Five Make-Ahead Lunch Ideas to Minimize Your Morning Madness

updated Sep 30, 2020
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Tackling a few lunch prep chores on a Sunday afternoon can really lighten your load on weekday mornings. Here are six simple “do ahead” tasks to make life during the school and work week run a little more smoothly.

  • Hard boil eggs – Eggs are mega nourishing, indeed one of the best sources of protein out there. And when hard boiled, they’re fabulously portable and stay fresh in the fridge for up to a week. Take them as is with just a pinch of salt for flavor, or chop them for an egg salad sandwich, slice them over a green salad, or make a pair of simple deviled eggs, always a winner with adults and children.

  • Cook a pot of beans – Whether made in a slow cooker or on the stovetop, cooking a pot of your favorite beans can supply your lunches with quality ingredient all week long. Fold white beans into tuna fish for a hearty sandwich, add chickpeas to green salads for added sustenance, or top warm black beans with shredded cheddar and stow in a thermos. Include a side of tortilla chips to those cheesy black beans for added kid appeal.

  • Whirl up a yummy dip – A homemade ranch dip or green goddess dressing to serve alongside lunch box vegetables will up the likelihood that they’ll get eaten. Once your dip is made, divvy it up into small, leak-proof containers and store in the fridge to pop it into lunches as needed. Wondering if those containers are indeed leak-proof? Fill them with water, shake vigorously, and see what happens.

  • Bake a batch of granola bars – Putting a little homemade love into lunch makes them a whole lot more fun to crack into once noon rolls around. Experiment with making granola bars or energy bars and store in a cookie tin. You can also wrap the bars individually in parchment paper or wax paper bags for grab-and-go convenience.

  • Make a mess of crudité – Taking a few minutes to wash and trim a generous supply of carrots, cucumbers, jicama and other vegetables to have at your fingertips means the vegetable part of the lunch box equation is less likely to get overlooked. Cover them with a moist towel in a sealed container in the refrigerator so they stay crispy and fresh. 

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