Parenting

12 simple lunch box hacks to save you time

We’ve pulled together 12 tried and tested lunch box hacks (from real mums like you) that will give you a little help to get the kids out the door on time for school.

So if you’re looking for some simple ways to save time on preparing a healthy lunch box for your children, look no further!

lunch box with sandwich of wholemeal bread on white background, closeup

Check out these awesome lunch box hacks!

1. Empty and wash the lunch boxes on Friday night

There’s nothing worse than opening a lunch box on Monday morning to find leftover food. Get into the habit of giving the lunch boxes a wash in soapy water on a Friday evening so that they are ready to roll come Monday.

2. Freeze dip in ice cube trays

Kids love to dunk, so instead of giving them a Le Snak with its dubious health claims (and cheese from a shelf, what’s that all about?) offer them a healthy homemade dip instead.

You can freeze homemade dip in ice cube trays and then just click out one or two cubes into a small container in the morning, with some carrot sticks or brown rice crackers in another container for dipping. The dip will be defrosted in time for morning tea.

3. Prepare what you can at night

Not everyone likes to give their kids a sandwich made the night before, and that’s fair enough. But much of the lunchbox can be ready-made the night prior. Pop in a piece of fruit, fill water bottles, add tubs of yoghurt – then just add the fresh items in the morning.

4. Double batch then freeze cakes and slices

nicole_ward_choc_chip_cupcakes
Bake a big batch of morning tea and wrap individually then freeze. The night before, take it out of the freezer to defrost overnight and they’ll be ready to pop into a lunchbox. Think Raspberry and Coconut Slice or a Choc Chip Muffin.

5. Try different shapes and sizes

For some reason, crinkle cut carrots seem much more exciting than regular carrot sticks. You can also use them for cutting sweet potato into wedges and baking in the oven with your dinner, then popping some in the lunchbox for a tasty snack the next day. If you are struggling to get your kids to eat sandwiches, try cutting them into fun shapes using a cookie cutter.

6. Make these two and three-ingredient treats

Bliss BallsLet’s face it, anything where you just throw a handful of ingredients in a food processor is going to be ideal for a busy mum.

These Coconut and Date Balls have just two ingredients (can you guess what they are??) and need no oven time either. We also love these 3 Ingredient Apricot Squares. Keep some aside for your own morning tea!

7. Get the kids to make some no-bake snacks

If you’ve got little ones that love to help in the kitchen, encourage them to help prepare food for school lunches for the week. Try a no-bake recipe such as these nut free Choc Banana Bliss Balls so that you don’t have to worry about kids near the hot oven.

8. Try reusable pouches

You can buy reusable yoghurt pouches quite cheaply these days, and fill them with your own healthy yoghurt mix (we love thick Greek yoghurt with honey and cinnamon). But you can also use these to send the kids off with a ‘thickie’ – it’s like a smoothie but much thicker (which kids love). Make the night before and freeze, then it will be defrosted and cool for lunch.

Try this recipe for a Chocolate Thickie, replacing the Healthy Mummy Smoothie mix with 2 tbsp cocoa/cacao. 

9. Pre-chop food for the week

If your kids love cheese and crackers, or slices of watermelon, there’s no need to chop up the cheese and watermelon fresh every day. At the beginning of the week chop up enough cubes of cheese and watermelon slices for the week and keep them in a separate container so that you can just grab them out each morning.

10. Make a healthy popcorn trail mix

popcorn

Think air popped popcorn, sultanas, pumpkin seeds, dried apricots and chunky shredded coconut. Keep this in a large jar that you can just scoop out into a container for a healthy snack to go.

11. Store wraps in the freezer

Many mums have known the feeling of dread as you realise at 7am that you’re out of bread for school lunches. This is why we recommend that you keep a pack of tortilla wraps in the freezer. They click off the pile really well without breaking, and then you can just defrost on the bench (or in the microwave for 20 seconds) and use as normal.

12. Cook extra at dinner time

If your kids will happily tuck into a cold sausage or chicken drumstick, always prepare more of these when you have them at dinner time. You can also throw a leftover slice of quiche or pie into the lunchbox for a change to the usual sandwich. Or turn leftover pasta into a quick pasta salad with some tinned corn, avocado chunks, tuna, or kidney beans added.

So which of these lunch box hacks will you try first?

Healthy Kids Lunch Boxes eBook

Ensuring our children’s lunch boxes are filled with healthy, easy to prepare foods that the kids will actually eat is really important.  A school lunch box can potentially make up to 30-50% of our child’s daily food intake so, we want to make them count.

Our Healthy Kid Lunch Boxed eBook makes preparing lunch boxes a breeze.

Buy your copy today OR access ALL 40 of our Healthy Mummy books from just $10/month with our eBook membership – get more details here.

kids lunch boxes ebook

healthy-mummy
written by:

The Healthy Mummy

We have an amazing team of 10 writers at the Healthy Mummy that are all dedicated to getting you the best stories, information and content.