How to Plan and Shop For a Week of Healthy School Lunches!
Call us crazy, but here at Ela & Earth we secretly love packing school lunches - yep, really!
For us, it’s all about making a game plan for the week and using time-saving hacks to ensure our mornings run smoothly.
Want to know our secrets? Keep reading as we share exactly how we plan, shop and prep for a week of healthy school lunches below.
1. Check The Pantry
Before making a meal plan or heading to the supermarket, you’ll want to do a quick “inventory check” of your pantry, fridge and freezer. Take note of anything that needs to be used up within the next few days, along with any pantry staples due to be restocked.
2. Create A Meal Plan
Next, it’s time to create a meal plan (aka: a game plan!) for the week ahead. Planning a week’s worth of healthy lunches in advance will not only take time and stress out of your mornings, but also ensure your kids are getting a good variety of food.
We recommend coming up with a bunch of go-to healthy lunch ideas, and rotating through them on a weekly basis. Some of our favourites include pinwheel wraps, pasta salads, veggie frittatas, rice paper rolls and chia puddings. Check out 5 quick, easy and healthy lunch box ideas here!
The “ideal” lunch box should include a good mix of protein, whole grains, fruits and vegetables to ensure your kids are getting enough nutrients and energy to sustain them for the day. This could look like:
Whole grains: Wraps, sandwiches, pasta, pita bread, crackers
Protein: Hard-boiled eggs, chicken, lunch meats, edamame, yoghurt, peanut butter, smoked salmon, cheese sticks
Fruit: Berries, grapes, bananas, orange slices, melon slices
Veggies: Carrot and cucumber sticks, sliced capsicum, cherry tomatoes, snap peas
Using a bento box with different compartments makes it easy to pack a variety of healthy food and snacks.
As you create your meal plan for the week, don’t forget to include any items that need to be used up. It’s also a good idea to check your local supermarket catalogue to see what’s on special, and use seasonal fruits and veggies where possible.
3. Make a Shopping List
Now that your meal plan is sorted, it’s time to make a shopping list and stock up at the supermarket. Tip: organise your list into groups (eg: fresh produce, dairy, grains, meat, frozen food) to save time at the supermarket while ensuring you don’t forget anything.
You can go old-school with pen and paper, or make a digital checklist in your iPhone notes. And don’t forget to bring your reusable bags!
4. Food Prep on Sundays
As little as 20 minutes of prep on the weekend can set you up for a stress-free week of school lunches. Try to do your grocery shop on the weekend so you can block out a chunk of time on Sunday to get organised.
Some simple things you can prep ahead of time include:
- Washing and cutting up fruit and vegetables
- Making hard-boiled eggs
- Making a simple pasta salad
- Baking and freezing muffins, slices or frittatas (we love getting the kids involved here!)
5. Pack Lunches the Night Before
Our final tip: pack your school lunch boxes the night before, ready to grab and go in the morning. You’ll thank yourself later!
Shop Eco-Friendly Lunchware
Good lunchware makes all the difference for a stress-free week of school lunches. Our stainless steel bento boxes are leakproof, dishwasher safe and incredibly durable - when looked after, they’ll last for years.
Want more healthy lunch box ideas? See our latest recipes over at @elaandearth!