Have your kids already gone back to school? And if they havent, are you ready for Back to School? I’ve put together a big list of all the best Lunchbox Hacks to help you prepare you for Back to School!
I’d also love for you to share your favorite Lunchbox Hacks! Just leave a comment with your favorite tips & tricks!!
My kids have these PBTeen Lunchboxes that open at the bottom and have a separate top area. I like to put the lunch container, Drinks and Ice Pack in the top and then snacks in the bottom, this keeps the food separated plus they seem to be really well made lunchboxes and they have plenty of space in them. You can grab these lunch boxes for as low as $19.99 and they will last you years!
1. Freeze Peanut Butter Sandwiches (Uncrustables)
Make and Freeze Peanut Butter Sandwiches ahead of time in a Freezer Bag. Take one out of the freezer each morning and it’s thawed and ready at lunchtime. This will save you so much time each morning by having sandwiches ready to grab and go.
If your kids aren’t allowed to have Peanut Butter at school because of food allergies in other children, consider buying this great alternative PB option WOW BUTTER for just $3.54 at Amazon! Wow Butter is Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Vegan, Wheat Free, and Kosher!!
2. Use Saran Wrap or a RubberBand to keep your Apples Slices Fresh
Wrap a Sliced Apple back up with the core using Saran Wrap or a Rubber Band. By keeping the apple core in tact you reduce the amount of air touching the surface of the apple to reduce browning. When your kids un-wrap the apple it will already be sliced and ready to eat!
3. Use Small Containers for Sauces
We use these small Containers and they make a FANTASTIC Way to store and send sauces and condiments. If your kids love things like Ranch Dressing, Italian Dressing or Ketchup then this Is a mess free option.
4. Use Drinks as Ice Packs
Freeze Capri Suns and other Juice Drinks to use as Ice Packs in Lunchboxes, this frees up space in your kids lunchboxes and also makes them lighter to carry. The drinks will thaw by lunchtime while still remaining cold and helping to keep food fresh.
5. Make a Snack Station
Create a Snack Station in your Fridge and Pantry, let your older kids make their own lunches by pulling one or 2 of each items and placing them in their lunchbox.
6. Write Secret Messages in Banana
Here’s a fun Lunchbox Treat!! You can use a toothpick to write a fun message in a Banana, as it starts to brown the message will be revealed.
7. Use Skewers for Meat & Cheese
An easy way to make Meat & Cheese easy for kids to eat is by placing it on a Skewer!! We use these fun cute picks in our lunches and the kids love seeing which one they get everyday!!! The are not sharp so they will not harm or hurt anyone who uses them!
8. Make your own Ice Packs
You can make your own Ice Packs by using Sponges filled with water and frozen then placed in a Ziploc Bags.
9. Print out Lunch Notes at the beginning of the Month
Save yourself some time and Print & Cut Lunch Notes at the beginning of the month. There are so many different Free Printables Available, Make a bag of pre-cut notes and jokes and then you can quickly grab one each morning and add to your kids Lunchboxes. If you want to add a personal note you can turn the printable over and write something specific to each kid.
10. Pack Your Own Single Servings
Let kids help divide big bags into smaller servings to save money on lunchbox snacks. Use a Measuring Cup and Ziploc Bags to make the process quick and seamless.
11. Roll Up Anything
My kids love making their own Roll ups, Roll Up Cheese & Turkey, Peanut Butter and Jelly, Cheese, Chicken & Salsa and more! You can do this ahead of time or send the ingredients and let kids build their own.
12. Try Breakfast for Lunch
Use Whole Wheat Pancakes, Fruit & Boiled Eggs to create a fun Breakfast Themed Lunch that’s packed with protein and nutrients.
13. Find Alternate Sources of Protein
Use things like Hard Boiled Eggs, Nuts & Cheese to create a Balanced meal. Hard Boiled Eggs can be boiled and peeled at the beginning of the week then placed in individual bags to make them easy to grab and go.
14. Pack Chicken Nuggets in a Thermos
Keep Chicken Nuggets warm by cooking them in the oven then placing them in a Thermos Food Container with a paper towel at the bottom to absorb the extra moisture.
The secret is the paper towel, because it helps to absorb the moisture and keeps your nuggets from getting soggy.
We use these awesome thermos containers and food is always hot or cold at lunch time!!
15. Make Cheese Stick Sushi
Wrap a Cheese stick with Meat and a Tortilla then slice it for a fun twist on a traditional sandwich.
