Back to school … 5 tips to make life easier
As we count down the days to the beginning of the school year, we’ve got some handy hacks to help make school lunches easier.
A snack system
Create snack containers in your pantry with different types of snacks so they are easy to grab when assembling school lunches. Older kids can choose their own items from the snack box to add to their lunch. You can organise them however suits you but one idea is to have a healthy snack container, a treat container and an after-school snack container. You can do the same in your fridge for chilled items.
We all know the importance of keeping food fresh and chilled, especially during the warmer summer months as the kids head back to school. Ice-packs designed for lunch boxes are readily available but if you have a child who loses things it can become expensive to keep buying replacements. You can easily make your own ice packs using a kitchen sponge. All you need to do is run the sponge under water and then place it into a freezer safe bag and freeze and you’ll have a cheap reusable ice-brick. Alternatively make use of lunch box ingredients to keep things chilled. Pop drink bottles in the freezer overnight so that they can do double-duty as an ice-brick to keep the lunchbox cool. They will defrost by recess so that your kids can enjoy a chilled drink. You can also freeze other lunchbox items like yoghurt and fruit cups in the same way.
Get it together
Save yourself a lot of time and frustration by creating a space in the kitchen for school (and work) lunch supplies. Putting lunch boxes and drink bottles and any other containers that you use for school lunches together in one spot will make things so much easier. Use a shallow cardboard box or a plastic bin to corral things together rather than have them loose in the cupboard and you can easily slide it out to grab what you need.
Work smarter, not harder
You can save a lot of time by packing lunches while you make dinner. If you’re chopping up vegetables for dinner, chop some extras for lunchboxes. If you’re making a meal that can be re-heated like pasta or curry, make some extra and freeze in individual serves for lunchboxes. These frozen portions can be defrosted overnight in the fridge when you are ready to use them.
Avoid soggy sandwiches
There’s nothing worse than biting into a soggy sandwich. To eliminate mushy bread, create a barrier against wet foods like tomato or beetroot by putting them between slices of cheese or ham.