Want to save time and money AND get the whole family eating healthy? Follow these time saving ideas for kids’ lunch boxes that will help busy parents and carers pack a lunchbox full of healthy and delicious foods in no time at all!
How much time do you spend packing lunchboxes? If you struggle to add variety to lunchboxes, or get caught up in the rush of busy school mornings and panic about what you’re going to make in a hurry, then this post is for you!
I want to show you how, in just a few short hours, you can have an entire freezer full of healthy lunchbox snacks that will last for the whole school term, saving you SO much time on lunchbox preparation each week.
Why you’ll love this post;
- Learn how to save time and money on daily school lunchbox prep by using these tips, your freezer and some simple planning.
- Keep lunchboxes interesting and full of variety by choosing from hundreds of school, pre-school and toddler healthy lunch ideas that the whole family will love.
- Once the prep is done, you can relax and make 2-minute lunches every day – without ever worrying about what to make!
The freezer is your friend! Preparing in bulk;
Rather than spending a whole lot of time on lunches every day, bulk baking means that you can spend just one day preparing a whole freezer full of food for the term ahead.
Before the beginning of each school term, I make bulk quantities of healthy lunchbox ideas for kids like; sausage rolls, cheese scrolls, healthy lunchbox muffins and berry cupcakes, cookies, healthy and nut-free bliss balls, quiches, chia pudding, healthy muesli bars, banana bread and more.
Having a freezer full of sweet and savoury lunchbox snacks ready to go is not only quick and convenient, but it will save you so much prep time. And your kids will always have variety and excitement in their lunches. Win-win!
Just pop them into lunchboxes the night before, to thaw before snack time!
The benefits of making your own snacks at home;
On busy mornings, pre-packaged and store-bought snacks can seem like an easy option. They are quick and convenient and can be thrown into lunchboxes in no time, but they are not always the healthiest choice. Try making your own snacks at home instead!
- Preparing food in large quantities saves time and stress
- Avoiding packaged food means that you get to control of the ingredients going into your kids’ bodies
- Making simple recipes at home saves time and money on unnecessary trips to the supermarket
- You will always have something on hand and ready to place into lunchboxes when you are short on time or ideas. And plenty of choice means no boring lunchbox repetition!
School lunch storage;
Before you start, make sure you have enough storage, including large, airtight containers and freezer space for the amount of food you are making.
Good quality, airtight containers will make your food last longer and protect it from freezer damage. A majority of homemade snacks can be stored in containers without wrapping. And some may need a little extra protection by being wrapped in baking paper.
Invest in good quality lunchboxes and storage containers;
Do you spend lots of time hunting for missing lids or containers that fit? #storyofmylife!
Consider investing in some leak-proof, bento style lunchboxes which don’t require any loose containers or food wrapping.
Little Lunchbox Co. help eliminate the need for unnecessary plastic waste by offering bento lunchboxes that keep foods separate and are the perfect size for food storage.
Good quality lunchboxes are great time and money savers too. They eliminate the need to wrap foods, meaning less waste.
Plan school lunches ahead
Bulk making of school lunchbox snacks will give you a wide selection of snacks to choose from on busy morning.
- First, decide what you would like to make and prepare a list. You can find a lot of great school lunch box recipes online, but if you need further lunch box inspiration, see these recipes here or try my Healthy Lunchbox ebook with loads of tips and 60 + recipes.
- Once you have your recipe list, write down the ingredients that you need.
- To save time, try batching together recipes with similar ingredients or methods. For example, a batch of bliss balls and other no-bake snacks take around 5 minutes to make. They contain similar ingredients and can both be prepared, one after the other, in a food processor.
- Before baking, ensure that you have all of the ingredients on hand. And make sure that you have the right equipment so that you are set up and ready to go. For example, prepare baking trays, bowls, cooling racks, food processor, loaf tins, mixers, etc.
- Once you have everything ready, dedicate a few hours on a day where you have no (or minimal) distractions to get it done. In a few hours, you will have a freezer full of snacks and lunches to use throughout the term.
Label and date everything
For busy mornings, having clearly labelled containers means you can easily see which items you are grabbing without any hassle. It also helps you keep track of what is freshest so that you can keep foods rotated and use older batches first.
