I just love this post from 100daysofrealfood.com. From personal experience I can attest that this type of approach works wonders for busy moms and families with multiple children.
I did the freezing of school meals for many years and am about to start all over again for the upcoming school year. This post contains some excellent tips to help moms all over the world get organized. Before I share it with you here are a few extra observations.
-When preparing meals I only recommend using organic and non processed foods. If you are baking your own goods be sure to search for sprouted grain flours too as that gives your baked treat added nutrition and is easier on the digestive system. Sprouted flours are essentially healthier because sprouted flours are digested by the body as a vegetable not as a starch. If you follow a gluten free diet use organic coconut flour and almond flour which makes some amazing treats including pancakes, muffins, cakes, cookies and waffles.
-Be mindful of using peanut butter in your recipes for school children as many children suffer from severe peanut allergies due to mycotoxin contamination. Instead use raw almond, cashew or coconut butter. These 3 contain a higher nutritional value and taste delicious.
-Avoid using freezer bags and containers which contain chemicals that lead to cancer and disrupt the immune system and other systems in our body. Phthalates and BPA are especially dangerous to health and should be avoided.
That’s all! Enjoy the article below!
If you want to send your child off to school with wholesome, “real food” lunches this year, planning ahead is key! I know it’s tempting to just grab and go with those little prepackaged bags of cheese crackers and tubes of flavored yogurt, but giving your child nutritious foods throughout the school day can help them stay alert and do their best.
Now if I had to wake up each morning and make homemade “real food” school lunch recipes from scratch, well…that would just never happen! So instead I make lunch items when it is convenient for me and freeze them. I think it’s safe to say freezing foods in advance is my number one school lunch “trick” that makes the lunches I pack even possible. And my number two school lunch trick is to always pack – or at least start packing lunch – the night before!
So before we dive right into the list of things you should make and freeze right now at the beginning of the school year, here are a few freezing tips…
How to freeze and defrost recipes for school lunches:
- For Soups, Pastas, Meatballs, Refried Beans, Stews, Etc: Freeze the finished dish in individual portions using small jelly jars, small Tupperware containers, or even freezer-safe Ziploc bags (once the food has cooled). Note: If using glass jars leave room at the top for the soup to expand!
The day/night before school: Take out the frozen item of choice and let it defrost in its container in the fridge overnight. On the morning of school heat up the item (we usually use a small pot on the stove, but the microwave would work as well) in a heat-proof container and then transfer it to a thermos container in order to keep it warm at school. Be sure to check out our post on how to select and use a thermos. I try to send “hot lunch” (usually a soup) every Wednesday because it’s a nice break in the middle of the week, and I am now in a routine to remember to pick out something to defrost on Tuesdays.
- For Whole-Grain Muffins, Waffles, Pancakes, Quick Breads, Pizza Crusts, Store Bought Breads/Pitas, Etc: There are two ways to freeze bread items: 1. Freeze them in one layer on a baking sheet. Then once they are frozen transfer them to a big Ziploc bag or other freezer-safe container. 2. Eliminate a step by separating the layers of food with pieces of wax paper in your freezer-safe container/bag (so nothing sticks together). With certain foods (like muffins) I find that I don’t even need the wax paper.
The day/night before school: Pull out the desired individual frozen bread item, put it in the divided lunch container, and let it defrost in the fridge overnight with the other items you’ve packed. If you are just defrosting a bread item alone and it is not already packed with a perishable item then it can defrost on the counter at room temperature.
- For Smoothies: I freeze our smoothies in reusable silicone freezie pop molds and do not take them out until the morning of school. These do not need to defrost overnight! Instead they will actually slowly defrost throughout the school morning. My kids say they are kind of half frozen, half not by lunchtime (Note: I pack their lunch in insulated bags with 3 or 4 frozen ice packs).