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Share YOUR Tips for Making Meal Prep Easy

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mealprep

Check out this email from reader JoyLynn –

“Do any of your followers have suggestions for meal prep, especially for school lunches? I’m a working Mom of four girls and in the evening I’m exhausted and mornings are rough.

I spend Sunday afternoon prepping lunches for our family of 6 but would love some ideas for these meal prep containers I ordered on Amazon.”

With that being said, do YOU have any tips on meal prep that make your life easier? Or tips for packing school lunches that work well for your family? Please share!


how-to-make-school-lunches-stay-hot-adn-stay-cold-until-lunch-time

Also, be sure to check out this post for tips to make your life much easier when it comes to packing lunches OR browse this post for tips on how to keep your kiddos lunches HOT or COLD easily!

Join The Discussion

Comments 38

  1. Summer

    I provide my 4th grader with healthy food and make her pack her own lunch. She is also responsible for emptying her lunch box after school and tossing containers in the dishwasher

    • Bonnie

      I’ve done the same thing with my kids for years. Now they’re teenagers and they know if they don’t have lunch it’s their own fault. I think the little things that they learned to do at a young age has made them very responsible.

      • Jill

        My four kids (age 8 through 14) all pack their own lunches as well. They know what to put in (drink, sandwich, fruit, etc.) and are more likely to eat everything they have packed. My job is to have our fridge and pantry stocked.

    • Apple$

      So good to hear! It frustruates me when I see parents not teaching their kids responsibility. These small life lessons teach appreciation as well and help shape kids into able adults who can take on more challenging tasks down the road.

  2. nydia

    My kid just started kindergarten so it’s my first year packing lunches. The easiest way I’ve found is to cook extra for dinner and pack leftovers for lunch. Sunday nights I don’t cook dinner so for Mondays I pack cashew/almond butter sandwiches. Fresh fruit and nuts are easy to pack with just about anything too.

  3. Sophie

    I need tips too! We are eating out way too much and Im just tired of it. I don’t even like it but just havent gitten ahead of our schedule enough to get on prep. I really prefer to eat meal type lunches over sack lunches ( how I grew up) and that always gets me. Id love ideas on how to prep more leftover type lunches without just always eating leftovers!

    • gorman807

      We are holding a FREE clean eating group and it will have meal prep ideas and such. This is a great group of busy women who offer motivation and accountability. This group is through Facebook. If anyone is interested you can email me at gorman807@aol.com and I can add you to this group.

    • candace

      Maybe start out with just getting a few things going that are frozen plan ahead? Muffin tin egg bites are insanely easy for breakfast. I like to do the Pioneer woman’s meatball recipe idea (or honestly any meatball recipe). But i like that she shows you how to make a variety of sauces and use the meatballs for different dishes. I usually make them up every other week and this last batch I did veggies mixed in the meat.

      • Nel

        I’ve been wanting to try her meatball recipe !

  4. Bonnie

    For me, meal prep is making twice as much as we need, then freezing 1/2 and I have a meal or two for the next week. I do it with spaghetti or tacos mostly. Just freeze sauce, or taco meat and the next week, thaw and make pasta or tice and dinner’s done. I also have always had my kids help with dinner. I think it teaches them responsibility and appreciation.

  5. Sara

    Every student in our district gets free lunch. If my kids want to pack, they gave to pack their own lunch the evening before. 7, 6, 2 & 1st grades, the older kids help the younger ones. We keep sandwich fixings, fruit & pre-packaged snacks on hand.

  6. Krista

    We’re a family of six, so I make everything in bulk. So, instead of making 6 breakfast burritos, I make 24. Instead of 1 lb of taco meat, I make 4 lbs and portion the extra for the freezer. Grill 5 lbs of chicken breast, cut it into chunks…..so many uses. I cut up a ton of veggies too. There are always plenty of options so that the kiddos and hubby can make a meal or snack without my help.

  7. Kate

    Reddit has a great sub called mealprepsunday and it’s got step by step photos, recipes, ideas. It’s great for begginers or people trying to get new recipe ideas.

