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Make Ahead School Lunch Ideas

It’s hard to believe that the first day of school is just around the corner.  The summer has once again flown by and two out of my three kids are in school full time.  That means double the early mornings, double the school supplies, and double the packed lunches!

 We are firm believers in the packed lunches around this house…I like to know exactly what my kids are eating {and want to save the money too!}.  But that means coming up with fresh, healthy, and portable food every day.  And our summertime lunches of heated up leftovers just won’t cut it at school.   And let’s face it, I’m just not that creative {or a morning person}….so I can’t be one of these moms.


So I’ve been scouring the internet {aka Pinterest} for some easy, make ahead meals.  Preferably ones I can maybe freeze too.  Here’s what I came up with:

I love the idea of smoothies.  Healthy AND yummy.  But they are kind of a pain to make every morning…..but, if I make several and freeze them, by the time the kids’ lunchtime rolls around, they shold be nice and thawed in the lunchbox!  This site has a bunch of different flavor ideas.

Meet the Dubiens

And I found a bunch of cute ideas of muffin-tin lunches.  Although my kids won’t have access to a microwave, I’m hoping if I heat them up in the morning and wrap them in foil, they’ll stay pretty warm.

Little Potpies stocked with veggies and meat and topped with Bisquick!

Betty Crocker

Don’t you just love the tiny pepperoni?

Really From Pinterest

Here’s one I make all the time.  The personalized mac and cheese bites are definitely a crowd pleaser, and they are yummy hot OR cold!

Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Bites Recipe #CookinComfort #CollectiveBias #shop

Palmettos and Pigtails

This site has a ton of great freezer and toddler recipes.  Here are two of our favorite.

 Ring Around the Rosies

And the seven layer dip that is my Go-To recipe to um, every single party? What if I just make them in little individual Tupperware instead?

The Girl Who Ate Everything 

I also had a few of my own ideas too! {gasp!}

  • Mix 8 oz. of cream cheese with a pack of dry ranch dressing.  Spread it on tortillas and sprinkle diced veggies on top.  Roll tightly, using a dollop of the ranch mix to seal the roll-up, then slice into one-inch thick pinwheels.  This makes a ton, so you’ll be set for at least a week!
  • Separate the triangles from a Pillsbury Crescent Roll can.  On each triangle, spread a bit of vidalia onion dressing.  Add a small piece of cheese and a granny smith apple slice.  Roll up and bake according to package directions.  Try the same thing with pesto, mozzarella and sun-dried tomatoes or string cheese, pizza sauce and pepperoni.  What about ham and cheese?  Or bacon and eggs inside?  Super portable and freezer-friendly!
  • I also thought about making little burrito bowls.  Taco meat, cheese and salsa in a Tupperware in the freezer.  Thaw it out and top with sour cream for the lunchbox? Yummmm…..

I also plan on stocking up on and pre-washing, cutting and bagging various fruit, veggies, cheese cubes, and crackers.  I’ve found that if I slice apples, soak them in some sort of lemon-lime carbonated drink {like Sprite} for about 5 minutes and then store in ziplock bags {squeeze the air out!}, they will last all week without turning brown!

What are your go-to quick lunch ideas?

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2 Responses to Make Ahead School Lunch Ideas

  1. Lynne August 14, 2015 at 10:50 am #

    I taught for MCPS in Bethesda and in Silver Spring for 12 years before staying home when my 2nd was born. My first was also born in 2009. We now live in Mt Pleasant. Great lunch ideas as I send my eldest to Kindergarten this year. Thanks!

  2. Shara Ray
    Shara Ray August 29, 2015 at 10:21 pm #

    What a small world Lynne….I bet we know some of the same people in the MCPS system! Thanks for reading!