School Lunch Preparation

Sunday nights are a huge preparation night in our house. At the beginning of the school year, I promised myself that I wouldn’t stress out every morning, and planned on a number of tasks that would reduce the craziness that seems to descend on a school morning. One of the biggest stress inducers last year was making and packing lunch – so we needed a new process. So far it has been working really well!!

On Saturday, we have a little meeting about what will go in lunchboxes for the week. I have decided that they will get the same lunch every day for the week. I don’t mind if it changes the following week, but no daily changes! So we have to decide on a sandwich filling (must be able to be frozen), fruits, and slice/biscuit. I then have the weekend to shop and bake as required. Then everything goes into the freezer ready for the week!

I am really enjoying the fact that the children have limited packaged or processed foods. There is something quite satisfying about sending them  off with food that I have lovingly prepared myself.

So here is my Sunday night stash!

Each night I go to the freezer with my little “lunchbox container” and stock it with all the goodies for the next day. This is then put into the fridge so that the contents slowly defrost overnight.

And then in the morning, I simply pop the cold block in the insulated lunch box, and pack it straight from the fridge.

This has been working really for us, but there are a few things I need to tweak a little. For starters, there is so much plastic wrap!!!!! I don’t like this because it’s not an environmentally friendly way to pack food, it gives the food a funny taste and it’s not always easy to unwrap. So I have been looking for an alternative and I have found some awesome products – I’ll share them with you in the next few days.

The second thing is that I am yet to work out my freezer containers. In the photo above, I have used a mish mash of Decor and Tupperware containers, and Ikea snaplock bags. I am working on a solution for this too and will let you know when I have it all organised!

The packing of lunchboxes each morning now takes less than 5 minutes, which means more time to brush hair, tie shoelaces and look for the library book that always gets lost on Sunday night!

Comments

  1. Great idea except that maybe your kids might not like eating the same thing for a week. It may get a bit boring.

    • You would think so, wouldn’t you? But they set the menu every weekend and for three weeks in a row they have asked for the same thing lol. Which is fine with me if it makes them happy and means they eat their lunch every day. We do lots of variety at dinner and on the weekends so they’re not missing out :)

  2. I’m intrigued with the idea but am not sure what kind of sandwich would freeze, except for peanut butter and jelly. What do you usually pack?

    • I’m interested in hearing about what you usually pack.. i’m lost when it comes to knowing what you can freeze, how long it has to be defrosted and stuff

      • Janet in my freezer now I have Choc Chip cookies, Peach and Yoghurt slice, mini chocolate muffins, Banana and Choc Chip muffins, Apple Pikelets, and Chicken Balls. I use my frozen foods within two weeks, and it all defrosts in the fridge the night before I need it.

    • Hi Debra! My children are only 6 and 4 so their tastes are pretty simple! Right now they are loving cheese and ham, but any sliced meat, chicken, fish, cheese spreads and peanut butter freeze well. Vegemite is also a very popular spread for Australian children. Foods that don’t freeze well are hard-boiled egg whites, mayonaise, salad dressing and honey.

  3. I love this idea…. how much easier would life be….. my only issue is i’m not good at freezing and defrosting… i have a phobia about it… very concerned about hygiene and food posining…. some tips on freezing and defrosting and som recepies of the slices/biscuits you freeze would be great… look forward to hearing about your freezing solutions and less use of wrapping paper… cheers

    • Hi Janet – you are right to be concerned – there certainly are rules to follow when freezing and de-frosting, but they are pretty straight forward and nothing to be too scared about. Sandwiches should be made with fresh ingredients and placed in the freezer immediately (this keeps then nice and fresh). Wrap the sandwiches in freezer wrap, and make sure that it is well sealed. I wrap mine individually and then also place in a Decor or Tupperware container with the lid on. Label and date the container (or each sandwich) and use within two weeks. The key with defrosting is to place the food in the fridge to defrost – so take it out the night before and place it in the fridge. Never leave it out on the kitchen bench to defrost. Also use an insulated lunch bag, or a box with an ice-block (or frozen drink bottle), so the food stays cool until lunch time. Hope this helps :)

  4. Rather than wrapping each item in the glad wrap what about using baking type paper between each layer in the container?
    My mum used to do this for slices/cakes/scones when we had a huge bake day then freeze them. When it came time to eat them it made getting them out very easy.

  5. Just a quickie re the plastic wrap. We haven’t had plastic wrap in the house now for several years and don’t miss it. I dribbled on here about some ideas/alternatives.
    http://seemyfootprints.blogspot.com/2011/02/stainless-apples-bananas-cut-what-and.html#more
    It’s an upfront cost for long term benefit… you won’t be buying endless boxes of plastic wrap so it will pay for itself pretty quick AND because I think they’ll last their schooling life, they’ll more than pay for themselves. AND yippee it’s all in one – no lids to lose or fifty different tiny containers.

    It’s the usual – a little more outlay up front, for long term $ benefit AND Eco-benefit. Anyway, just thought I’d share bc there seem to be a lot of people in your boat :)

    • Hi Kristy – that’s really interesting. I think the cost is quite reasonable considering how long they would last. My initial concern would be about the heat, and keeping food cool. Do you find that is an issue?

      • There’s a spot for ice brick/s inside the insulated bag… I think however many ice bricks you want in the bag and it would keep cool quite well. Even contemplated one for me for UNI lol
        The site is quite good, there’s a vid etc and their FAQ is great.

        Looking forward to the start of Term 2 (but no rush lol) so we can finally order and see for ourselves :)

Trackbacks

  1. [...] You may remember my post from last week about preparing the children’s lunches. One of my missions was to find an alternative to all the plastic wrap that seemed to be pervading [...]

Speak Your Mind

*