  8. Jennifer

    I pack everything in my child’s lunchbox the night before then stick the entire lunch box in the fridge so in the morning all I have to do is stick an ice pack in. As far as meal prep, as I have said here before, I do sheet pan meals. Put chicken, porkchops, ground beef patties(lean), salmon, etc. in the middle then pour a bag of frozen veggies around them. Season with whatever you like and line your pan with foil first. One dish to clean with super easy cleanup. If you have a bigger family do two sheet pans. The prep will take only a few minutes. You can pack your child lunches for the next day while it cooks. HTH!

  9. Lana

    Having packed my husband’s lunch for 38 years, I think there is just too much expectation for packed lunches now. We have always stuck with a sandwich, some chips or pretzels, fresh fruit or carrots, a few cookies and a home baked muffin for mid-morning. It varies by sandwich fillings and occasional leftovers and different kinds of muffins which I bake in quantities of 3-4 dozen and freeze. He appreciates tuna or egg salad to change up lunch meat and usually takes peanut butter once a week. I buy canned soup on sale and send soup instead of chips on cold days in the winter. It is really pretty simple.

    For dinner prep I cook in quantity and freeze. Pasta sauce is always made for 8 meals and 7 are frozen. I freeze pulled BBQ pork for quick sandwich meals. casseroles, cooked chopped chicken, meat for fajitas and tacos, sloppy joe meat, cookie dough, raw hamburger patties, homemade soups and chili and frosting. I always make frosting times 3 or 4 and freeze containers for quick desserts when needed. I find it easy to make more one time and freeze for future meals as I cook our regular meals. I do not do freezer cooking days. You can save time by doing things like slicing loaves of French bread when you bring them home and stashing them in the freezer so that you can just pull out the slices you need. Butter both sides and toast on the stove top in a skillet for a nice bread side. Also, wash your salad greens and store in a Rubbermaid produce keeper bowl with a paper towel over top. This makes salad prep easy and quick. If you are boiling cubed potatoes make double so that you make mashed potatoes the first night and brown the remaining in a little olive oil another night. A little thinking ahead saves a lot of time and work.

    • Rosalinda

      Lana,
      I love your tips!! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • sarah

      Wow Lana! Amazing tips, I’m definitely going to apply some of your ideas! Thank you!

  10. gorman807

    We are holding a FREE clean eating group as a Facebook group. This group has several women who are busy moms as well who provide motivation and accountability. Information will be provided on meal prepping, eating clean, etc. If you have any interest in joining please email and I’ll add you to put group.

  11. Janet

    I make extra and heat it up in the morning to make sure it’s at least warm enough for my daughter to eat it by lunch time.

  12. rn30032

    Tasty on FB has great easy recipes

  13. Hannah

    Follow 100 Days of Real Food on Facebook or via their blog. They have TONS of school lunch ideas and recipes!

  14. Elizabeth

    A friend of mine has five kids. She makes enough PB&J’s for the whole week, puts them in individual bags, and into the freezer. She pulls them out the morning of and she says they thaw by lunch.

    • Melissa

      You can freeze meat and cheese sandwiches, too (no condiments)! If you want mustard or mayo, you can buy the little packets to toss in their lunch bags, but my kids love them plain. We make about 2 weeks’ worth for school lunches at a time and it simplifies their nightly lunch-packing so much.

  15. Laurie

    Get your kiddos involved in the process. Once a week buy and clean all fruit, veg, meat, cheese etc (Refrigerator items). Then bag into portions ready to go. Next place each day’s items in a larger bag making one bag for each day of the week makes grab and go VERY QUICK. Also hang a pocket shoe holder over a pantry door and put all non perishable items out of boxes(faster easier to see, pic and take an inventory each week of what you need to purchase) Label days of week on individual pockets. (Can even make rows for each person)Put plastic spoons, forks, knives, drinks and napkins in pocket with no perishable items.
    Sooooo they will grab a bag from fridge and items from shoe holder pocket.
    This entire preparation process should not take much more than hour to do but will make mornings soooo much smoother. GO GET UM MOMS JOIN THE REVOLUTION FEED YOUR CHILD GOOD QUALITY FUEL FOR THEIR BODY. BETTER FOOD BETTER LEARNERS.

