Five tips for faster school lunches
Making school lunches can be the difference between leaving the house on time every morning or running that few minutes late. It’s a common scene in kitchens as food items are quickly cobbled together and squeezed into crammed lunchboxes before the daily dash out the door.
But there are ways to fast-track the lunch process to ensure a smoother trip out of the house each day.
Here are five tips for preparing faster school lunches:
1. The freezer is your friend
It’s quicker to make a series of lunch items in bulk than to start afresh each morning. Some sandwich spreads will last for several weeks in the freezer. Rice or pasta dishes will do the same. They can be made on a weekend, wrapped or placed in containers and then frozen. The rice or pasta dishes can be reheated in the morning before lunch is packed while the sandwiches will thaw perfectly in time for lunch break.
Here’s an easy Macaroni ‘n’ Cheese recipe with hidden vegetables for fussy eaters. You can even freeze the macaroni in a muffin pan for easy serving.
2. Get your snacks prepared
This can be the most important asset for anyone hoping to master the lunch-making process. Prepare a series of snacks before the start of each week, ready for deployment into lunch boxes. There are so many healthy options for the snack patrol: biscuits and crackers in ziplock bags; raisins and dried fruit; muesli bars; slices of carrot; and bunches of grapes. You can also consider yoghurts and dips that are easy to place and add variety to lunches.
If you need some inspiration, here is 90 healthy lunch ideas for kids by Natalie at superhealthykids.com.
3. Engage children in the lunch process
Many a good baking career was launched by a child in the kitchen. If you have time on the weekend, help your children bake some items that can be used in lunch boxes during the week. They will feel more engaged in the process, they will learn vital skills around the kitchen and they will enjoy the satisfaction of eating what they have helped to prepare.
Bestrecipes.com.au have put together 34 easy baking recipes for kids that you can try this weekend.
4. Use a good-quality lunchbox
They say that a good worker never blames their tools. That doesn’t have to be the case in the kitchen. If you’re trying to pack lunch into containers that are too old or too small for a growing child, then feel free to blame away. It can be a huge relief to have a quality lunchbox that enables that daily process to become easier. Look for a lunchbox that best suits your child.
5. Plan school lunches ahead
Sometimes, the old pen and paper is still a saviour for planning ahead. Before each week, think about the likely lunch items for the week. If you’re using the above tips, a lot of that will be sorted for you. But sometimes you may note down changes in your schedule such as sports carnivals or special days at school that will alter your usual approach. That can help to prepare for those busy mornings when a spare minute can feel as valuable as a spare hour on the weekend.
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