5 LUNCH ITEMS TO MAKE FOR THE SCHOOL YEAR

School starts in next week. And while so many parents are buying school supplies and clothes, I’m not quite there yet. Instead, I’m using the time I have left with the kids (the bigs have been going to day camp this summer) to make school lunch items.

You probably already know I’m a freezer cooking kind of girl. The type that spends a few days assembling 20+ dinners and then doesn’t cook again for a month. But this year, I’ve decided to up my game and make school lunches as easy as possible.

How I Got My Kids On Board

My kids think buying school lunches is cool. Sure, I get it. It’s fun, it’s different, and it’s so much easier for mom. But, gone are those days when we qualified for reduced lunches and here to stay are the days when a school lunch costs $2.50. Each.

So we compromised last year with one school lunch a week. But then, I discovered the system here in Georgia, allows them to spend their money on anything. So that $10 per kid I budgeted per month was blown quickly when someone got a jumbo lunch, bought breakfast, or added a $1 bag of chips. Nope, no more.

The bigs are learning to budget (more on that soon) and they know we are saving up for a Disney Cruise in late 2019. Declan did the math, we spend at least $200 a year on school lunches. I’m so glad they think that $200 is a lot of money! So they compromised and we dropped it down once or twice a month.

Here’s the Plan for School Lunch

Abi loves to cook, so it’s not hard to convince her to help out on making things. Gregory decided this time around, “Me help cook, me.” So he helped out a bit too. Here’s what we made.

English Muffin Pizzas – 14
Mini Corn Dog Muffins – 32
Meatball Sub Muffins – 24 (but then 4 of them didn’t make it in the freezer)
PB&J Sandwiches – 20 for bigs, 6 half sandwiches for G
Muffins – 24

English Muffin Pizzas

We bought the 9-pack from Costco. Some of them ended up in bellies before we made this meal.
Tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, preferred pizza toppings

  1. Toast English muffins, then lay out on a baking sheet
  2. Spoon out the sauce, add cheese, and whatever toppings you want
  3. Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes
  4. Allow to cool, package in freezer safe containers with wax paper in between layers

These will defrost in time for a regular school lunch, however, my children prefer that we take them out at least the night before. I put one or two of them in their reusable lunch bags and off they go.

Mini Corn Dog Muffins

Two boxes of Jiffy corn muffin mix + one extra tablespoon of oil
4-5 hotdogs

  1. Prepare mix as normal, add one tablespoon of oil to help keep them moist
  2. Spoon into mini muffin tins
  3. Cut hotdog pieces to the desired size and put in the middle of the muffins
  4. Bake at 400 for 10 minutes
  5. Allow to cool, package in freezer safe containers with wax paper in between layers

These do not require thawing the night before, which make them perfect for a last-minute lunch. The kids take 3-4 of them depending on how hungry they think they are.

Meatball Sub Muffins

Courtesy of Bread with a side of Butter

Two tubes of crescent rolls (ideally the ones without perforations)
Tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese
Frozen meatballs

  1. Watch her video on cutting the crescent rolls and place them into greased muffin tins
  2. Add some tomato sauce (we did one kitchen teaspoon, like the kind you eat with) and sprinkle with a tiny bit of cheese
  3. Pop one frozen meatball in it
  4. Add some more sauce and cheese
  5. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes
  6. Cool slightly in the pan, then move to a baking sheet
  7. Freeze on the baking sheet, then transfer to freezer safe containers with wax paper in between layers

These are new to us, and therefore had to be tested by G and Abi, and then “Share with Daddy” and all gave their stamp of approval. I plan to send one or two with each kid.

PB&J Sandwiches

I am an anomaly and do not like peanut butter & jelly sandwiches. I also really hate making them. But, I figured making a bunch once and then not having to do it again for a while would be worth it.

Two loaves of bread, peanut butter, and jelly

  1. Put a thin layer of peanut butter on both sides of the bread
  2. Add jelly
  3. Freeze on a baking sheet and then transfer to plastic bags or to a larger plastic bag for storage.

I am going to experiment with taking them out and thawing in the fridge the night before and popping them into lunchboxes frozen to see which they prefer.

Muffins

This is really just a quick method of having muffins available as snacks.

Muffin mix, enough for 24 muffins

  1. Make muffins
  2. Freeze on a baking sheet and then transfer to plastic bags or to a larger plastic bag for storage.

Is this really enough food?

This year I’m packing two elementary school lunchboxes and one toddler lunch box (only twice a week). I encourage them all to pack their own things, but they need guidance. So here’s how we run things, in an ideal world.

  • Main Course
  • Fruit
  • Vegetable
  • Snack
  • Drink

That’s it. That’s all they get. So if you’re the math kind of person, you’ll see I now have 24 snacks made and 55 main courses prepared. That, my dear friends, takes care of August. Yes, the entire first month’s worth of school lunch items are complete.

Are you ready to read more about freezer meals?
Check out Rebecca’s Guide to Freezer Cooking!

2 Thoughts on “5 Lunch Items to Make for the School Year”

  • We have 3 kids (HS, MS and ES) Only our middle takes her lunch preferring salad or straight leftovers. Maybe a jelly sandwich from time to time. We shall see now that she’s in MS, cause you know, she’s “grown” now.

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