    • sarah

      Pocket shoe holder, thats a great idea. I will be putting one up tomorrow!!!

  16. Rebecca

    I homeschool, so I don’t generally have to pack their lunch. But I still do similar type prepping for breakfast & lunch, and prep my husband’s as well. I used to actually pack it the night before, for years, until he realized he could spend 2 minutes doing it himself lol. He goes through phases, he will eat tuna packs for months, then he’ll want salads, then lettuce wraps, then soup, and usually start the cycle over. He always has a protein bar, and really enjoys pea/carrot cups & apples. Now since we got a rabbit a while back, I’m prepping her veggies for the week as well lol.

  17. TXTornado

    PrepDish.com is completely worth the price. This meal plan site has revolutionized our weekly grocery trip, prep day, and fast cooking in the evenings. They even offer a free trial week! Includes GF and Paleo.

  18. Adrian

    I only make lunch for my little ones. My older boys buy lunch at school. I make my little ones soup and put it in a thermos. I suppose I make good soup if there was a time period when somebody kept stealing my son’s lunch out of his backpack The school refused to do anything about it so I started putting lots of hot sauce in it. It only took 3 days of that then they left his lunch alone :]

  19. SJ

    I’m envious of all this freezer space you all seem to have!!!! I have zero space, no room for a deep freeze/chest freezer…I don’t have the room to make 1 dish last for 8 meals…I have pizzas, some meat (pork chops, hamburger, chicken), frozen meatballs, veggies, Mac n cheese, and ice cream of course. That stuff alone makes anything else impossible to fit!

  20. Alyssa

    I have zero extra freezer space so I use healthy lunch ideas from pinterest (salads, burrito bowls, things like that) for my prep recipes. I also make a weekly menu to help ease the stress of worrying about what to make for dinner. I turn it all into one giant grocery list for the week and cook it all on Sunday. So far its been working well and we have only ate out once a week instead of every day like we were.

  21. Bridgette

    I set up bins for snacks and fruits that don’t need to be in the fridge. At night I have my twin 6 year olds pick out two snacks and a fruit. They add that to their lunch bags and in the morning I will make their lunch while they get dressed. Sometimes they can grab a lunchable and drink themselves or even try to make their own sandwich. They pack stuff they want to eat so nothing gets wasted.

  22. sarah

    I make double or triple when I cook and freeze the other portions. This works well for lasagnas and casseroles, pasta sauces, marinade chicken, muffins, pancakes, etc. When I make cookies, I double the recipe and freeze balls individually then put them in a freezer bag so I can bake whatever quantity I want later as needed.

  23. growingbhoomi

    I cook indian food and I have to cook 2 times a day fresh food anyway. And we eat lentil soup, curry vegetables, Rice and indian Bread atleast 1 time a day and evening also Vegetable curry and Roti (india bread). This is like very common menu. Most time consuming part is making a dough, let it sit for a while before you make Roti (tortilla). So I make enough dough in the night for 4 days, I make the curry base so its just a matter of heating it up and toss the veggies in. I pressure cook lentils and store in refrigerator. Ready made Dough, Boliled lentils and Prepared curry sauce helps a lot. I also make paste of Green chilli with pinch of salt and lemon to preserve it longer and paste for garlic and ginger. As we use lot of spices, these 3 paste comes in handy.

  24. Sara

    If any of you have emailed me to be added to the FREE clean eating group, I have sent you an email from Facebook with a link to join. Some of you have joined and some have not that I sent emails to. It may have gone to your spam folder, so check there. Thanks!

  25. gorman807

    For those of you that requested to be added to the FREE clean eating group on Facebook I have sent you an email with a link to join. Some have joined and some have not. It may have gone to your spam folder, so please check there. Thanks!

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