To say that I enjoy packing lunches would be a lie.
Things that I enjoy more than packing my lunch include having my bi-annual teeth cleaning, listening to Eve play the kazoo, and updating my weekly household budget spreadsheet.
(Ok, so I’m a little nerdy and actually enjoy that last one, but that’s besides the point.)
I don’t know what it is about packing lunches, whether it’s for myself or for Eve, I truly despise it.
That said, I have been packing my lunch since I was six years old. I have been doing it for over 80% of my life, which puts me just about at the pro level when it comes to this odious chore, and I’m going to let you in on some of my tried-and true lunch packing hacks.
Cook extra so that you have leftovers
Despite my feelings toward packing lunches, I do really enjoy cooking, and I find I’m much more excited about lunch the next day if I get to eat something more than tuna from a can slapped on between two slices of bread. When you’re cleaning up from dinner, set aside some leftovers in a small container that will fit in your lunch bag.
Invest in reusable containers that you can also use to reheat food
Having reusable containers is key to a successful lunch-packing experience. Last year we replaced most of our plastic containers with these fantastic Snapware Pyrex food containers. They are perfect for easily reheating leftovers in the microwave and storing them in your fridge and freezer. Plus they’re dishwasher safe, making for an easy cleanup at the end of the day.
Prep your meal the night before
At the end of a long day it’s easy to put off making your lunch for the next day until the morning, but save yourself the hassle by doing it the night before. Plus you won’t have to worry about scrambling to find something to eat as you are trying to get yourself or your kids out the door. Combine this with cleaning up from dinner — put leftovers directly into containers to take to daycare, school, or work.
Make snacks that are both healthy and satisfy your cravings
I have a huge sweet-tooth and it’s all too easy for me to eat something that is super unhealthy. Instead of being tempted by a super sugary and fattening treat, pack snacks that will make you feel like you are eating a decadent dessert but are healthier than a candy bar. For the last couple months I have been making these surprisingly tasty sugar-free blueberry muffins. Oh My Yog! Organic Tri-Layer Yogurt; a yogurt parfait with Stonyfield Plain Greek Yogurt, berries, and nuts; or a frozen YoKids Squeezers also make awesome desserts for kids and adults.
Keep your freezer stocked with fruits and veggies
We keeps bags of organic fruits and vegetables in our freezer so that we always have them in a pinch. Throw some frozen berries in your yogurt parfait or broccoli in with your meal if you don’t have anything fresh or don’t have time to make a salad.
Have things on hand that are easy to grab-and-go
Keep things like individual servings of applesauce, yogurt and string cheese handy so that when you are in a rush you can easily grab some things that are tasty but still healthy.
What’s your favorite lunch packing hack?