Weekly lunchbox prep
Now that you have a freezer full of school lunchbox snacks at your disposal, all you need to do is a little “fresh prep” each week.
A container of sliced vegetables will last in an airtight container in the fridge for the school week. So you can quickly grab some each morning to add to lunches in no time. *Tip- wrap carrot sticks in damp paper towel to stop them from drying out!
Wash and slice vegetables, cheese and other snacks, ready to go for the week ahead.
Fresh fruits can also be washed and strawberries, blueberries, grapes added to individual containers.
Snacks that can be prepared for the week ahead;
A large batch of chia pudding can last in the fridge for five days, so it can be prepared in bulk and added to individual containers, ready to grab and go. Overnight oats can also be made ahead and added to lunches in individual tubs.
To save on plastic waste, consider purchasing a large tub of yoghurt and spoon it into individual containers. Add fresh fruits or granola when adding them to lunchboxes.
If your child eats cookies or popcorn, consider purchasing a larger bag and adding serves into reusable containers. Avoiding individually wrapped mini bags saves money and plastic waste.
Fresh weekly prep ideas;
- Slice fresh vegetables and store in an airtight container.
- Hard boiled eggs will keep in the fridge for up to one week.
- Overnight oats
- Fresh fruits and yoghurt
- Chia pudding
- Baked veggie chips
- Air popped popcorn
- Fruit salad
- Corn and feta fritters
- Cheese and biscuits
Freezer-friendly recipes and healthy lunchbox ideas for kids;
Savoury lunchbox ideas;
- Cheese and Vegemite scrolls
- Quiches, savoury muffins, frittata
- Zucchini slice
- Corn and feta fritters
- Pizza rolls
- Veggie packed nuggets
- Healthier pork sausage rolls
- Vegetarian sausage rolls
- Easy roast pumpkin soup
- Pizza muffins
Sweet lunchbox ideas;
- Healthy lunchbox muffins (try these healthy chocolate zucchini or banana lunchbox muffins).
- Banana bread
- Muesli bars
- No bake muesli slice
- Healthy raw cookies
- Breakfast cookies
- Overnight oats
- Vanilla bean chia pudding
- Healthy chocolate coconut slice
- Blueberry quinoa cupcakes
- Bliss balls (caramel, choc mint, apple pie, apricot, raspberry). Healthy bliss balls are my favourite healthy lunchbox snack to make. They literally take less than five minutes to make and are a great portable snack for little fingers!
For more healthy school lunch ideas, check out these recipes.
Dinner leftovers can also make quick and easy lunch ideas! They can be stockpiled in the freezer in individual portions. Leftover lasagne, roast meat, soups and veggies, pasta and fried rice all make great lunches.
Prioritise fiber, protein and good fats. These three things keep energy levels up, blood sugar levels steady and tummies full! Add some fresh fruit, crunchy vegetables, a meat or protein, such as a hard-boiled egg, chia pudding, hummus, tuna. Also dairy, like cheese or yoghurt and some starchy food like grain bread, rolls or pita. And of course, lots of water!
Bulk baking is a lifesaver! Prepare a stock of freezer-friendly snacks and lunches that can be used to fill lunchboxes at a moment’s notice. Things like savoury muffins, sausage rolls, healthy cookies and slices all make great choices. Then, at the start of each week, prepare fresh foods like fruit and vegetables and store them in an airtight container for the week. You can also make some batches of chia pudding, overnight oats or yoghurt parfait ready to grab-and-go.
Prepare lunches the night before, or on the day they are going to be eaten and store them in a good quality, leak-proof lunchbox. Store it in the fridge until required, and then transfer them to a reusable insulated bag with an ice-pack to keep them cool throughout the day.
Thanks for reading!
Bulk school lunches are an incredible time saver for busy families. Storing a selection of healthy school lunches for kids (and adults too!) reduces stress as well as saving time and money. I hope you find these healthy school lunch ideas and tips useful.
Have you tried any of these tips? Please leave a star ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ rating or leave a review below and let me know how you went!
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To save time and money on healthy school (and work) snacks, check out my Healthy School Lunches ebook which contains over 60 easy recipes and a bonus Guide to Making 2 Minute Lunches.
**This post was first published in January 2019, but was re-published with new information and photos in January 2021.