Cooking can require too much time for anybody with a busy schedule. It shouldn’t feel like a rushed chore, especially if you’re trying to make enough food for a big family. Check out these meal prep lunches the whole family will love that won’t take much time to throw together before your next carpool trip to school.
Peanut Butter Lunch Boxes
Peanut butter is an essential meal prep ingredient. It contains tons of healthy fats, and a half-cup serving provides just over 22.5 grams of protein, which is more than enough to keep hungry tummies happy for a few hours. Throw together a peanut butter lunch box by spooning half a cup into a container along with celery sticks, apple slices and pretzels. Kids love finger foods, and you’ll love the instant meal prep.
Customizable Bagel Lunches
Give your kids something different than their typical turkey sandwiches by packing bagels for lunch. Each lunch box should contain their favorite spreadable cheese or preferred bagel topping. Your kids will also get a well-rounded meal if you include a hardboiled egg, cucumber slices and grapes.
Charcuterie Board Meals
The average household spends $7,923 on food annually, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. You can minimize your grocery bill by buying just a handful of affordable groceries to put together charcuterie board-inspired spreads in your kids’ lunchboxes. They’ll love dining on crackers, cheeses, sliced lunch meats and fruits, and you’ll love the simple ingredients that won’t break the bank. The cheese provides their protein, while fruits and veggies add nutrients like fiber and vitamins.
Air Fryer Chicken Tender Boxes
Using an oven generates excessive heat, but you can whip up some chicken tenders while staying cool if you use an air fryer. Air fryers don’t require oil, so they cut calories out of lunches and make many meals healthier. Fry chicken tenders with french fries and pack them with dipping sauce, or pair them with carrots and apple slices to make numerous meals in one batch.
Breakfast Burrito Lunches
Burritos are the ultimate meal prep recipe. You can turn them into any kind of lunch, including a surprise second breakfast for the bacon lovers in your family. Throw scrambled eggs, bacon, cheese and veggies into burritos and freeze them for 30 days to save yourself extra meal prep time in the coming weeks.
Chicken Noodle Soup Bowls
It doesn’t take long to make a big batch of chicken noodle soup. Use your family’s favorite homemade recipe and portion it into freezer-friendly containers or thermoses. You can also speed this lunch option up by using canned soup that fits your budget.
Cheesy Hamburger Casserole Containers
Do your kids love cheeseburgers? Take grilling out of the equation and make a delicious cheeseburger casserole. A couple of boxes of pasta and pounds of hamburger will last well in the freezer and become a delightful lunch later in the week. Don’t worry about dishes, either — the right recipe only takes one pot, meaning cleanup isn’t a concern.
Homemade Pizza Rolls
Pizza will win over most kids, so serve pizza rolls for their next packed lunch. Canned biscuit dough, tortillas or egg roll wraps can hold whatever pizza toppings your kids love. Cook them as instructed on their packaging and save them in the fridge for up to a week.
Try Meal Prep Lunches for Families
There are many meal prep lunches the whole family will love, so start with these ideas if you’re looking for inspiration. Whether they want breakfast for lunch or a new twist on their favorite peanut butter sandwich, you’ll find the best options for your meal prepping afternoons.