16. Combine Peanut Butter & Snacks in one container
Save yourself a container and place veggies and pretzel sticks in a jar with the Peanut Butter or Hummus already at the bottom.
17. Send Hot Dogs in a Thermos
Cut a Hot Dog in Half and place in Hot Water inside a Thermos, You can send a Hot Dog Bun cut in half in a bag and then kids can make their own Hot Dogs at lunch time.
18. Freeze Ice inside Your Water Bottle
Some Water Bottles are hard to get ice inside, you can fill a Water Bottle ¼ of the way full and then lay on it’s side and freeze. Then you can fill with water and the water stays cold as the ice melts.
19. Make Your Own Fruit Cups
Skip the sugary syrup and cut up your own Fruits ahead of time. Use Cookie Cutters to make fun shapes and find containers with lids to use to store these fruit cups in the fridge for the week.
20. Make your own Single Serve Macaroni Cups
If your children have access to a Microwave, you can divide a box of Macaroni & Cheese in Half and send in a Microwave Safe Container for kids to make their own lunches.
Just measure a box and divide it in half. It’s about 1/2 Cup of Macaroni and 2 1/2 Tablespoons of the Cheese Powder and add 1 Tbsp. of Powdered Milk. You’ll want to put the Macaroni in one bag and the Powder in another bag. Then fill a Microwave Safe Container with about 1 1/2 Cups of Water. They can microwave the pasta for about 4 minutes, then stir in the cheese & milk!
21. Use Cookie Cutters to Celebrate
You can use Cookie Cutters to shape your sandwiches, fruit & cheese into fun Holiday Shapes and fun Characters. This is a great way to make lunches fun and encourage kids to eat them.
22. Make your own Lunchables
Bento Boxes and Divided Storage Containers are great for making your own Lunchables! You can even leave the space for crackers empty to keep them fresh and keep these stored in the fridge, then add a bag of Crackers in the morning before you pack it in your child’s lunchbox.
You can get this set of 4 Easy Lunchboxes on Amazon!
23. Celebrate Birthdays with a “Present Lunch”
Wrap Sandwiches, Cheese Sticks, Chips and more in Gift Wrap for a fun Birthday Surprise!
24. Make your Own Fruit Leather
You can make Fruit Leather from Pureed Fruit without all the added chemicals, this is a fantastic way to help keep lunches healthy and my kids eat these up.
Check out this Recipe for Strawberry Roll ups!!!
2 Packages of Strawberries (16 oz. each)
1 Fresh Lemon
1/2 Cup Sugar
Start by Pureeing the Strawberries in a Blender, then strain the Strawberry Mixture into a Pan for the stove. You can skip the straining step but I really don’t like all the seeds in mine 🙂
Add in the Sugar and the Juice from 1 Lemon and Bring to a Boil. Reduce to Medium Heat for around 15 Min.
Pour Mixture into a Parchment Paper Lined Pan and Bake in the oven at 170 Degrees for around 3-4 hours until no liquid mixture is left.
Allow to Cool and Cut into Strips and Roll!
25. Create a Dip Tray
Things like Hummus and Peanut Butter are great additions to all kinds of Veggies and Pretzels, You can create a dip tray for a fun and easy to eat lunch.
26. Make a List of Lunches Ahead of Time
Start the year off by making a list of 12-15 different lunch ideas. Check out these ideas above, and then rotate through the list when you start feeling stuck during the year.
I like to add my kids lunch ideas to my menu plan, Each week when I’m planning my menu I go through the School Lunch Menu and decide which days they will eat at school and what I will pack each morning. It helps me stay focused and I can make sure I grab anything I need at the store so I’m not panicking last minute.
27. Use Rolls or Hot Dog Buns to Create Sliders
You can make Mini Sandwiches that fit perfectly in Lunchboxes and are great for kids by using dinner rolls or hot dog buns cut in half.
28. Pack Ahead
Use Bento Boxes to pack lunches before the week begins, this makes it easy to grab and go each morning in 5 minutes or less!
29. Lunch Box Smoothies
Make Smoothies with Fruits & Vegetables and freeze them, they will have a great slushy feel by the time they thaw slightly at Lunchtime. This is a great way to sneak in Nutrients into your kids lunches. You can store these in Reusable Silicone Popsicle Molds so they can be eaten quickly and easily or store in a Thermos to keep cold until lunch.
30. Use Muffin Liners as Separators
Add some color to your kids lunches using Silicone Muffin Liners, these are inexpensive and easy to wash + they help keep foods separate and create additional dividers in your kids Bento Boxes.