Packing lunches can become super stressful, especially if you have multiple people in your family to pack for. There are easy ways to make planning ahead for weekly lunches less of a chore.
First, you must have the right equipment. I’m not talking about the right preparation equipment. What makes planning ahead easier is having food storage containers that actually make sense for the meals you’re planning. Once you have a variety of containers, next you need a plan.
These quick organization tips will make your lunch meal plans simple, fast, and healthy.
Tip #1: Repurpose Your Leftovers Thoughtfully
The reason a lot of people (myself included) don’t care for leftovers is because they don’t like eating the same thing multiple times in a row. So instead of packaging the exact same dinner for lunch the next day, try repurposing.
Here’s an example. For dinner, if you have roasted chicken and veggies, repurpose that chicken for a taco, salad, or even pasta for lunch the next day.
Tip #2: Use Divided Containers to Simplify Packing
I recently purchased three new containers for packing lunches. They each have multiple sections instead of just one large area for putting lunches in. This has made a huge difference in what I’m able to pack for lunch and how.
When you have a divided container, you can add in ingredients that would otherwise get soggy, stale, or less fresh if they were mixed in together. Salads are a perfect example. One container I bought has a storage area at the bottom, then a second layer where you can add your toppings and finally even a little container for your dressing. No need to take a separate dish just for dressing!
Tip #3: Create a Meal Plan
If you find yourself scrambling to pack a lunch before heading off to school or work, try planning ahead for a week’s worth of meals. With proper planning, you can easily spend less money and time planning for a week’s worth of meals.
The formula for packing a lunch is quite simple. You need one main course (protein, pasta, salad, etc) and two-three sides or extras depending. See how to plan 8 easy lunches with just a handful of common ingredients in our video below!
Tip #4: Get Creative With Ingredients (VIDEO)
Here’s a quick breakdown of each recipe plus you can download a meal planning guide to help you plan your meals each week. We did not include quantities so that you can adjust for the age of whoever the lunch is for.
To prep for this lunch meal plan, you’ll need to make these parts ahead of time. Each ingredient is used in 3 of the 8 meals.
- Hard boil eggs
- “Grill” chicken on stovetop (season with salt and pepper first!)
- Cook your favorite kind of pasta
Hard boiled eggs, clementines and grape tomatoes
Pasta, grapes and cheese
Grilled chicken (cubed), hard boiled eggs and cucumbers
Grilled chicken pasta (add olive oil and salt and pepper!), blueberries and grape tomatoes
Turkey wrap (tortilla of your choice, sliced turkey wraps, shredded cheese of your choice, and a condiment), carrots and cucumbers
Turkey stacks (stack your favorite cracker, cheese and slices of turkey), eggs, clentine
Caprese pasta (mix pasta, grape tomatoes and mozzarella cheese; add olive oil, salt and pepper if desired), blueberries, carrots
Chicken skewers (diced “grilled” chicken on a tooth pick), clementines, cheese, mixed tomatoes, cucumbers and carrots (all cut into small pieces)
Tip #5: Download Our Lunch Meal Plan Guide
To make planning easier, download this meal planning guide to visually plan out your meals each week!
What part of plannng lunches is most stressful for you?