Stop going crazy in the mornings and packing your kids' lunches at the last second! We've got some great lunch meal prep ideas that will make your mornings less stressful and are easy on the wallet, too!

Kid's lunch on a counter, from Shelf Cooking

Picture this: It's 6:30 on a Monday morning and you realize that you have to leave in 15 minutes and haven't packed any of your kids' school lunches yet… Ahhh!!! Looks like it's a messy PB&J, bag of chips, fruit snacks, and bottle of water for them again.

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Tired of that happening to you every. single. morning? Stop stressing out over your kids' lunches on busy mornings! Wanna know how? We've got the best tips comin' atcha! Come learn our best tricks and hacks for your kids' lunch meal prep. Oh and P.S. these will work for your lunches, too! Excited? You should be!!


Alright, are you ready for some game-changers? Start following these tips and watch your mornings become so much easier! No more rushing around, trying to get everything ready before you need to be out the door. Maybe, just maybe, you'll actually have a few minutes to spare?! *gasp*


Hands cutting strawberries on a cutting board, from Shelf Cooking

First off, you want to do as much lunch meal prep on the weekends as possible. Much like with our makeahead breakfast ideas, prepping your lunch items on the weekend will save you so much time and headaches on those busy weekday mornings!

  • Make freezer sandwiches. Whip up some chicken, tuna, or egg salad.
  • Make DIY lunchables (that will save you a bundle!).
  • Wash and prep your fruit and veggies for the week.
  • Get anything else ready that your kids like to take in their lunches.
  • Have spots in your fridge, freezer, and pantry where all of your school lunch items are kept.


Want to know our absolute favorite lunch meal prep hack?? HAVE YOUR KIDS PACK THEIR OWN LUNCHES AT NIGHT! Seriously, we're not joking! Not only will this save you time, but this allows them to be in charge of what they want to eat for lunch at school the next day.

Have them put anything from the pantry in their lunch box. Then, they can go ahead and decide on what they want their main course, fruit, and veggies to be and get those together in the refrigerator. That way, they know exactly what they need to grab the next morning before they pack their backpack up.


DIY lunchable on a counter, from Shelf Cooking

Start doing these lunch meal prep hacks and be amazed at how easy it is! Your kids will be excited about their school lunches and we can promise you they'll be eager to help out and take charge. You're welcome! 😉

  • Make your own bento box by using silicone cupcake liners in a food container. It'll keep their food separated without spending a lot on those boxes!
  • Stick frozen foods in the lunchbox in the morning and they'll be thawed by lunch! They also make for good freezer packs. This is great for freezer sandwiches, Gogurt, muffins, and more.
  • You can also freeze small water bottles or Capri-Sun and they'll have the same effect! They're a great ice pack and will thaw by lunch.
  • If you don't freeze your foods or drinks, no worries! Cheap kitchen sponges from The Dollar Tree in a baggie make good reusable ice packs. No worrying about your cute kid accidentally throwing the expensive ones away!
  • Use a food thermos to take leftovers, chicken nuggets, quesadillas, soup, pasta, or any other warm food. Warm it up in the morning before sticking it in the thermos and it'll still be warm at lunch!

Pro Tip: Prime the food thermos to help the food stay warmer, longer! Add boiling water to the thermos, close the lid, and allow it to sit for 10 minutes. Then, pour it out, wipe it dry (careful, it'll be hot!), and add the warmed food to it. Add a paper towel to the bottom to soak up any condensation for the items you'd rather not be soggy.

What are your favorite lunch meal prep hacks? Share them with us in the comments so we can all get some fresh and new ideas to make our kids' lunches even better.

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Wanting more great ideas?

  • Start making overnight oats to make breakfast a breeze!
  • Dinner time got you down? Then use these great dinner ideas and never worry about having to come up with your own again.
  • Organize your pantry so you know exactly what all you have and where it should be!