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5 Day make-ahead lunch planner

We all like to save a bit of time wherever we can in this busy life and a little preparation can go a long way. By setting aside a little time each day to prepare meals and snacks in advance, you could save yourself a lot of time spent labouring over lunches.

healthy packed lunch

Day 1: Pasta and rice salads

Traditionally served cold or at room temperature, a pasta, bean or rice salad is a quick and easy lunch meal that can be prepared well in advance. Set a block of time aside on the weekend or one weeknight to cook and prepare the ingredients, then store in the fridge. Serve the required amount of salad into a bowl or snack-sized containers for each day of the week and they are ready to go.

Day 2: Double your dinner

If your dinner is the kind of dish that can be eaten as leftovers then double the quantity. You’ll be cooking anyway, so you might as well add the extra ingredients to make excess that can be used as a lunchbox meal in the coming days. Ideal dishes that can double up as lunch includes spaghetti bolognaise, frittata, quiche, homemade sausage rolls, and vegetable slice.

Day 3: Pre-cut fruit and vegetables

Take about fifteen minutes the night before to chop a range of fresh fruits that will make a delicious, sweet lunchbox treat the following day. It will last if refrigerated and tossing fresh lemon juice through the mixture will prevent the fruits from going brown. Alternatively, pre-slice sticks of carrots and celery, place into an airtight container and store in the fridge overnight. Dip can be placed in a smaller, separate container to prevent the vegetables from going soggy.

Day 4: The night-before sandwich

Free up time in the morning by making lunch sandwiches the night before and storing them in the fridge. Sandwich fillings like ham and cheese, peanut butter and jam, or chicken and mayonnaise will keep well in the fridge. Wrap the sandwich in cling film or place in an airtight container to ensure it stays fresh for the next day.

Day 5: An egg-cellent idea

The great thing about boiled eggs is that they will stay fresh for a couple of days if refrigerated. If your child enjoys egg, boil some eggs in advance and store them in the fridge as a lunchbox go-to for a couple of days during the week. Serve whole with a salad, slice it up for a tasty sandwich filling or simply place it in the lunchbox to be enjoyed as a snack on its own.

More packed lunch ideas

How to pack a sandwich-free lunch
10 Simple lunch surprises we love
What to do when kids are in a lunch rut

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