Whether you’re boarding the back-to-school boat or slipping onto the return-to-routine ship, chances are the matter of packed lunches is looming large for you. The good news is that, following this post, the hardest part of the process is going to be dreaming up the actual lunch food combos. I won’t be offering a morsel of assistance on that front either, let’s get that clarified up front. But hey, what I can offer you are five tips for making lunch packing painless. You’ll save precious seconds in the AM, increase your kitchen’s orderliness, and probably manage to create better, more well-balanced meals as a result. I’m just hypothesizing here.
Things will zing along in the morning if you’ve taken the time to do the prep work the night or week before. Tasks like slicing up fruits and veggies, portioning out bags of snacks, and so on can all be done ahead of time to ensure that come the morning-of, all that’s left to do is spread some PB&J on a couple slices of bread and call it a packed lunch.
2. Keep a lunch bin in the fridge
Corral all perishable lunch items in a bin in the refrigerator. This will allow you to reach right for your lunch supplies, without having to search through the entire fridge abyss to locate that container of yogurt. You can also allocate one bin per lunch item; create a ready-to-go-sandwich bin by storing all refrigerated items you’ll need to compose said sandwich together: mustard and mayonnaise, deli meats, cheese, peanut butter and jelly, and so on. You can then easily grab all the contents at once, set the bin on the counter, get to sandwich-ry, and boom, you’re done.
3. Create a lunch bin in the pantry
This is the non-perishable counterpart to the lunch fridge bins. Lunch items like energy bars, pre-portioned bags of snacks, and so on should live together in one bin, basket or other container. Just as keeping all perishable lunch items together alleviates the need to search for ingredients, so too does the pantry lunch bin keep foods at the ready.
4. Set up a lunch packaging and container hub
Ensure that you have to consult only one spot in order to find all lunch packing containers and other supplies, including: lunch bags, lunch boxes, ziploc bags, small food storage containers, napkins, plastic or special lunch silverware, thermoses, and so on. You might also consider keeping some money in this location for any lunch time purchases, as well as some notecards and a pen, if you’re in the habit of including lunch love notes (my mom routinely did this, and I do believe the other children were always a little envious of the sweet deal I had going on at home).
When it’s go time, grab some fruits, veggies, yogurt, and cheeses from the lunch bin, scoop up some crackers and a sweet treat from the pantry bin, slap together a little sandwich here, a salad-in-a-jar there, pull out a bag or box and deposit the food, toss in the extra supplies and wham-bam-thank-you-MA’AM.
That there is lunch, packed. Tomorrow I’ll be back with some all-star lunch products that will make this whole process even more spicy, you just wait.
What are your favorite lunch-packing tips, hmmmm?Image credits: 1. Babble, Girl Walks Into a Barbell, Snapware, 2. The Handmade Home, Raising up Rubies, I Heart Organizing, Blooming Homestead, 3. Bowl Full of Lemons, Blooming Homestead, 4. Living on Love and Cents, Wendolonia, unknown, 2 Little Hooligans, 5. The Handmade Home, Hi Sugarplum, Parents, Good Housekeeping