Organizing Children's School Lunches

My children start school tomorrow.  Seriously, where did summer go??  HOW is it already back to school time? Although I'm sad to see summer go, I am ready for routine and schedule again. I'm ready to bring things back to Delightful Order in my home. With four boys at home and a crazy busy summer, home projects just haven't been finished.  So I'm ready to finish projects and decorate and organize my place again.  September ALWAYS does that to me!

First on my organizing list was to prep school lunches. I like to plan ahead as much as possible. I make my three  school boys cold lunch every day.  So to prepare for easier, quicker mornings  I came up with this solution:
I prep most of the items that will be going into their lunch boxes in the beginning of the week.  The morning of the school day, as the boys are getting ready for the day, I make the sandwiches and toss the sandwich, a freezer pack and all the items from their section of the tray into their lunch boxes and send them off with a kiss and a hug and a reminder to "be a light unto the world."
I found these divided plastic trays at the Dollar Tree last January and they work just great for my three school boys.  I purchased five of the divided trays. One for Monday through Friday.
I fill the trays with something a little different for each day of the week.
I have an extra refrigerator in our garage...
and this is where I store the trays.
I keep gogurt in the freezer and add them to their lunch boxes the morning of, as well.   By the time my boys eat lunch at school the gogurt is thawed out.  They like frozen gogurt as a snack too, while they're at home.
I love this setup!  It worked well last year and saved me so much time each school day  morning.  I thought about prepping the sandwiches for the week as well, but figured the bread  might get too soggy by Friday, so I just make the sandwiches each morning.

Who else prepares school lunches ahead of time?  Do you prep sandwiches for the week?  Share your tips and tricks on organized lunches by commenting below.  I would love to hear from you.
May you be a little inspired!

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  1. I've made sandwiches and frozen them. If you make PBJs put the PB on both slices of bread (one side lightly just to seal it from the jelly). If you do lunchmeat then put the condiment between the meat and cheese. It works! :) No mushy bread. :)

  2. That is a great idea! I love how organized it is.

  3. I don't have kids, but I do prepack my lunch Sunday night. I bring a sandwich, but I toast my bread, so I put the lunch meat and cheese in a bag together. I don't store mine in pretty trays like yours, they just dumped in one of the drawers in the fridge. Then the night before I can just put all the pre bagged items in my lunch box, it's so helpful!

  4. Great tips! I don't have kids yet, but I make lunch for my husband, so this will really help me! Thanks!

  5. Danita!! Thank you for this idea..love it & I am soo going to do this this year! Talon starts kindergarten tom & this will help keep me organized when it comes to time & lunches!

  6. I too make sandwiches ahead of time like Rachel said. I find it works really well for us, and makes morning times so much easier.

  7. Hi Da Nita,
    This is a good topic to post about! I like your set up. It looks like a sensible system for a big family. Your trays help each kid know where his specific food is at.
    I just have one child. I'm tying to teach him to be more independent. On really busy days I make both his and my own lunch. The rest of the time I have him make his own lunch. It takes a little longer, but he's learning how to take care of himself. To make things easier, I keep a box of pre-packaged items like granola bars in a bin in the pantry. That way my son can just grab what he'd like to add to his lunch, make his sandwich, and grab a box of juice. So far, this is working well.

    Happy New School Year!


  8. What a great idea. I'm going to pass this on to my son, who prepares lunches for his three munchkins on a regular basis. Thanks!

  9. Oh wow!! This is a great idea! =D

  10. You all simply MUST try Rachel's advice (comment #1) on freezing sandwiches. Shortly after receiving the comment I made a bunch of sandwiches, put them in Ziploc Freezer Bags and placed them into the freezer & I will say making school lunches this morning was a BREEZE! Thanks Rachel for the great tip!

  11. Awesome idea DaNita! I'll have to do that for my daughter. She's just starting kindergarten, so I'll do it for her snack. Thanks for sharing! My baby starts school tomorrow.
    ~ Catie

  12. This is an awesome idea and I would love to have an extra fridge...lucky lucky you:)

  13. What a great idea! A good way to keep the kids from eating up all the lunch stuff too.

  14. That's a great idea! I usually just pack my first graders lunch the night before if I remember, usually the morning of. I will keep this idea in mind!

  15. I love your blog, you are always showing us a neat idea on organization. Specially us MOMS.

  16. My brother also does a week's worth of PBJ for his kids, and wraps each one in plastic wrap, then stacks them all back into the bread bag, then freezes it. Helps cut down on the cost of zip-locs! Just another helpful tip for ya!

  17. Kaari,
    I just started wrapping some of them in Saran Wrap and it works great!

  18. I too, have 4 boys, 3 in school. I just found your blog this morning before Church and I can't wait to start organizing. You are so inspiring, thanks! I know this "lunch packing" blog will save me some time.

  19. I simply love the healthy choices you're making for your boys as well as the organization.=)

  20. when you all freeze the sandwiches, do you just take them out the night before or the morning of?

  21. The morning of. That way they are thawed in the lunch box in time for lunch.

  22. This idea works great for my family. I make pepperoni pizza sandwiches once a month using my pizza dough recipe. It lasts almost all month. I make 4 braided bread with the pepperoni,cheese and pizza sauce inside. After they cool, I slice them and then bag them. I put them in the freezer and in the mornings the 5 kids can grab a frozen one to put in their lunches along with a frozen gogurt. By lunch time it is defrosted, cold, and ready to eat. I have also done ham and cheese braided bread sandwiches too. I also organize my kids' lunch items too. At the beginning of the month I buy the items and the kids sort them into their "bin." They know if they get in their bin at all for a snack and they run out they don't get anymore until next month.
    I love those bins you use for the fridge.

    1. Could you give the recipes for your sandwiches please? Thanks so much.

  23. I have to say, despite only having one child, and being a homeschool family. I LOVE this idea. It never seems to fail that I hit lunch mid stride in my day every day and it throws me for a total loop. My husband works from home and inevitably wants lunch at a different time than when our schedule for school would normally say lunch is. This is awesome because I can tell him to grab his section and make a sandwich and he can eat when he's ready and then I can do the same for my daughter and I when we are eating. I pinned this and will be on the lookout for those divided containers! Thanks so much for a WONDERFUL idea!!

  24. Love this idea! I have to leave really early in the morning for work so my husband gets the kids up and off to school. I usually make the lunches the night before but resent it because I want to be out of the kitchen and relaxing with the family! This idea will certainly get me out of the kitchen faster! Thanks so much for sharing!

  25. Can you share some of the options you have for healthy lunches for your kids? I don't know for sure what everything is. Thanks!

  26. Thank You......I have 3......, my youngest, having to need more "supervision", than the others due to behavior conditions. Plus right now, living with in-laws!!! I need more organizing, than ever before. ...HOW ABOUT: "How to organize one's life!?"


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