With school around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about school lunches. Batch cooking at the start of the week is a great way to save time and ensure that you’re sending your kids off to school with healthy meals. If you can set aside thirty minutes on Sunday night, you won’t be sorry every weekday morning the following week, when all you need to do is grab a portion for your child’s lunch box as you’re heading out. Here are a few recipes to get you started:
Sandwiches are something you can easily freeze, which makes them an amazing option for batch lunches. Make them on a Sunday night, and every weekday morning take them out of the freezer and put them into a lunch bag without an ice pack. By lunch time, they’ll be perfectly thawed and fresh! Genius, right? Most schools are peanut free, which cancels out the tried and true PB&J, so try these yummy combos instead:
Salads are a great way to sneak in protein and veggies. Brown rice, whole wheat pasta, or quinoa are great bases, then add chopped veggies like bell peppers, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, grated carrots, steamed beets or water chestnuts. Store dressing on the side instead of pre-mixing it in. This will help your salad last the full five days of the week without getting soggy. A serving should have at least ½ cup of base and ½ cup of add-ins, and dressing should be about an eighth of a cup, stored in a small jar or container designed to hold liquids.
Here’s a sample recipe that will feed one child for five lunches:
- 3 cups cooked quinoa, cooled
- 1 cup chopped bell peppers
- 1 cup chopped cucumber
- 1 cup grated carrot
- ¼ cup of oil (sesame oil or olive oil)
- ¼ cup of citrus juice (lime or lemon)
- Salt and pepper to taste
Who says you need bread or pasta in a lunch? Charcuterie lunches pack in protein, dairy, and vegetables, without carbs which little bodies process into sugar. Cut up your veggies and cheese and cook your meat all in one shot on Sunday night for easy packing. For kids with gluten-free diets, or to pack if you’ve already served bread at breakfast, try packing these ingredients in a bento box:
- Cold cuts, chicken pieces, or sausage
- Cubes or slices of their favourite cheese
- Carrot, pepper, and cucumber sticks
- Hummus on the side for dipping
Prepping school lunches as a batch will give you more time throughout the week to focus on other important things.
What about you? Have you ever prepped lunches as a batch? What batch prepping tips do you have? Let us know in the comments!