Do you sigh at the thought of doing the school lunches yet again? If you have more than one child in school, it makes the process even more daunting. Having to think of new ideas, prepping them all and having them ready to go in the mornings for school. The process for making school lunches doesn’t need to be stressful or time consuming. There are a lot of ways that you can make it quicker and easier on yourself. Check out our favourite 9 lunch box hacks for busy mums.


Source: Adventure Snacks

1. Be creative

It’s amazing how a sandwich cut into a different shape other than two rectangles appear more enticing! Use a sandwich (or cookie) cutter for different shapes and use an edible pen to draw some eyes. You could use go as far to stick to a colour theme for lunchbox that day! If it makes them smile, they are more likely to eat more of what is packed!


2. Empty them straight away

How many times have you pulled a lunchbox out of a school bag on a Sunday night or Monday morning and you find a food experiment growing in the lunchbox?

Emptying all lunch boxes straight after school and giving them a wash means that you can quickly and easily make the next lot of lunches without having to deal with old or mouldy food. Encourage your kids to take their lunch boxes out of their bags as soon as they arrive home (let’s face it, it ends up being one less thing for you to do!)

This is especially important at the end of a term. No one has time for dealing with 2 week old food when school is starting back.

3. Cook extra dinner

A great way to cut down on your time preparing lunches is by cooking extra at dinner and letting them take the leftovers to school to eat. There are some great thermos that you can get that will keep food warm for them during the day or use the base for a chilled lunch. Some great leftover dinners are tacos, potato salad, roast chicken. The possibilities are endless, the trick is organising enough food for dinner and lunch.


Source: Adventure Snacks

4. Prepare the night before

Where possible, prep and pack what you can into the lunch box the night before. You can make sandwiches and put them straight into the lunchboxes in the fridge along with their snacks. Or if you prefer to make sandwiches fresh in the morning, you can put their other snacks in the lunchbox ready to add the sandwich in the morning.  


5. Double batch baking

If you bake muffins or slices to go into their lunchboxes, why not make a double batch and freeze them?

Many muffins and slices can be pulled out the night before or the morning. Pop them in the lunchbox and they will defrost in time for lunch. It will be a delicious treat for them and handy hack for you. 



6. Prepare for the week

Planning in advance eases the stress of what to pack, decreases the trips to the store and is also friendly on the budget. You can also take it one step further and do the prep for the week. If you are adding things like watermelon, carrot sticks or cheese chunks to their lunchboxes, take the time to chop up enough for the entire week. Carrot sticks can be stored cut in water and they will stay fresh and crunchy.


School Mum lunchbox

7. Get the kids to help

This is suitable for any age, simply adjusting the task as required. It could be as simple as reaching things out of the fridge for you, selecting which fruit to take to physically packing the lunchbox. It promotes responsibility, independence and empowerment and it also means the end up having a lighter load as they get used to the concept. They end up learning about different foods and choosing foods that they will eat. If they have a say in what goes in their lunchbox, they are more likely to eat it.

8. Buy in bulk

When you see lunchbox snacks that the kids will eat on special, buy up on them. This helps you to not be stuck the night before school with limited options and it means that their favourite items are always available. This also applies to any ingredients that you can use in batch cooking or baking. 

Rather than buying single serve foods such as popcorn and sultanas, buying bulk bags and separating into snack size portions (or pop them directly into the bento style lunchbox) It will save you money and also reduce the waste.


9. Keep a spare loaf of bread in the freezer

How many times have you gone to make lunches and realised you don’t have enough bread? One too many times in our household! Bread and tortilla wraps also freeze really well and defrost quickly and taste fresh.It will save you from panic when you realise the bread bin is empty!

Side note, when the time comes and  you grab it,  replace it next time you go to the shops.


As mums, we are constantly busy. These lunchbox hacks can help you to stay on top of the lunches and not spend too much time preparing them.

Do you have any other ones to add? Let us know below and join the Australian School Mums community for a wealth of first hand time saving hacks.