The first 3 weeks of school were exciting.

A beautiful boy coming home each day with news of his adventures in Kindergarten and mornings with hot porridge, freshly ironed uniforms, shiny shoes and someone eager to get out the door.

My shock was to come when the novelty wore off and mornings once again became dramatic re-enactments of a scene from Malcolm in the Middle.  Me struggling out of bed, the little kids being tossed into the car in pyjamas and wholesome home-packed lunches being abandoned for the somewhat dubious selection at the school canteen.

Suddenly thoughts of whether or not we had fresh bread & cold cuts, fresh fruit and tasty treats for recess became all consuming. Late-night “scissors, paper, rock” to see who had to do the late night dash to the supermarket became more competitive than WWF Wrestling and my doubts as to whether I was really cut out for motherhood came rushing back.

As I’m prone to do, a 3am private session of pondering forced me to examine the problem in search of a solution.  I knew I couldn’t ask the nearly 5 year old to step up and take responsibility for his lunch (in true male style he’s only starting to do that now – 4 years later!) And the oldest male in the house wasn’t going to offer to upset his routine (he has a job you know). So I thought about the morning and what was going wrong …

The biggest gap was the lunches – no bread, stale bread, ham that’s out of date, chicken that looks fine, smells fine but …

But what if the chicken wasn’t fine and he gets food poisoning, vomits all over the classroom floor and has to live with the embarrassment and I’m seen as one of those “out of control, not quite coping if you know what I mean” Mothers …

There had to be a solution.  Enter the once a fortnight Sunday afternoon production line!

Arm yourself with two loaves of bread – style is your choice but I like to mix it up and give him one white and one multi or one white and one wholemeal, half a kilo of sliced chicken breast, half a kilo of ham, a huge block of cheese, a 12 pack of lamingtons, a batch of mini pancakes (home made if you’re up for it), a batch of date scones (again how Martha Stuart you want to be is up to you) and at least two glasses of wine.

Make up every last piece of bread with combinations to your kids’ tastes (if they’re not into meat and cheese, stick with spreads), wrap them individually and stick a tiny piece of paper with the sandwich filling just inside the cling wrap (this does two things – tells you what’s in the sandwich and makes removing the cling wrap easier for little fingers).  Pack them all into the freezer.

Do the same with the mini lamingtons, pancakes (mine like butter and jam between them before we freeze) and the muffins.

So that’s it – two weeks’ worth of lunches in one hour.

And freezing everything fresh means tasty sandwiches, even in Summer.

Add to that the phone number of a local guy who’ll deliver a box of fresh fruit to your door during the night (so you don’t have to chat to him) every week.

Lunches are now as simple as grab the lunchbox, open the freezer and choose a sandwich, and morning snack, visit the fruitbox for cherry tomatoes and fruit and in Summer, a frozen fruit juice in a box (putting to bed any fears of room temperature meats on tender tummies).

You’ll be amazed what the extra 10 minutes gives you time for each day. And more importantly the overwhelmingly ever present question of “do I have enough stuff for lunches” tomorrow will leave you more time to worry about something else!

Just kidding – you might even have time to slap on some lip gloss before you race out the door.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.


  • I remember the trials of school lunchboxes. Finding things they would happily eat, but that also needed to be healthy

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  • I always made sure we had lunch box fillers, fresh bread and fresh fruit etc. I wonder if freezing some sandwiches would make them soggy when defrosted???

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  • I never made the sandwiches ahead as all our bread is bought fortnightly. The bread doesn’t have to be thawed in advance. You simply take out the number of slices you need, spread them out, then spread the spread , add the filling on one piece of bread, put the another piece on top and cut it if preferred. You make the number of sandwiches required and put them in the boxes used. If you thaw the bread completely it may be dry on the outside by lunch time. Whatever you do, do not put it in a sunny spot to thaw like somebody I know did.. It will be like cardboard by lunchtime – possibly before. Make sure they have a bottle of water to drink. The water fountain – if there is any will have hot water in it in Summer not cold like kids like in hot weather. They should also take at least one piece of fruit provided their boxes will stay cool.

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  • I definitely have found the reality of school lunches alot different to what I imagined it to be.

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  • Some great ideas here. Laughing at not having to talk to the fruit and veg delivery guy :)

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  • It was sooo much easier when Nutella was allowed in the lunch box :-(
    So NOT fun with a super taster and a little yr1 who follows suit….there is only so much ham and chicken they are willing to take before it comes back, crackers n cheese, salad, jams, pizza, hamburgers, wraps, rolls, jaffas and the low point toasting some hamburger buns for grilled cheese…..I’m sooo over seeing food coming back…it never did with Nutella :-( *don’t even think vegemite to salty for my kids taste*

    One thing I’m thankfull for is they like their fruit!!

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  • Such a great idea. I wonder though what fillings don’t work well frozen.

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  • I always think that when the sandwich defrosts they would become soggy??? Will give it a try to take some of the morning stress off. Another thing to always have in the cupboard is corn thins, cruskits or the like……always a good substitute if you run out of bread

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  • This does work. I try the rule to have lunch boxes done the night before, but got a call from the school last week because my 9 year old had no food. Turns out my 2 year old had raided his bag during the breakfast commotion and squirrelled the food away for her doll to eat.

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  • Definitely an awesome idea, I have been freezing some dinner leftovers in containers for my daughters lunches but never thought of sandwiches and snacks!!


    • cheers nikki, everyone loves this post.

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  • Such a good idea, isn’t it.
    Hubby and I used to do this for our own lunches when we both worked.
    Rolls with bbq chicken cheese and mayo.
    For the kids I did for a while but found I was just as happy making lunches the night before.
    Great idea about the fruit delivery though.

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  • Always need good quality lunch boxes the kids are really hard on there lunch boxes always need some fresh ones

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  • Very great ideas, thank you for sharing.

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  • Ha ha. Thanks for the article (-:

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  • Love it! Especially important last step of the glass of wine :)

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