Lately I’ve been obsessed with simplifying our lunches and creating a good lunch prep routine. Our sons usually eat lunch quite early, but on days they have preschool, they end up having lunch a little bit later. By the time we get home from school, they are grouchy, and they want food. IMMEDIATELY.
For months, I’ve been scrambling around, trying to make our lunches as quickly as possible. Finally, I did some pre-prep work, and now I’m able to get lunch on the table in under five minutes.
Super Simple, Quick Lunch Ideas You Can Make In Advance
- Prepare peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and turkey and cheese sandwiches. Not super exciting, but they do the trick. I buy the big loaves of bread at Costco, and I make a bunch of sandwiches at once. I put them in freezer bags, and throw them in the freezer. On days when I know I’m going to need a quick lunch, I transfer a few sandwiches from the freezer to the fridge. By the time we get home, they’re ready to eat.
- Roll-ups. I buy tortillas, and line them with turkey and cheese. I roll them up, and then cut them into individual portions. These can also be frozen in freezer bags.
- Macaroni and Cheese. If I make macaroni and cheese during the week, I try to make a double batch. Then, I put the leftovers in the fridge. The leftovers microwave up pretty nice, and they make part of a quick meal.
- Fruit and veggie sticks. I spend some time cutting up pieces of fruit and veggies to serve with lunches. That way, I can throw a couple of strips of green peppers and a sliced apple on the plates to make things a tad more healthy.
- Our sons love yogurt topped with a little bit of fruit or honey. I just have to scoop it into a small bowl, and it’s ready to go. On days when I know we’re going to be eating lunch later, I try to have those bowls prepared ahead of time. You could also buy individual yogurt cups to cut down on your prep time.
- If we have leftovers that are really easy to heat up and serve, we’ll have them for a quick lunch. If leftover prep is a little more involved, I’ll save them for a day when I have more time.
Having a few things on hand at home has really cut down on our lunch-time distress. It’s allowed me to be a calmer mom, because I’m not scrambling, and trying to think of lunch ideas while the kids are ravenous and needing my attention.
Another thing I sometimes do is pour drinks in advance. That way I can give the kiddos a drink as soon as they get in the house, and I’m not fumbling around with cups and milk cartons.
Do you have any ideas for quick, easy-to-prepare lunches? Please leave your ideas in the comments. If we have enough suggestions, I’d love to do a follow-up post featuring your ideas.