It’s that time of year to organize, prep, and figure out a system of Back to School Lunches! You’ll love all the ideas for packing a lunch, making lunches at home, having kids help out with organizing their lunches, homemade snacks, and even printable templates to organize you through the process.
School is looking different for so many of us this year. At home learning, homeschool, half days, split time with school and virtual learning— so many different ways! One thing that stays the same, they all need to eat!
For all of you organized moms (or wanna be organizers like me), having some concrete plans in place for how you want lunchtime to work is so helpful. I set to work after hearing from many of you on Instagram that you needed some lunch and snack ideas. Not only recipe ideas for you, but also ways that your kids can be involved and make their own lunches as well. Especially if they are home!
So whatever your school situation looks like this year, this can be helpful to us all!!
Tips for Back to School Meal Planning:
Here are a few of the ways you can organize your lunch ideas:
- Create a template of ideas. For most kids, let them choose what they will be eat each day. I’ve created a super simple template that has main course options along with fruit, veggie, and snack options. For my kids, I let them choose 1 per category (sometimes 2 snacks).
- Fill out the days of the week template with what your child has chosen. Stick it on the fridge so they can see what they will pack each morning (or what they will be making for themselves). This also helps when you do grocery shopping each week. You’ll know what your child has chosen to eat and plan accordingly.
- Make ahead a few items on the weekend. For example, one dinner type main course that can be used as lunch prep, and one snack. One way I have done lunches in the past, is that my kids will eat the same lunch all week! It makes things so much easier, and it changes the next week. They can vary up the fruits/veggies or snacks if they prefer. An example would be, make a batch of meatloaf muffins, and one batch of energy bites. The lunches will center around those two items all week, but still gives kids flexibility on other items. I’ll make a list below of my favorite main course items and recipes!
- Keep a stash of store bought pantry snacks for those weeks where you need to hit the easy button. This post on Healthy Store Bought Snacks for Kids is full of great options and links to purchase online!
Easy Main Course Ideas:
Here are a few of my favorite main course ideas that my kids can put together themselves:
- Hummus wraps in a tortilla– store bought hummus with any additional items liked sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, or even deli meat
- Avocado egg salad
- Baked beans or refried beans
- Avocado toast
- Store bought pre-cooked sausages (my favorite brand is Aidells)
- Hard boiled eggs
Easy Main Course Recipe Ideas:
A few of my dinner/main course recipes work perfectly to make ahead on the weekend and pack for lunches during the week. Here are a few of my kids’ favorites!
Avocado Chicken Salad with Bacon (this one doesn’t hold up as well, about 2-3 days, but is a HUGE hit)
Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Basil Bisque
Italian Pasta Salad (you can do with regular pasta or noodles)
Instant Pot Chicken Tinga (this makes the best chicken tacos!)
Instant Pot Sausage Pizza Soup
Homemade Treats and Snack Ideas:
I’ve included recipes that are great to get kids helping out in the kitchen. Plenty of baked goods in here which also make easy breakfast, lunch, or snack ideas!
Peanut Butter and Honey Banana Muffins
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Granola Bars
Maple Apple Pecan Energy Bites
Chia Pudding (3 different flavors!)
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