food

Freezable school lunches that your kids will actually eat.

As most parents will know, school returns this week (or next week depending on where you live).

Some of us will be rejoicing at the very thought of it, while others might be a little sad to be losing their day time buddy. Whatever your holiday experience, it’s safe to say that as parents we are once again preparing ourselves for the inevitable mayhem that can accompany school mornings.

I know in my house preschool mornings are total chaos. It’s honestly like a circus around here. I’m throwing breakfast at the kids like a kitchen ninja, there are clothes going every which way as I argue the practicalities of wearing speedos instead of pants and usually, I’m scrambling to put together a lunchbox that has a) half a chance of being eaten and b) some sort of nutritional value.

In my quest to actually arrive on time this term, I have started looking for ways to streamline the morning madness. One of the major ones seems to be pre-preparing lunches.

"Com'on, who wouldn't eat that." Image via iStock.

For some people this might mean whipping up some sandwiches the night before but if you want to be really organised, sort yourself out with some freezable lunches and feel like a pretty smug duck come bell time.

Here are some of the best freezable kids lunches that I have come across:

Muffins.

Treats like cakes and muffins are known to freeze very well and you can adapt them to suit your families requirements. My kids enjoy an apple and maple syrup recipe that is surprisingly healthy. The only rule is to make sure to cool your baked goods completely before packing them into an airtight container and be sure to freeze on the same day that you bake. There is no need to defrost them, just pop one into the lunchbox and it will thaw out by lunchtime.

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Read more: A nutritionist looked inside my kids lunch boxes.

Scrolls.

My kids love those freshly baked scrolls from the shops but they are so simple you may as well do it at home. Use any combination of ingredients you like (grated cheese and vegemite, sundries tomato etc) and freeze them in individual zip lock bags once cooled so you can easily grab one at a time.

Soups.

Soups are an awesome lunchtime meal for kids, especially in winter. Plus, they are super easy to make ahead of time. All you need to do is remember to freeze the portions individually and leave them out to defrost the night before.

Obviously it depends on the age of your kids but soup is a great warm lunch. Image: iStock

Then in the morning, use the microwave or stove to bring them to heat and pop them in a thermos. (I've heard the Kmart ones are amazing, and a great size for kids). Pop in a bread roll if you have one on hand.

Mini Lasagnas and Quiches.

Thermos' are not only great for liquids, they work amazingly well for other hot foods too. Mini quiches and lasagnas are a good way to use up excess mince sauce and veggies and you can cheat by using won ton cases as bases. Once they are cool, wrap well and freeze. Then, just like soups, leave them out to defrost and heat before popping into the thermos.

Read more: A teacher snack shamed this child. I say, good on her.

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Yoghurt.

Yoghurt freezes remarkably well and it doesn't actually matter if it's defrosted completely or not come morning tea. Freeze in the portions you wish to send and it will help keep the other lunchbox items cool throughout the day.

Sandwiches.

Don't underestimate the humble sandwich, depending on the filling, it can actually be a great freezable lunchbox option. Sure, fresh is always going to be best but when my kids are happy to eat month old unidentified food they find down their car seats, I don't worry too much about the quality of sandwich.

No one's asking you for this but if you feel so inclined, be our guest! Image: iStock

Things like canned meats, cooked meats, cream cheese, mayonnaise and vegemite all freeze well but avoid any salads. Due to their high water content they don't tend to fare very well. You also want to make sure to buy the freshest bread available (or make your own) and freeze on the same day you buy it. Wrap them well in cling film to prevent any air from getting to them.

Slices.

Slices are another good baking option which can be cut up ahead of time and popped in the freezer to grab as needed. Again, you don't need to defrost them, just chuck in the lunch and they're ready to go.

What's your time saving tip for other mums?

Choice has applied an algorithm for the healthy food star rating system to children's lunch box staples. So with the Choice star rating system in hand, how do these every day school lunches rate? We

TAP on the image to scroll through the gallery to find out:

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