Making meals one day a week, instead of every day is sure to be a time-saver. Especially if you are like me. My house is like a black hole every morning – we seem to always leave in a rush no matter how early we wake up because something always sucks me back in. Making these kid-friendly freezable lunches will save you time and money. Here are 6 options that will keep everyone in the family happy with their lunch. No need for a microwave, just freeze and let them thaw to eat at lunch time.
1) Sandwiches! The all-time lunch favorite… you can assemble all kinds of sandwiches ahead of time, freeze them, and they will thaw by the time your child eats lunch. The trick is to make it so the bread does not get soggy. You might be surprised to hear you actually solve this problem using condiments! The condiment acts as a barrier between the bread and whatever is inside the sandwich, so that when it thaws it still tastes delicious. Spread the condiment on both sides of the bread, assemble, wrap and freeze. Super picky kids? Just freeze the parts separately, pack what they need, and let them assemble. Try these yummy combos for a twist on the old regular.
Pumpernickel + Hummus + Turkey + Spinach
Whole Wheat + Cream Cheese + Ham + Pickles
Sourdough + Mustard + Tuna + Romaine
Waffles + Nutella + Strawberries
Asiago + Pizza sauce + Pepperoni + Mozzarella
2) No Bake Energy Bites – I love packing these as snacks. They are easy to make, freeze very well, and you can make a lot of them in advance to have on hand. The recipe is super simple. Mix 1 cup oatmeal, 1/2 cup peanut butter, 1/3 cup honey, 1 cup coconut flakes, 1/2 ground flax seed, 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips, and 1 tsp vanilla together. Roll the mixture into 1-2 inch balls and freeze. These are also gluten free!
3) Pinwheels – an incredible easy lunch option for picky kids, and it’s adorable! Similar to the freezable sandwiches you can mix and match ingredients to your liking. You take a tortilla and spread on your favorite sauce or condiment, place the toppings on, and roll it up like a sushi roll. Then you can slice it into “wheels” that are about 1/2 wide. Freeze each serving separately, toss into your lunches, and enjoy by lunch time.
4) Pasta Salad – Add anything to this basic combo for an easy, filling lunch. There are two basic ingredients: cooked pasta (any kind), and a dressing of 1 part olive oil, 1 part lemon juice. You can add black beans, chopped peppers, cheese cubes, cucumber, avocado… really any veggies, meats, beans, or cheeses that freeze well. Pop into containers, place in the freezer, thaw it for lunch.
5) Zucchini/Cinnamon Raisin/Pumpkin Bread – My grandma used to make these breads in bulk, freeze them, and give them to us as gifts for the holidays. They would be gone in an hour because we loved them so much. You can even freeze slices separately with butter spread on top for a ready-made breakfast or lunch. Click on the name for the recipe. Worried that it’s not healthy? Well stop. My Grandma probably eats a slice with butter every day – she’s 85 and thriving, so I’m pretty sure it will be okay once in a while.
6) Dips! Dips are so easy, and you might think that’s not enough to eat for lunch, but most of them do give you enough calories to sustain you until dinner… and I am not talking about ranch dressing (that does NOT count). Freeze 1/4 cup portions of hummus, guacamole, spinach and artichoke dip, fresh salsa, yogurt… then you serve with fresh chopped veggies, crackers, or pretzels. Easy peasy! This is my go-to guacamole recipe – smash the pulp of 2 avocados, mix in 2 tbsp. of lemon juice, and 1/2 of a chopped onion. That’s it!
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