8 quick back-to-school packed lunch hacks

packed lunch for school

Have a stress-free morning with these clever hacks for rustling up a super quick packed lunch.

1. Speedy snacks

Cut down on morning indecision by choosing snacks ahead of time. Arrange the kids' picks in a hanging shoe organiser labelled with the days of the week, so at leaving-the-house time, it’s just grab and go.

2. Freeze sandwiches

Sandwiches containing meat, cheese, tuna, jam or other spreads can all be frozen ahead of time, saving valuable minutes during the morning rush. By lunchtime they’ll have defrosted and be ready to eat.

3. Reuse your leftovers

Reduce waste and save on preparation time by giving your kids leftovers for lunch. Last night's couscous salad, homemade veggie pizza, fajitas or falafel make great alternatives to usual packed-lunch grub.

4. Cookie cutter sandwiches

Make lunchtime sandwiches irresistible by using cookie cutters - perfect for kids who can't stand crusts. All children know that eating something in the shape of a cat or a dinosaur makes it ten times yummier!

5. Keep apples fresh

Stop apples from turning brown by pre-slicing into wedges, putting the pieces back together and holding them in place with a rubber band. There’ll be no brown bits to nibble round come snack time.

Apple being sliced | How to stop an apple turning brown | Tesco Living

6. Keep drinks cold

Freeze bottles of squash at the start of the week, then pop one in each lunchbox in the morning for a refreshment that will keep ice-cold all day. What’s more, it’ll keep the rest of lunch cool and fresh at the same time. For cool, healthy smoothies, freeze an empty thermal flask overnight then pour your smoothie in just before you leave to keep it chilled until lunchtime.

7. Fish rice balls

To make fish more palatable to little ones, mask fishy smells by rolling chunks of fish in sticky sushi rice. Form into a ball using clingfilm, then keep in the fridge ready for the morning rush.

8. Fruit salad

Sneak some of your kids five-a-day into their lunchbox by making a fruit salad in a small container. Squeeze some lemon juice into the box to help keep the fruit fresh and stop it from turning brown. It’ll keep in the fridge for a few days, so you can make a big batch at the weekend.

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