5 Quick and Easy Lunch Box Ideas to Get You Through the Last Few Weeks of School!

We have just a few weeks left of the school year and let me tell you, I cannot wait until summer vacation! I feel like this year has been longer somehow and packing the girls' lunches has gone from one of my favorite things to one of my most despised tasks. Thankfully, the girls are getting school lunch more regularly, but I'm still packing lunches 2-4 times a week, so I'm ready for the short reprieve that summer will bring.

Now, I'm sure you've seen that meme that jokes about how lunches are packed at the beginning of the school year versus the last few weeks and this Mama is TEMPTED, but my heart just won't let me do it. The school day is long, so I like to be sure to include an "entree", 3 small snacks (a serving of fruit, crackers or pretzels, and muffins or a rice krispie treat are our go-tos) and a beverage in their lunch box. Since this is the norm, it helps keep packing lunches pretty easy, especially when we are in a rush. 

While the snacks and beverages are usually the same for both girls, the entree is almost always different. We've had to discover which meals could be made quickly (or even overnight) and actually get eaten. One of my biggest pet peeves is putting in all that work and having more than half the lunch come home.

The following ideas have worked out well for us and we hope that you'll give them a try. Remember, summer is around the corner (if it hasn't started for you already) and we will get through these last few lunch packings.

1. Leftover Pizza- Since we have pizza about once a week, it sometimes gets heated up and thrown in a thermos for lunch. Okay, not exactly thrown in, we have a process. We've found that heating the pizza in a toaster oven helps keep it from getting rubbery and cutting a slice into bite sized pieces helps it fit into your standard thermos. This lunch is a personal favorite of D!

2. Deli Meats and Cheese (with or without crackers depending on the day and child)- Since they tend to be pricey, we forgo buying the name brand kits and just hit up our local BJs deli (the girls are BJS deli snobs) and pick up our favorite lunch meats and cheese. Now, while many kids eat sandwiches, our girls prefer to have their meats rolled up (like you might see on a deli platter) and will eat the crackers separately. They only eat bread with this on very rare occasions and it's always on the side with a little bit of butter.

3. Cheese and Crackers- Again, no kits here. Sometimes the girls (R especially) just don't feel like ham or turkey. I use a simple cookie cutter, usually, a heart shaped one, and cut a few pieces of cheese and then pack a few crackers alongside it so they can construct their own

4. PB (Substitute) and Jelly- This is the only sandwich I have seen the girls eat and R loves her triple deckers! These sandwiches are so quick to make and are well loved by almost every child I have ever met.
On a side note- the girls' school is not a nut-free school, but since you can never be too safe, I use a peanut butter substitute all of the time. The one pictured is a hit with both girls and they even eat it at home.

5. Pasta- Again, something that is fairly easy to make. The girls love pasta and it's easy enough to make some up in the morning if you don't happen to have any leftover. R prefers hers plain, with a bit of butter and D will eat it with sauce or with butter. If you are reheating leftover pasta, remember to add a bit of water to keep it from drying out and clumping. If you are making it fresh in the morning, add a little of the water from the pot to the thermos with the pasta to help keep it warm and avoid clumping.

So, those are a few of our "tried and true" lunches. Do you have any quick and easy lunch ideas you'd like to share? Be sure to leave a comment so we can try it here!
This week I might actually be able to avoid packing lunches since it looks like the school is offering choices that both girls will actually eat, but I still have until June 21st so I'm going to need a few more ideas than the 5 I shared today.

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