5 Lunch Packing Tips for a Streamlined Morning

5 Lunch Packing Tips for a Streamlined Morning Do you regularly pack and bring lunch with you to work or school?

Want to streamline your lunch packing routine and save time in the process?

Packing a daily lunch can be a cost-effective and healthy meal option.

While lunch ideas are infinite (sandwich, soup, salad, or entree anyone?), you can can streamline your food packing with just a handful of finite and practical tips.

In this post, I offer five tips to help make lunch planning and packing a breeze.

Purchase the right containers for the job.

First things first, if you’ll be continually toting your lunch to work, school, or beyond, you’ll need the right tools for the job.

The last thing you want to do is inadvertently soil your favorite backpack, bag, or purse with vinaigrette salad dressing, and spend a good part of your morning picking a smashed peanut butter and jelly sandwich from the pages of the latest issue of your favorite magazine.

You can’t go wrong investing in specially-designed lunch boxes and containers. Choose from store-bought insulated lunch boxes or bags, or sturdy built food containers, such as bento boxes, which are made of cloth, hard plastic, soft plastic, lacquered wood, or even metal.

As far as containers and supplies go, stock up on food-safe, reusable, stain-proof, spill-proof, hand and/or dishwasher safe, unbreakable items including:

  • Small and medium sized containers for sandwiches, salads, and entrees
  • Small containers for dressings and sauces
  • Beverage containers & containers for soups, stews, broth, or hot foodstuffs
  • Wax paper, plastic wrap, aluminum foil, plastic baggies, or paper bags
  • Reusable forks, spoons, and knives
  • Disposable or cloth napkins

Test pack your lunch box.

You can prevent spills, smashed food, and other culinary disasters by taking just a couple of minutes to test pack your lunch box when you’re not in a rush. This doesn’t have to be anything difficult or complicated. You just want to familiarize yourself with your brand-new or existing lunch box or container to get a feel for how containers should be packed and stowed.

You’ll want to double-check the following: container lids can be properly and tightly sealed, beverage containers do not leak, containers fit snugly inside and don’t shift, and that you can properly zip, snap, tighten, or close, outside lunchbox or container fasteners.

Create a lunch box cheat sheet.

Say farewell to that oft forgotten spoon or salad dressing packet. Take a few minutes to create a list of supplies and foodstuffs that need to be packed along your lunch.

All you have to do is brainstorm a couple of lunch ideas (soup, salad, sandwich, etc.), and then think about the type of items that go along with each. When in doubt, create your list, set it aside for a few days, and then return to it with fresh eyes.

Here’s several add-on lunch box items to get you started:

  • Forks, spoons, and knives
  • Straws
  • Napkins
  • Hand wipes
  • Salad dressings, sauces, dips, and spreads
  • Pieces of whole or cut-up fruit
  • Healthy snacks for the day
  • Water bottle or beverage container

Plan a weekly lunch menu.

You regularly plan your weekly dinner menu, so why not create a lunch plan? Planning a weekly lunch menu will help prevent last-minute lunch preparations and frazzled mornings. Begin by looking for quick and easy meal and recipes online for inspiration. The next time you draw up your grocery list, make a section for lunchtime ingredients so you have what you need to build those sandwiches and and simmer soups.

Don’t forget to keep those old lunch standbys on hand: sandwiches, salads, and soup, as well as dinner leftovers, are all convenient and quick lunch ideas.

Pack lunch the night before.

Packing lunch the night before always takes a bit of stress out of getting ready in the morning. If you’ve never tried this tactic before, you really should. The kitchen is a relatively quiet place right after dinner, as opposed to the busy morning rush, so you’ll have plenty of room and space to spread out and prepare a meal.

What’s more, if you’re not a morning person, the evening is a great time to prepare meals; you’ll still be awake! And lastly, you can easily scoop dinner leftovers into your lunch containers before packing away the rest of the food and do the dishes.

How about you? Do you regularly take lunch with you to work, school, or another destination? Which of these tips are you going to try out in the coming weeks? Join the conversation and leave a comment below!

Follow Rashelle:
Rashelle Isip is a New York City-based professional organizer and productivity consultant who helps people get organized so they can stress less, have more fun, and be happier at home. Her work has been featured in Good Housekeeping, Fast Company, Cosmopolitan, The Washington Post, Business Insider, and The Atlantic. Get access to her free guide, 10 Simple Ways to Make Your To-Do Lists More Effective, by clicking here.