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Lunch Prep: How I Stock The Fridge

Last week I shared how I stock my pantry so today I wanted to share how I stock the lunch prep fridge. We’re lucky enough to have 2 extra fridges in our garage. Large family = Extra fridge space. I have one fridge dedicated solely to lunch prep to help make it easier for the kids to pack their own lunches every day. We’re over a month into school and the system is working! So today I’m going to give you a peek inside my lunch prep fridge and share how I keep it stocked. 

This is my garage lunch prep fridge. It’s nothing fancy- just a basic $450 fridge that we got for $200 in the scratch and dent section and it works for what I need. It used to be a drink fridge but this year I decided it needed to be more functional for our family. The lunch prep fridge was born! I bought the colorful baskets at The Dollar Store and they are perfect for what I need. This fridge holds everything cold that the kids need to pack lunches every day. I took the kids with me to the grocery stores the first time and together we chose items that they wanted to pack for lunches this year. I tend to keep it stocked with the same stuff but every once in awhile I add something new for a change. I bought 6 of the shallow bins and 2 of the deep buckets to keep the fridge organized. Let’s face it- none of my kids are willing to sort through big full buckets or unorganized shelves to find stuff for lunch. They’d just pick the very first stuff they saw and everything else would go bad. Kids. 

I use the bottom 2 drawers for drinks. Zoey likes the Honest Co juice boxes and Mason likes the Country Time lemonades. They always take a full water bottle to drink during the day and the juice boxes/lemonade are for lunch time only. They don’t take these every day, maybe twice a week. The rest of the days they just drink their water. I keep water bottles on the bottom 2 shelves for them as well. 

The blue bin on the first shelf is for yogurt. My kids love the YoCrunch yogurts. I buy them in the smaller sizes and I typically buy 3 packs a week (M&M, Oreo, and Cookie bite) plus a few of the Twix larger ones. I know they’re not the healthiest but it’s a nice little treat for them and at least their eating yogurt! The red basket is where they put their chosen lunch items for the next day. My biggest rule for lunch packing is that it must be done the day before. I do not have time to poke and prod kids to pack lunches in the mornings. 

On the middle shelf I have a basket for lunchables and P3 packs. I only buy a couple of these per week because they’re not my first choice for lunches but the kids love them. I buy the lunchables at ALDI because they have the organic ones and all the kids like the P3 packs from Walmart. In the middle basket I keep hummus and naan bread dippers- these are for Maliah. She loves the chocolate hummus for fruit and the roasted red pepper hummus for the naan bread. She also uses the naan bread dippers for her chicken salad which is kept in the next basket. 

I alternate buying her regular chicken salad and cranberry pecan chicken salad and I buy them wherever they are cheapest that week (mostly at ALDI). I also keep several of the Philadelphia cream cheese packs on hand for them. They love those! There are several flavors- strawberry with bagel chips, chocolate with pretzels, and garden vegetable with bagel chips. And Zoey is a huge fan of the little packs of crab sticks! They’re the perfect size for lunches.

On the top shelf I keep lunch snacks. In one basket I have string cheese sticks and the Laughing Cow cheese packs. The kids love to spread those on Wheat Thin crackers or Melba Toast.  I also keep applesauce and apple slices packs with either peanut butter or caramel sauce in a basket. I know it’s much more cost effective to slice our own apples but I have 2 kids that will not eat an apple that has even a hint of brown. I bought some powder stuff to use to keep the apples fresh but some weeks I just don’t have the time or the apples are too pricey so I buy the apple packs instead. 

In the last basket I keep the packs of pickles. I alternate between these Dilly Bites and the Mt. Olive pickle paks. Maliah is the one who loves pickles but Tyler will also snag one for his work lunch occasionally. They come in both dill and sweet pickle petites varieties and they’re the perfect size for lunch. 

So that’s my lunch prep fridge! I shared some important info about how I stock the fridge on my Lunch Prep 101 post including how often I restock and how much money I budget weekly for stocking the pantry and fridge so be sure to check it out if you want those kinds of details. Next week I’m going to share how I grocery shop! You can find all the posts in my Meal Planning & Prep and Lunch Planning & Prep series HERE

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