School Lunch Ideas for the Busy Teacher

Posted by Emily Guthrie on Jul 21, 2016 9:46:21 AM


Making time to eat healthy is so challenging for me as a teacher.  I have often found myself rushing out the door in the morning with barely enough time to a quick eat breakfast, which leaves almost no time to pack a lunch.  An extra challenge comes at lunchtime when I have to balance answering parent emails, administering make-up quizzes for absent students, and completing my supervision duties. I have to have something that won't take hours of prep on my precious weekends, but will be ready to grab and go Mon-Fri.  I also have to be able to eat while standing at the copy machine or in the quad. On top of all that, it has to be something substantial enough to ensure that my 6th period class will not get the hangry Mrs. Guthrie.  Below are some easy and quick lunches I love for school. I'd love to hear your suggestions in the comment section below!

  • Salad in a jar: This healthy and beautiful lunch brings me joy just knowing that it is waiting for me after fourth period.
    • How to: Set out 5 mason jars, layer salad elements: dressing on the bottom, your pick of veggies and lean meat, with lettuce or spinach on top! At lunch time, shake up and eat out of the jar if you have to or shake up and pour into a bowl or plate for easier eating.
    • Tips: Add garbanzo or other beans to give it a hardiness that will help you make it through the day.

School Lunch Ideas for the Busy Teacher

  • Bean, Pasta, and Other Fun Salad: When I am working long days or going through particularly strenuous activities, I like to pack a little more than the lettuce jars above. The combinations are endless here, which helps reduce healthy lunch burnout. Here are a few of my faves:
    • Black bean salad: Mix together black beans, chopped tomatoes, corn, diced bell peppers, avocado, and any other veggie you are into. Dress with olive oil, lime juice, cilantro, salt, and pepper. Portion out for the week because the lime juice will help keep it tasty for days! (Add avocado each day if you prefer)
    • Bowtie salad: Mix cooked bowtie pasta with tons of frozen/thawed veggies (or diced fresh veggies if you have time).  Dress with your favorite Italian type dressing and portion for the week!
    • Fruit salad with yogurt and granola: Although it doesn't keep for as long as the other options, yogurt parfaits are an excellent quick lunch for teachers. You can pre-portion the yogurt and the granola in containers (I use mason jars for the yogurt) and cut up the fruit one or two days in advance.  Lime juice will help keep the fruit fresh.
  • Frozen burritos: When you are in the mood for a hot lunch and have time to do the heating, burritos are a one hand dish that I can really get behind. Instead of buying them at the store, pre-prep a big batch and freeze them to save time and reduce preservatives!
    • Add any fillings you want, then individually wrap burritos in plastic wrap and place your burrito stash in a large ziplock to freeze until you are ready to take one to school.
    • You can also keep the whole batch in the faculty freezer if there is room, but watch out for those infamous food thieves!


What do you bring for healthy, easy school lunches?  We would love to hear your ideas in the comment section below!

Topics: lunch, teacher life, tips

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