure to check and see how your fruits and veggies need to be stored.
5.) Keep it Simple
My kids love grapes, so we wash and snip off small bunches of grapes to throw in their lunch boxes. It actually requires fine motor work to pluck the grapes off the vine which is important for building up little kid’s writing muscles, so I see that as a win/win!
If you’re really rushed and don’t have much time to prep, putting everything for the week in a small box to keep in the fridge will help you cut down on time looking and grabbing for things in the fridge each morning. Sometimes the simplest things can make the greatest impact.
Do you have an amazing meal prep tip?
Leave a comment below and I’ll add it to the post!