The first day of school is just around the corner for some (here for others!), which means it's not only time to mentally prepare yourself for the change in pace, but to start making an actual game plan for your days. If you're like me and prefer to avoid the sometimes scary lunches offered in the school cafeteria by sending your kid a homemade and totally nutritious meal, but you're nervous about how much time you'll have to spend preparing either before hitting the sack or in the wee hours of the morning, I've got a some great make-ahead suggestions for you that will save you both time and money.

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Read more ¿Qué más?: 5 Great ideas to keep your kids' school lunches yummy & healthy!

First though, you'll want to set yourself up for success from the beginning. So here are a few tips that will help you avoid school lunch burnout:

  • Make sure you always have all the packing supplies you need on hand. A good sectioned, reusable lunch container guarantees that you won't realize you've run out of paper bags at 10 p.m. on a Sunday night and are forced to succumb to the lunch line.
  • Remember to utilize your freezer. Lunch doesn't have to be the standard turkey and cheese sandwich--think outside the box. There are lots of yummy and practical options other than a sandwich that can be frozen and will be fully defrosted by lunch hour.
  • In addition to prepping main items on the weekend, make sure you cut up big batches of veggies like carrots, bell peppers and celery and non-oxidizing fruits like pineapple, melon and oranges, that you can just pull from each day. 
  • Be adventurous! This is a great opportunity to introduce your kids to new foods and new preparations. Have fun with it.

Now click through the slideshow for some simple and fun make-ahead lunch mains.

Image via Thinkstock

Topics: advice  back to school  feeding kids  healthy kids  inspiration