Now this is particularly a really DUH moment for me because I am the same person who wrote some posts in past years about this very thing. Remember How to Make Easy Freezer Pancakes? And DIY Frozen Breakfast Burritos? These two posts have gone crazy on Pinterest and yet, I never thought to expand my own idea to lunch. And, I even hate packing lunches for my kidlets! But I do it anyway (with them helping me) because it saves so much money, and it's healthier, and sometimes school lunch is questionable, and blah blah blah you know this stuff already.
So I knew I had to try this idea of DIY make-ahead freezer sandwich idea. Gosh, you could even continue this idea in the summer months. Here's what you do to get it done in 30 minutes or LESS (it took me only 23 mins!):
1. Get all your sandwich makings out at once. Just the basic items are needed--bread, spread, and main ingredient. Some ideas:
peanut butter and jam
almond butter and honey
turkey and cheese
ham and cheese
pepperoni and cheese
wraps of all kinds using large tortillas
Don't worry about prepping lettuce or tomatoes or any extras. Kids can add these in later on their own OR you can slice and wash them and put it in the fridge ready to go for later--see more below!
2. Lay out all your slices of bread on the table. I used about one and a half loaves of bread to make 12 total sandwiches.
3. Start spreading your ingredients on. Work fast, doing one condiment on all sandwiches at one time. It's even faster if you have someone to help you
4. Add the other ingredients and close each sandwich by placing a piece of bread on top.
5. How to deal with different tastes and picky kids:
If you have kids that are really picky about certain sandwiches or how they are made then you can creatively think of ways to manage this using these ideas:
--Cut the sandwiches in different ways for different kid. For example, diagonal cut means "no mustard", or Dad's sandwiches are whole and not sliced, etc.
--Make the sandwiches very basic. Kids can pull them out of the freezer as they pack their lunch and add their own extras.
--Wash and slice lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, and other extras. Keep them in an airtight container in the fridge and kids can add in as they want each day.
--Some schools have condiments on hand for kids to use in the lunchroom (this is the case for me), so I'll have them add their extra mustard at school if they want.
--I've seen little condiment packets for sale at stores. That is an option too.
6. Wrap each sandwich with plastic wrap or sandwich baggies. I use the little fold-top baggies because they are quick and cheap. Then store in an airtight zip top bag or container and FREEZE!
7. To complete your lunch preparations, wash and slice fruits and veggies as needed so kids can just add those to their lunchbox along with the sandwich. Put juice boxes, granola bars, and other lunch items in an easy place for kids to reach. I'm a big believer in teaching children to be responsible for themselves as much as possible! I've heard of moms actually dividing out crackers and chips into little baggies too, so the kids can just grab and go (I've never done that, but it's an awesome idea if you have enough sanity left when you get home from the grocery store).
So there you have it! Now YOU are having a DUH moment too.
What do you do to make school lunch prep easier?
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