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Preparing healthy homeschool lunches is a challenge. Here are one homeschool mom’s great tips and meal ideas to stop the daily lunchtime scurrying.
I don’t know about you, but when I’m in the middle of a busy homeschool day, making time to stop and prepare a healthy lunch sometimes just doesn’t happen and we end up eating the same old boring sandwiches.
In my quest to find a way to serve something that wasn’t between two slices of bread, I started making ahead a few items and realized that if I prepared items in bulk once a week I wouldn’t have to scurry around trying to get a healthy lunch on the table every day.
How to Make Ahead Healthy Homeschool Lunches
Now, before I share this simple method I do want to say it requires a little bit of time and effort. But instead of taking time every day, you’ll do this in one session once a week and be prepared for a whole week’s worth of healthy lunch ideas!
Step One: Prepare your fresh ingredients
The first step in getting a healthy lunch on the table is to prepare your fresh ingredients. We often buy plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables but find they don’t get eaten because they need to be peeled or chopped. So, instead of peeling and slicing each time you want to serve a side of carrot sticks or orange slices, do them all at once for the whole week!
Choose two or three fruits and two or three vegetables that will stay fresh in the refrigerator for a week (depending on the number of children you’re feeding) and get to work. Slice, chop, and prepare the fruits and veggies and simply store in divided containers (keep one filled with sliced fruit and one filled with chopped vegetables) in the refrigerator for the week.
To make this step easy, I usually choose two fruits that need to be cut up and one that does not (for example, I may slice oranges and pineapple and include grapes in the container). Then I repeat the process for vegetables — choosing two that need to be chopped and one that does not.
Step Two: Prepare your pantry and refrigerated ingredients
Once you’ve finished preparing your fresh ingredients for the week, the hardest part is over! The next step is to prepare two more containers – for the refrigerator and the pantry. In these two containers you’ll focus on the other parts of your healthy lunch – proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Choose your items, pre-package them into snack-sized bags, and store in the refrigerator or pantry containers.
Below, you’ll find a list of things you could include. Choose two or three proteins/fats and two or three carbohydrates (depending on the size of your family and how much variety you prefer during your weekly lunches).
And one more tip — if it’s in your budget, look for pre-portioned items at the grocery store during your weekly shopping trips (like string cheese sticks or small yogurt containers). It will make this step just a little bit easier since you’ll only need to add those items to your lunch container each week.
Healthy Lunch Ideas
Here are some ideas for your refrigerator and pantry containers (browse your local grocery store for even more ideas – looking for prepackaged single serve items):
- Sliced deli meats
- Shredded chicken
- Cubed or string cheese
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Granola or granola bars
- Nuts or trail mix
Once you have your four containers prepared each week, getting a healthy lunch on the table will be so simple! Pull out your containers, plates, and let your kids choose the things they’d like to eat – selecting one thing from each container so they eat a well-rounded meal. Easy!
Buy your containers and get to work — you’ll make lunchtime so much easier!
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