Because we work full time, we don’t get to enjoy lunch at home very often.  In order to save money and to make sure we are eating healthy real food, we pack our lunches to take with us.  Over the last few years I’ve packed a lot of lunches and developed a few time, money, and sanity saving strategies.  I’ve also gotten pretty creative when it comes to what we take with us because, lets be honest, you can only eat so many sandwiches before they get old.

Strategies for Packing Healthy Lunches

Plan on leftovers:  When I meal plan on Sundays I plan on most dinners being enough to fill our lunches for the next day and sometimes even more.  Things like pancakes or homemade pizza make excellent lunches.

Leftover chicken noodle soup with extra peas, apple sauce, and bread with butter

Leftover chicken noodle soup with extra peas, apple sauce, and bread & butter.

Pack the night before: There isn’t nearly enough time in the morning to be just starting to think about lunches.  I typically pack our lunches as we are cleaning up from dinner (this makes using leftovers even easier) and they are lined up on a shelf in the refrigerator ready for us to grab in the morning.

Whole Wheat Pancake with peanut butter and raisins.

Whole wheat pancake with peanut butter and raisins.

Keep your pantry stocked:  I keep an ongoing list of our basic necessities on my phone and make sure to keep the pantry stocked with them.  This helps me stay organized and I don’t have to worry about being out of something we need.  Simple snacks like fruit and cheese are staples for us.

walnut and raisin muffin with peanut butter, plain yogurt with shredded wheat to dip and an orange

walnut and raisin muffin with peanut butter, plain yogurt with shredded wheat to dip and an orange

Bake / Prepare on the weekends:  I almost always plan a baking project or two on the weekends.  Tilly loves to help so it is a fun activity for us.  By baking muffins, granola bars, or something else on the weekends I am able to pack them in lunches all week long.

Turkey and cheese pinwheels, a banana, and peas

Turkey and cheese pinwheels, a banana, and peas

For more ideas for packing toddler lunches you can check out this post.  Do you pack lunches? I’d love for you to share your tips and tricks with us in the comments or on our facebook page!