This post has been much requested and highly anticipated. I don’t want to disappoint all of you – so I’m going to do my best, while also keeping this post extremely real. I want to start out by saying… I am far from the perfect mother. I work too much, I get caught up on my phone, I lose my temper, and I am the COMPLETE opposite of a Pinterest mommy. But I like to think that where it counts… my heart is always in the right place. I try my best to teach my kids to be kind and polite. I try to instill a love of family and faith in the Lord. I love my kids more than life itself and I make sure that I tell them every chance I get. I try every day to be the best mom I can. I think we all do.
One day – I really hope I have the time to be able to make those adorable Pinterest lunches for my kids – but you know what? Today is not that day. Life right now is really. freaking. busy. It’s crazy hectic. So what I’m saying is… this post is nothing gourmet. This post is nothing cutesy. This post isn’t the usual blogger “lunch box” post. This post is really how Joe and I prep for our kids’ meals going into every week. This post is full of hacks – and not just “mom hacks”, I’ve decided I hate that term. These are “parent hacks” because raising these kids and packing lunch for my kids isn’t just mom’s responsibility. My husband makes lunches just as many days as I do – if not more.
What I’m sharing here are easy to make lunch ideas for your kids. Some are healthy, some are not. Which also brings me to my next point. I also really want to say this. If you send your kids to school with money to buy hot lunch once in a while… same. If you send your kids to school with “fresh leftovers” as my aunt likes to call them, from the night before – same. If you put vegetables in every lunch knowing full well that your toddler will never touch them – same. I am right there with you mommas. Here’s the deal – we’re all doing the best we can. That is all that matters.
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Every one of my kids’ lunches goes something like this – protein, carbs, vegetable, and a fruit of some sort. I also send them to school with snack packs, granola bars, and pouches. Yes – my 4 year old still eats pouches because God forbid I ask him to eat a real vegetable. So pouches are how we get him his greens. The key to all of my meal prep for the kids is ordering all our groceries on Sunday. Joe and I prep all the food for the week on Sunday and that ensures that everything is good to go for breakfasts and lunches all week long. I’ve divided our meal prep into categories below – and if there is a hack associated with any of the categories… it is listed!
Also before we start – I should say – the real key to success in packing lunch for my kids are these amazing Lunch Blox. They make it so easy to pack the right amount and to make sure my picky eaters don’t have any of their foods touching. I swore as a parent I would never give into the picky eater terrorism… but here we are. Such is life. Also – you should know – your kids don’t need a TON of food. I will be the first to admit it… I overpack my kids’ lunches every day. So when you see these photos of their lunches stuffed to the brim, I know I pack too much. I will always pack too much.
Also – here’s the deal. We meal prep on Sunday evening. Most proteins stay good in the fridge for 3-4 days via the google machine. I really push the envelope on that. I’m not telling you to do this… I am just saying, it is what I do. If you’re not comfortable with that – make Friday your chicken nuggets day and prep them by popping them in the oven on Thursday night.
This wasn’t originally supposed to be part of this post, but since it is relevant, I just threw it in. Every Sunday we prep 25 egg cups, 25 chicken sausage links, 2lbs of ground lean turkey, 15 waffles, and about 2lbs of strawberries. This gets us all through the week for breakfasts. Yes – I know it seems like overkill… but to not have to think about it every day is SO amazing. The egg cups are scrambled eggs in muffin tins. You bake at 350 for about 20 minutes. The sausages are put on a baking sheet – they also go in the oven 350 for 30 minutes. I rotate them about halfway through. The ground turkey is browned in a pan with a little bit of olive oil. Then the waffles are just regular waffles (store bought mix) and I throw the batter in a Mickey waffle maker. For the strawberries, as soon as they come home from the store I throw them in a soak of cold water and vinegar (this helps stop them from molding), I slice them immediately, and then they are stored in a tupperware container for the week. Easy as can be and it feels so good to give our kids a hearty breakfast every day.
For lunches we always start with the same couple of staples. We brown up a couple of pounds of ground turkey. We brown up some chicken sausages. We sear and then oven bake a large filet of salmon. Some weeks we cook up hamburgers… it just depends on how we feel and how we’ve been eating the weekend prior. I will hard boil a bunch of eggs in an egg cooker. Then we cook 3-4 boxes of mac n cheese. I boil 2lbs of pasta and coat it lightly in olive oil so the noodles don’t stick together. And we keep all of these pre made family favorites in large glass containers in the fridge. That way when we go to prep lunches every night – it is all right there! We also prep fruits and veggies on Sunday as well. Carrots – we buy the mini carrots, so those are good to go. Red bell peppers get sliced. Frozen yellow corn gets sautéed with a light drizzle of olive oil. You get the idea. Strawberries are done from breakfast prep.
- Ground Turkey
- Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
- Deli Turkey
- Chicken Nuggets
- Hard Boiled Eggs
- Chicken Sausage
- Bell Peppers
- Orange Slices
- Applesauce Pouches
- Fruit Pouches
- Pirate’s Booty
- Granola Bars
- Cheese sticks
When it comes to back to school shopping, Walmart is the destination for not only lunch box essentials, as I have listed here, but also all your back to school needs. All our kids’ backpacks and lunch boxes are from Walmart and they are adorable and incredible quality as well. I love that their website is SO easy to use and most everything you buy is free 2 day shipping. Walmart makes our lunch life so much easier and I hope it does the same for you!
** Thank you to Walmart for Sponsoring this Post***