Whoever decided to put the busiest part of the day right after we wake up, before our coffee has a chance to kick in – we just want to talk. If you feel like your school mornings get the best of you, listen up; we’ve compiled 10 must-know lunch box hacks for busy parents.
- Buy a spare Yumbox tray – you never know when it will come in handy (read: when your kids leave their lunch boxes in their school bags overnight). You could even fill two at once and save the second in the fridge for the following day.
- On that note, try packing lunches the afternoon or night before. You can get the kids to help you and you won’t need to deal with the unpredictable morning rush.
- Ditch the store-bought dip in favour of your own, homemade version. You can make a big stash at once and then pour it into an ice cube tray to freeze for lunches for weeks (or even months) to come. It will defrost in your child’s lunch box in time for lunch.
- Mini Hippo customer @melissa___jr says: “Make a freezer stash of lunches/snacks every school holidays.” We’ll definitely be trying that!
- Instead of using multiple containers full of different foods, put everything in one handy, leak-proof bento box. Your child will be able to see everything at once and therefore be more likely to eat it all. Oh, and you’ll never have to worry about losing any lids!
- While we’re big fans of wholefoods, supermarket snacks are great in a pinch. Make sure they’re as nutritious as they are delicious with these picks from nutritionist Zhanna Gee.
- Choose the perfect Yumbox size for your child’s appetite. Mini Hippo customer @frecklesnpolkadots says she puts “cheese cubes, crackers and raspberries” in her Yumbox Minisnack. The perfect fit.
- Try reusable pouches instead of single-use, store-bought versions. You can make your own fillings (whether it’s puree or flavoured yoghurt) ahead of time, saving you money and the planet.
- Chop your produce as soon as you bring it home from the shops. Your future self will thank you when they open the fridge and see pre-chopped carrot sticks, watermelon or celery on a busy school morning.
- Cook extra dinner (or weekend breakfasts) for school lunches. You’re already in the kitchen – you may as well chop and cook a bit extra to save you time later on.
Expert mode: Plan your lunches for the week, and shop for and cook everything on Sunday. This way, your kids can get involved – not only in the planning, but the shopping and cooking, too – which means they’ll be more likely to enjoy what goes into their lunch boxes.