I know that school lunchboxes can be a real drain, both on your time and energy levels! There’s nothing like getting to 9 o’clock at night and realising that you have nothing to pack for school lunches! And if you’re in Queensland like me, the supermarkets are already closed! Trust me, there are very few vegan options at my local 24 hour supermarket! So I’ve put together my top 5 tips to make vegan lunchboxes easy, and save you from that late night dash to the supermarket we’ve all had!
Listen to the Podcast Episode
Prep Lunchbox Food Ahead on the Weekend
My biggest timesaver when it comes to School Lunchboxes is to prep as much ahead on the weekend as possible. I normally spend an hour on the weekend making some muffins, protein balls, sandwiches, pizza and cutting up fruit and veggies. Then it literally takes me a couple of minutes to throw together a lunchbox during the week. These days I normally get my kids to pack their own lunches – so I get to save time, and teach them some responsibility!
Freeze Food Ahead
My secret weapon for quick and easy lunchboxes is definitely my freezer! You can freeze just about anything ahead! I freeze protein balls, muffins, sandwiches, cookies, muesli bars, pizza, pies, sausage rolls and more! Simply make sure they’re fully wrapped to avoid freezer burn, and separated by baking paper so they don’t stick together. And the best thing is, you don’t even have to defrost them before you pack them. They’ll defrost and be all ready to eat by lunchtime.
Have 2 Lunchboxes Per Child
I bought a second lunchbox for each of my kids last year, and let me tell you, it saved so much time and energy! Back when I only had one lunchbox, I was having to wash the lunchboxes by hand each evening before I could pack them. I don’t know how many times I forgot, and had to scramble to wash out the lunchboxes as we were all heading out the door! But once I had a second lunchbox, I could just put the dirty lunchbox into the dishwasher each evening, and pack the second one for the next day! I also started packing lunchboxes ahead during the day to make my evenings simpler. I know it sounds simple, but getting a second lunchbox really is life changing!
Make Lunches While You’re Making Dinner
Another time saver is to make your kids’ lunchboxes while you’re already in the kitchen doing things. It’s really easy to cut up some extra veggies for lunchboxes when you’re already doing veggies for dinner. If you don’t have food prepped, it’s quite easy to make some sandwiches while you’re stirring a curry. I really love to economise my time in the kitchen as much as possible – and I figure if I’m already in there cooking, I might as well take advantage and get the lunches done too!
Keep Some Pantry Items on Hand
When I’m shopping, I always grab some easy lunchbox foods that I can just keep in the pantry and fridge. That way, if I don’t get a chance to make lunchbox food ahead, then I don’t need to go for that late night dash to the supermarket. You can get a full healthy lunchbox from pantry ingredients. I try to keep on hand muesli bars, chocolate chickpeas (my kids’ favourites!), sultanas, fruit cups, and then some jam or vegan cheese to make a sandwich. And then even on my busiest nights when life gets in the way, I can still pack a quick and easy lunchbox!
Need Help Making Your Lunchboxes Easy?
If you’d like some help prepping and freezing your kids’ lunchbox foods ahead each week, I do weekly Lunchbox Plans in my Vegan Lunchbox Vault. When you sign up, you get 20 weeks of plans (enough for two full terms! And then you can reuse them!) with recipes, freeze ahead instructions, and full nutrition breakdowns for the lunchboxes. I also give you lots of guides on how to freeze and prep ahead all of your foods, including fruits and veggies! You can find out more about the Vegan Lunchbox Vault here.