The end of August is creeping up on us and before we know it we will all be back in school mode. Waking up early, running around to after school activities and packing school lunches. Did I just hear groans from you all?
Packing school lunches just might be the death of me. I have no idea why it is so difficult as I have to make lunches everyday anyways, but there is just something about school lunch packing that keeps me up at night! The daily task of coming up with lunch ideas and packing them is enough for any mom to call it quits and load up the lunch account at school instead. But even though the responsibility of packing lunches gets overwhelming, for the sake of my children, I do it knowing they are getting a nutritious meal rather than chicken nuggets, chocolate milk, and pizza on a daily basis from the school cafeteria.
To make it all easier on us, here are some of my favorite supplies to use:
Bentology Bento Lunch Box
I purchased these Bentology lunch boxes (formally Laptop Lunches) for my kids 3 years ago. They have held up well and I love that I can wash the containers each night reducing the use of plastic wrap and baggies. They have two containers with lids for items like yogurt, dressing or oatmeal and a handy dandy compartment to store the stainless steel utensils.
Reusable Ice Packs
I have tried many ice packs over the years and they all seem to be so awkward. If you’re tired of the bulky blue bricks that you are trying to shove between sandwiches and snacks, get these Fit & Fresh Cool Coolers Slim Lunch Ice Packs. They look promising and get great reviews by users.
Cutting down on waste is a big goal of mine so using reusable napkins only makes sense. Try out these organic ones from Laptop Lunches.
We have been using our thermos’ for the kids for the past 4+ years. They are probably the best purchase I’ve made when it comes to water bottles for the kids since they are still holding up well. Drinks stay surprisingly cold for the whole day and they are easy to throw in lunch bags or store on the side of backpacks. They are leak proof and won’t sweat. Check out all the colors and characters here.
When you want to keep foods hot like soups, mac and cheese or oatmeal, check out these Thermos Funtainer Food Jars. They come in a variety of colors and different characters to make any child happy.
Reusable Food Pouch
My kids love squeezy applesauce but with a hefty price tag and questionable ingredients, this year I am making my own. These Little Green Pouches get great reviews and hold a fair amount for a school age child.
Biodegradable or reusable sandwich bags
Plastic Ziploc bags might be fast and easy, but they aren’t helping the environment by throwing them away every single day. Try these washable Neat-O reusable bags for sandwiches or snacks instead. They come in regular sandwich sizes, snack sizes or gallon sizes. You can even use them for items other than food. If you must use a throw away variety for school trips or such, try these Wexy biodegradable brand, PrideGreen Recycled Materials Zip-N-Seal Bags or BioBag Sandwich Bags.
Silicone Muffin Liners
I love these Pantry Elements Silicone Baking Cups/Cupcake Liners for different purposes. Obviously I use them when baking up some muffins or cupcakes, but they also double as cups in your lunch boxes to divide different foods. They come in really fun colors and clean up easily.
Zipzicle Yogurt Sleeves
Y’all. These things are amazing! I know they technically are “disposable” and I just mentioned I am all about saving the environment and all, but hear me out. These can be washed out and reused time and time again. I used them for summer popsicles and plan to use them for making my own Go-Gurt for school lunches. While the reusable FoodWorks Silicone Molds are always an option, I found these Zipzicles were much easier for the kids to eat and store in my freezer.
Toothpicks are easy to find at any store and will make lunchtime more fun for your little ones when a cute little character or fuzzy ball is sticking out the top of their sandwich. Try these CUTEZCUTE Animals Food Picks and Forks.
Nothing says love to a child like a sandwich in the shape of a dinosaur, bear or heart. There is just something about it that kids love! Try any of these sandwich cookie cutters to spice up their lunchbox.
Hopefully these tools will make packing lunch a little easier and fun this year for you and your kiddos!
Do you have any favorite products for your kids lunch boxes? I’d love to hear!
Until next time, keep it real.
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