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This time of year, parents are divided into two camps. School calendars vary, so while some are excited to finally get started with summer vacation, others are digging deep to get through the last days of the school year. Whether celebrating at the beach or shuffling kids off to school, moms and dads are still faced with the lunchtime conundrum. After all, there’s only so many PB&Js one can eat. Lunch is a great opportunity to put leftovers to good use, as you’ll see from the recipes below. To go along with them, here are 5 tips for packing a picnic, or the last few school lunches of the year.
Rethink Your Drink: Fill thermoses with water and store them in the freezer overnight. Not only will your kid be assured a cold thirst quencher (it’ll thaw enough to drink by lunchtime), it acts as an icepack to keep foods fresh.
Prep School: Cutting and packing veggies in containers when you get home from the supermarket gives you a leg up on preparing meals during the week.
Double Down: When boiling pasta, cook an extra portion or two. The leftover plain pasta means you’re halfway to your next meal. Add it to a pan of simmering sauce to reheat, or use it as a base for a no-cook meal, like the Vegetable Noodle Salad below.
A Cool Idea: Use frozen berries and lemon slices to keep iced tea and lemonade cold without watering them down.
Portion Control: Divide granola, pretzels, crackers and other on-the-go snacks into individual servings as soon you unpack the grocery bags. This way you can just grab what you need, and toss it in a beach bag or lunchbox on a busy morning.
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