Written as an ambassador for buybuy BABY and the #babyhood campaign.
Before my kids were in full day school, I thought deciding what to make for dinner was the hardest thing ever. Fast forward to having two little ones in school (Lilly in first grade and Gracie in her last year of full-time full-day preschool), I struggle daily with what to pack the girls for lunch. Gracie’s van comes at 6:55 a.m. which has us up at the crack of dawn as it is, let alone leaving lots of time for crazy lunch packing. My girls are definitely good eaters but it’s still such a challenge figuring out what to pack in their lunch that I can make in just a few minutes (or not “make” at all) that they will actually consume at school during lunch.
Thanks to these amazing glass containers from buybuy BABY, I’ve figured out a method of prepping food on sunday that makes lunch packing during the week a snap! Here’s what I prepare on Sundays to get me through 10 packed lunches the following week (bonus- much of this helps me grab easy things for Sally too). Bonus points because these glass containers are so easy to clean (I usually rinse the lids in soapy water and put the glass in the top rack of the dishwasher) and they are super durable.
Quinoa with Peas- Cook a few cups of quinoa on Sunday and save it for the whole week. My girls LOVE this rice substitute and eat it really well. I add a chicken bouillon cube to the water while it cooks then a tablespoon of butter and salt and pepper after it’s finished. It’s perfect!
White meat chicken- rather than lunchmeat which I’m not a HUGE fan of consuming too much (ew, nitrates), I pick up a rotisserie chicken and shred the meat off the carcass. I store it in one of my bigger containers and then pop some into a smaller container for the girls lunch. They love it plain or with a cheese stick. Sometimes when I’m feeling crazy I’ll bake a few chicken breasts and prep them the same way.
Ceasar Salad- this ones only for Lilly. She loves ceasar salad and will eat it any time. For some reason she thinks this is a really “special” lunch so I’ll take it. I add a little dressing in the corner of the salad container before popping it into her lunch box. Then throw in some croutons and some of that afore mentioned chicken and she’s good to go.
Ham and Cheese sandwiches- even though I’m not a personal big lunch meat fan, the girls do like it and will consistently eat ham and cheese sandwiches. I make theirs slider size which is perfect and when I use the King’s Hawaiian roles I have a super easy method of making a bunch at a time! See the steps below.
Pasta two ways- For the pasta I make a full box penne. Then I split the cooked noodles in half and to one bowl I add butter, parmesan cheese, thawed peas, salt and pepper. To the other bowl I add a few tablespoons of pumpkin puree and about 1/4 cup of red pasta sauce. The pumpkin adds a bit of extra fiber and richness and we all love it!
Broccoli Cheddar Mini Quiche- these are so quick and easy and make a great, filling lunch. Here’s my recipe:
Combine 6 eggs, 1/2 cup milk, 1 cup shredded cheddar, and 1 cup diced cooked broccoli in a bowl. Add salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste. Spray a muffin pan with cooking spray and divide egg mixture among the wells. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until lightly brown on top. Remove from pan immediately and let cool.
Fruit Salad dishes. I use anything that’s in season but my girls favorite has to be cantaloupe. They could each eat a whole cantaloupe every day if I let them! Of course they love berries too, and clementines- but I always peal them so they don’t have to mess around with that at school.
Cut veggies and dip- carrots, snap peas, green beans and green peppers are my girls favorites. We dip them in peanut butter, hummus, or guacamole cups (all of which I buy in individual serving size cups from Costco).
Hard boiled eggs
Tortillas with nutella or flavored cream cheese- my kids love the strawberry cream cheese or the pumpkin spice.
Yogurt (my girls fave is definitely key lime)
Snack cookies with cool whip dip- this is a new treat that they LOVE. Sometimes I mix cocoa powder and chocolate chips into the cool whip. You can store the containers in the freezer and just pop them in the kids lunch box- around lunch time the cool whip is still cold and really creamy.
Cracker/cookie snacks (I buy the huge variety boxes at Costco that have all different things in them- keebler has a great variety box). Veggie sticks are also a hit!
Any kind of single serve chocolate piece (who doesn’t love them, right?!)
Pumpkin chocolate muffins (not pictured) but I combine 1 box devils food cake mix and 1 can pumpkin pure and bake in mini muffin tins. So yummy!
Fudge squares (click here for a link to my recipe)
The girls are seriously obsessed with these little cool whip dip treats. You could add sprinkles or fruit jam or anything really!
Other lunch prep items we love from buybuy BABY to make packing kids lunch easier:
These flat ice packs.
These stainless bento boxes. The steel part comes out so you only need to wash that piece. Love that!
This adorable lunch box for Lilly. Stripes never go out of style, amiright?!
So anyway, I hope that gives you some new ideas on things you can prep ahead on Sundays to make your week a bit smoother. I know as the Mom sometimes all the prep in the morning can fall on us and I always scoring some tips to make things easier to tackle when everyone is trying to get out the door.
Have a great Monday!
This post is part of buybuy BABY’s sponsored #babyhood series; blog posts created to share the ups, downs, and in-betweens of motherhood as well as the products we Mamas use and love that make our lives just a little bit easier. Raising babies is work best shared and I hope my posts help build up your village of resources, friends, and information to make that work as fun and fulfilling as it can be.