Grid of meal images on marble counter top

Well we’re just into October, but I’ll bet you are already tired of making school lunches. Yes? I have a handful of kiddos to feed here at home and a few lunches to pack to go, but making lunches is an absolute breeze in our house, why?

It’s simple, we almost always use leftovers! There’s no standing in front of the fridge trying to figure out what to make. There are no tears from hungry kids, waiting for me to make lunch. There is no early morning panic to get lunches packed before school. We simply take leftovers from dinner, turn it into something new, add two snacks and call it done.

Tropical Salad Bowl // A simple fruit salad that can be made up the night before

Tropical salad is an easy fruit salad to whip up, ironically enough, in the cooler months. Oranges are in abundance throughout the fall and winter, canned pineapple can be kept in the pantry (I buy pineapple rings in pineapple juice) along with raisins and coconut. That means during the months that berries and other fruits are hard (or expensive) to come by, I can whip up this tropical fruit salad instead. And the real time saving trick, is that I can use the pineapple juice from the can to dress the salad and keep it fresh.

To make the tropical salad bowl: peel one clementine and cut each segment in half, cut one pineapple ring into chunks, add the fruit to a small bowl along with 1 tablespoon of raisins and 4 tablespoons of pineapple juice from the can. Sprinkle on some coconut (or pack it on the side). Makes enough for one or two snacks.

Pita, cucumber, red pepper, and peas on marble counter top

Shredded Chicken Mini Pitas with Veggies // A simple and fast lunch made with leftover chicken from dinner, that is shredded and stuffed into a mini pita

So like I mentioned before, making lunches is super easy around here, because I simply use leftovers from dinner and reinvent them into something new, like these shredded chicken mini pitas. For dinner, we had this One Pan Chicken Dinner along with a salad. After dinner I added 1 cup of the sauce to my food processor to puree it, then I simply shredded a leftover chicken breast and mixed in the pureed sauce. Shredded chicken in just a few minutes! I also cut up extra veggies while preparing the salad at dinner to go along with the pitas.

I would not recommend stuffing the pitas the night before, because they get soggy. So, if you are eating these at home, just put the shredded chicken in an airtight container and refrigerate until lunchtime, when you can simply stuff the pita and serve. For school lunches, I pack the pitas and the shredded chicken separately, to be either stuffed at school/work or eaten separately.

Pumpkin bread and raspberry skewer beside glass dish on marble counter

Make-Your-Own Pumpkin Bread & Raspberry Skewers // A simple but fun make-your-own snack made with cubes of pumpkin bread and raspberries

I love turning quick bread into these fun skewers mixed with fruit. Not only does it slow down the consumption of the quick bread, but it also makes it go a lot further. You can either make the skewers up yourself or turn it into a fun snack that the kids can make themselves. Just give them a bowl of cubed quick bread, like this delicious (and soooo easy) One Bowl Greek Yogurt Pumpkin Bread from Running With Spoons, along with some berries and let them do their thing. Plus then you don’t have to make a bazillion skewers!

Lunch in bento box on marble counter

Whether you are eating lunch at home or are packing it to go to school and/or work, using leftovers from dinner, plus a couple of snacks, makes making lunches a breeze. Which is a good thing, because we still have a lot of lunches to make.