Packing a lunch for school can save money, give you greater control over what your kids are eating, and can help you manage food allergies. Young kids can’t easily rehydrate food without hot water, but that doesn’t mean you can’t put your home freeze dryer to work for school lunches. Older kids may have access to water heated in a microwave or in a coffee or tea machine. For younger kids, use your freeze dryer to preserve individual elements such as lunch meat, cheese, and fruit. Those with access to hot water can take entire entrees – including their favorite foods or leftovers.
Freeze Drying Lunch Meat and Cheese
Lunch meat and cheese roll ups or sandwiches are a delicious way to send protein with your little one. Freeze drying lunch meat and cheese allows you to take advantage of bulk sales, eat organic if it’s important to you, and eliminate trips to the grocery store (including the Sunday night what’s-for-lunch-panic). To freeze dry deli slices of turkey, ham, or roast beef, roll the slices up like a sleeping bag and freeze dry in a single layer on trays. To rehydrate, dip in cool water or spritz with water. You can tell by look and feel when they are fully hydrated, and they taste just like a fresh sandwich should. For school lunches, freeze dry cracker-sized slices of cheese in a single layer on trays. To rehydrate, place in a ziplock bag with a damp paper towel and let freeze-dried cheese slowly come back to life. Or, some kids love freeze-dried cheese because it has crunchy texture.
5 Freeze Dried Sides
- Freeze dried fruit in bite-size pieces is an excellent lunch box stuffer. Fruit doesn’t have to be rehydrated, it tastes delicious as is, and retains all of the nutrition of fresh fruit.
- Freeze dried vegetables sprinkled with seasoning mix are also good lunch time sides that kids love.
- Vegetable chips are easy to make, don’t have the unhealthy aspects of fried chips, and are the perfect way to sneak another serving of veggies into your kid’s day.
- Yogurt drops are another lunch box favorite. They pack a ton of protein, have a creamy taste that kids love, and don’t need refrigeration.
- For a sweet treat, freeze dried gummy bears take the prize. These rubbery little favorites swell up in the freeze dryer, so just a few go a long way. Not only are they delicious, they’re fun to show off and share.
Middle and High School Lunches and Snacks
If older kids have access to a microwave or instant hot water machine, rehydrating healthy meals takes just a minute. Some of our favorite school lunches for older kids are entrees that are high in protein and complex carbs. Freeze dried snacks are also important to span the gap between class and after school activities.:
- Chili with red beans and vegetables
- Mac and cheese
- Vegetable lasagna
- Deli slices on whole wheat bread
- Make-your-own nut-free trail mix with freeze dried fruit, chocolate chips, sunflower seeds