It can sometimes be overwhelming to come up with new lunch ideas. As a mom who makes 5 kid lunches daily, Sylina has come up with many healthy and fun lunch ideas that will keep the kids happy and make your life easier! With more than 24,000 followers on Instagram, hundreds of handy lunch tutorials on YouTube as well as a growing Facebook group dedicated solely to Bento Lunchbox Ideas–she is excited to share and inspire others to pack healthy lunch boxes too!
We do it with our dinners – so why not meal plan our lunches too! For most of us with children or who work outside of the home, making lunches is a daily task that can quickly ware us down. Planning your lunches ahead of time doesn’t have to take a lot of effort but it can make all the difference in how much we enjoy our lunches AND how much we enjoy making our lunches too. Who needs the stress of packing lunch, just to get to lunch time and dread eating it? Not me – not my children – and definitely not you! Here are some lunch planning tips to get you started on the right track!
>>Keep reading to the end to see how YOU can WIN your choice of Bentgo Lunch Box and a matching My Lunch Box Diary!
5 Tips for Meal Prepping your Lunches
- Write it down! The first step to a successful meal plan is to write it down! It’s important to know what your schedule for the week will look like – which days will you need a lunch, which days will you need extra snacks or drinks. Are you meal prepping for your own lunches, your child’s lunches or both? Knowing these details can help you to estimate how much food you will need for the week and allow you to make an appropriate grocery list. Not only will writing down your plan keep you more accountable, you’ll find that you end up wasting less food and staying on track with your lunch goals. Yes – you need to make a lunch goal and write it down too! Along with your meal plan and lunch goals, you should also get into the habit of recording your favorite recipes and lunch/snack ideas. Having these on hand will help immensely with tip 3 and 4 below!
- Have the right stuff. This includes your favorite snacks, fruits, veggies, protein and other food staples as well as kitchen tools and gadgets like slow cookers, pressure cookers, air fryer, blender, muffin tins, knives, slicer etc. BUT most important is having the right containers! The Bentgo Kids is perfect for your kids’ lunches because you can also get the extra storage lids and inserts to meal prep for a full week or for bigger appetites – the Bentgo Fresh, Bentgo Glass or Bentgo Salads are perfect with the multiple sealed compartments. You’ll also want to have a set of larger containers to hold all the prepped food for the week – reusing grocery store disposable containers are great for this purpose as the large salad containers are transparent so that you can see what’s inside and it fits a decent amount of cut up lettuce, veggies or fruit.
- Prepare ahead. Batch cooking and baking can be a real time saver! Making a big batch but creating smaller portions that you can store in the fridge or freeze can cut your lunch making time in half. Using muffin tins are perfect for this as they are just the right portions! If you’re not into scheduling time for batch cooking – just double your dinner portions when you’re making meatloaf, pasta, rice etc. – you’d be amazed how little effort and extra time is needed! Prepping any veggies by washing and cutting them up and keeping your fruit visible and easily accessible will make it all that much easier to grab and go when you need it. Not only is that great for meals, but it also applies to sauces, dips, and spice – the more options you have available – the more variety it will give your prepped meals. Buying in bulk is another great way to have food ready quick. Did you see muffins, cookies, protein balls, spring rolls, fruits, veggies, oatmeal etc. on sale? Buy them and freeze them in individual portions. Having your go-to favorites will come in handy on those days you just didn’t make it to the grocery store, running late on time or just feeling lazy. Keeping your pantry stocked with crackers, grains, pasta, canned fruits or veggies is never a bad idea either!
- Use what you have. Keep it simple by cleaning out your fridge, pantry, and freezer first and using up any leftovers before they go bad. Re-inventing leftovers can be just as delicious and satisfying as the original meal. Adding new sauces, spices, ingredients or even changing its shape by shredding or chopping it up can trick your brain into thinking its something new. You’d be surprised how putting leftovers onto a kabob can instantly turn it into a yummy treat (add some dipping sauce and it just takes it over the edge!). Not only should you be looking to use up your leftover meals, use up those week-old berries or veggies in a quick and easy mixed salad or smoothie. Don’t forget that we also eat with our eyes so take a couple of extra moments to make it look pretty because sometimes just adding a pop of color can make all the difference!
- Evaluate. Even if you make it through planning just one lunch, a week’s worth of lunches or even a months worth of lunches – it’s always a good idea to take a moment to evaluate your meal. Reflect on what you planned to pack for lunch, what you ended up packing as well as anything you would’ve changed about it. This will help you to keep a physical record of what worked or didn’t work for you and make it so much easier to plan for future meals. After all – meal planning isn’t worth it if you don’t enjoy your meal! So take it easy, enjoy your food and pat yourself on the back – you’re on the right track!
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ENTER HERE! There will be 5 winners chosen – One might be you!
*Giveaway ends March 11th and the winner will be announced March 12th.
There you have it – my 5 tips for successfully meal planning your lunches. Do you have any tips or recipes that help you to manage your daily lunches? Share them in the comments and let’s build a plan together!
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