When is the best time to make school lunches?

School lunches can be a thorn in a busy mum’s side, but do they need to be? I asked you all for your advice on when is best to make school lunches, and your ideas were amazing!

I often get asked when is the best time to make school lunches. I used to make lunches fresh every morning, and then moved towards making them of an evening so I could have more ‘me time, usually going for a walk’ at the beginning of the day.  I like to bake muffins and other savoury snacks well in advance, and freeze them for quick easy sandwich alternatives, this product can teach you more about this. Basically, I am a firm believer in working around a schedule that suits you and your family. 

I was curious about what the rest of The Organised Housewife community do though, so I asked you all what works for you. Your ideas (as always!) were amazing, and it’s my absolute honour to now share your advice below. Thank you all for your feedback!

Teach Kids To Make Lunch Themselves

“Teach the kids to make them themselves ASAP! They can’t complain if they packed it.” – Zarna

“Typically we do lunches the night before. My kids are old enough to make their own lunches and it’s just easier to do it after dinner when I haven’t cleaned up yet, and it’s one less thing to do in the morning.” – Jess

“Apart from my youngest (6yo), my kids make their own lunches. I started teaching and encouraging them to make their own lunches from about grade 1. Giving the responsibility to them teaches them independence, skills for life, means they actually eat their lunch, and takes the pressure off me, so I can do other things, like cook a good breakfast, attend to the toddler or iron uniforms. Occasionally they need a little help, eg: cutting veg, but mostly they do it all themselves. For my 6yo, she gets everything out ready while I make breakfast, then I do her lunchbox while she eats breakfast.” – Jo-anne

Stress free lunch box ideas for school. When to make school lunches.

Do It In Bulk

“Bake (and freeze) in bulk each school holiday period for the following term and just look at what’s on the plan that day – no need to think so it takes 5 minutes in the morning.” – Laura

“I do batch cooking and freeze – pizza scrolls, muffins, mini quiche, etc. Kids choose what they want in the morning and it defrosts by lunch. Add in veggie sticks and fruit.” – Hannah

“I do heaps of baking on a Sunday – taco pop tarts, corn dog bites, cupcakes and cookies – and then pack it in the mornings. I used to do it in the evenings but that is the only time my partner and I get now, so instead, I get up an hour before everyone else and do it in the quiet of the morning.” – Sarah

“I make two loaves of bread into sandwiches on Sunday using fillings that are suitable to freeze, and then every morning the kids can choose which type they want. They thaw by lunchtime and taste fresh.” – Michelle

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Lunch box ideas. Bulk make lunches and freeze.

Prepare The Night Before

“I make lunches the night before, usually after dinner. Much easier than in the morning!” – Micheala

“We make lunches the night before. Everything goes into their own containers, and into the fridge. Then the kids put them into their lunch boxes in the morning. If sandwiches can stay out overnight (Vegemite etc) then they get packed into lunch boxes the night before. We just find that way easier and much less stressful than in the morning!” – Julie

“I always do it the night before – you never know what the morning is going to throw at you!” – Katie

“I do them the night before so I can exercise (aka sleep) in the morning LOL!! – Nitz

Prepare In The Morning

“I’m a morning person, so I get up 20 minutes before the kids and spend that time making their lunches while I have a cuppa. My kids hate sandwiches so I need to be a bit inventive – quesadillas, savoury muffins, cruskits, pinwheels, cooked meats, etc. I make these in bulk and freeze so I can just pull out overnight. Otherwise, it’s just cut up fruit, pre-packaged snacks, homemade muffins/packaged muesli bars, etc. I’m too tired in the evening to even think about lunchbox making lol.” – Miriam

“I love making a fresh lunch box in the morning. Fruit is freshly cut. Sandwich roll and thermos freshly done. Soggy fruit and sandwiches are yucky.” – Rachael

“I make lunches in the morning because I like to do it fresh….for me, it’s just two sandwiches or a roll and fruit, and some pre-packed snacks. I fill water bottles the night before so they’re cold and ready to go.” – Georgina

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Lunch box planner.

When do you make your kid’s lunches?

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Travis Walker April 29, 2019 - 8:04 PM

Very informative and thorough. Helpful ideas for everyone’s benefit. Great thinking.

Katrina - The Organised Housewife April 30, 2019 - 10:25 AM

thank you, lots of great help from the community 🙂

Cheryl May 19, 2020 - 9:20 AM

How do people keep the apples etc from going brown? I cut them in the morning and by fruit break they are brown! Thanks Cher.

Katrina - The Organised Housewife May 20, 2020 - 8:08 AM

You want to keep to the air from getting to the apples Cher. You could try popping the cut apple in a ziplock bag and pushing out as much excess air as you can before sealing it. Alternatively you could try these reusable food pouches: https://theorganisedhousewife.com.au/shop/product/ever-eco-reusable-silicone-food-pouches-set-of-2-x-1l/ – hope this helps 🙂

BellaInAus May 20, 2020 - 3:40 PM

I’ve seen someone cut up the apple into wedges, then reassemble it around the core and hold it together with a rubber band.

Katrina - The Organised Housewife May 26, 2020 - 8:54 AM

Great idea!

Angela February 13, 2021 - 1:31 PM

That’s what I do. I find it helps even more to not cut all the way through. Leave it still attached at the bottom for them to just break off when they eat it.

Katrina - The Organised Housewife February 19, 2021 - 3:00 PM

Great tip! Thanks Angela

BellaInAus May 20, 2020 - 4:27 PM

I buy and cook in bulk and divide everything up and put it in the freezer. Yogurt into single serve pots, cakes, muffins, bread scrolls, slices. And I make up sandwiches and freeze them too. Then whoever is packing a meal (DH does shift work, so he takes his packed food, too) can go through and pack one item from each category – Yogurt, Fruit, Main Meal, Nuts, Small Protein, Sweet Treat.

The Main Meals are often leftovers from the night before, especially if they can access a microwave.

Mine are all adults, though.

Katrina - The Organised Housewife May 26, 2020 - 8:54 AM

I love to hear how other parents tackle school lunches. Thank you for sharing your tips, they’re great! Kat x


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