We don’t have air conditioning so we have to be more thoughtful to help keep the house cool in the summer. When summer heat rolls in I focus on cooking without heating the house up which for us means lunches are more often than not uncooked. Sandwiches get boring fast unless you are a peanut butter and jelly, obsessed toddler. One thing these kids really love is when I make DIY Lunchables.
The kids love Lunchables but the amount of waste they produce means I prefer to avoid buying them. Much like how I buy tubeless toilet paper to reduce the amount of waste our family produces. Instead, I pull out some meal prep trays I found on Amazon and make my own.
While the portions on these are a bit large for the younger children that still eat 6 small meals instead of 3 the lids mean they can put them back in the refrigerator until they are hungry again. By making them all the same size I can just stack them and let kids grab them even if I am busy. If I am making this fresh for the kids and not putting in the refrigerator it is not uncommon for me to place everything on a cookie sheet to make feeding a large family easier. No one likes washing dishes right?
It’s not uncommon to find myself not wanting to cook on a 90-degree day. If we don’t have planned leftovers I make a point of adding everything for these to our twice a week InstaCart delivery from Kroger. I grab rectangle ham or turkey lunch meat slices so we just need to cut the whole block into squares. I do the same with cheese. It really is that simple.
What you need for DIY Lunchables
- Meal prep trays
- Ritz crackers
- Lunch meat
- Cheddar cheese block
- Stacking fruit or vegetables
- Cookies or mini candy bars
Cut cheese and meat up placing in your trays.
Add crackers and your dessert option. I don’t count crackers meat or cheese. I just grab a stack and call it a day. The desert is always their favorite part anyway.
Add a healthy fruit or vegetable. While these are not found in traditional Lunchables they are healthy and vital for growing kids. They are also very filling with a high water content. For this batch, I sliced up a bunch of green apples. If storing in the refrigerator I would add in something a little more stable like baby carrots, grapes or watermelon chunks.
For drinks, I pulled ice cold water bottles out of the fridge. As much as I hate using this much plastic the water at the house was not drinkable for a few days after a lawn mower accident next door. We add our favorite water flavorings from Aldi. We love that Aldi brand products do not use artificial food dyes and we use this for drinking and even making scented dye free playdough.