I get it. School lunches. I’m buggin’ about them, too. I’m asked a lot about what I’m putting in my kids’ lunches and have even once been called “the snack queen” which I think (?) is a compliment, so I decided to write up my tips & tricks. Basically, here’s everything you need to know:
My overall goal in our home is to create an easy system for myself and every other member of the family. Bags have designated wall hooks, toys have labeled bins, shoes go in the basket by the door etc, so that I don’t need to direct every move and we can have a clutter-free home. Lunch systems should be no different— it’s something you’ll be needing to do daily and during the morning scramble, one of the most hectic times of the day. We can’t get around doing it, so we may as well make it as fun and as easy as possible for ourselves, amirite?
OmieBox, an all-in-one bento style lunchbox that you can carry on its own by the handle or fold the handle down and put it inside a bag or lunchbox.
Lunch Blox slim, stackable, pop-top boxes; easy-to-clean with divider compartments
A leak proof water bottle for water, organic juice, milk, soy milk, goat’s milk, hemp milk, breastmilk, whatever your 5-year old is drinking these days, and one that isn’t too hard to open or close. Bonus if it has a carrying handle. We chose this Takeya brand bottle and Jude picked out the navy color. We have also used this flip top, unleakable straw lid, cup and have been pleased with it.
Keep hot or cold thermos
Silicone cups to use as dividers
Little cutesy food picks
Keep these items located together or near each other in the kitchen so you aren’t needing to go in approx. one million different places.
We use Dave’s Killer Bread or any wrap – all of these can be made into either a sandwich OR a wrap.
Organic turkey + cheese
Peanut/almond/sun butter and jelly
Hummus and thinly sliced cucumber
Shredded rotisserie chicken + mayo
Mac + Cheese (home made or store bought)
Sliced pepperoni rolls (preheat and stick in the thermos)
Chicken nuggest (preheat + stick in the thermos)
Soups – tomato, chicken noodle, butternut squash
Rice + Shredded Rotisserie chicken (or any type of chicken – use any leftovers!)
Pasta noodles + Sauce
Snacks + Sides
Yogurt – in a tube, small cup or in a divider – can top with honey, berries, chia seeds, coconut flakes etc.
Carrot + celery sticks (can add a scoop of hummus)
Sliced bell peppers
Berry medley (raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries)
Crackers (ritz, cheese-its, goldfish etc)
Larabar Kids or RXBar Kids
Nuts (if allowed – our school allows them in the cafeteria only) – cashews, almonds, pistachios
Tips + Tricks
Prep the food after you get home from the grocery store so that your veggies are washed and sliced and fruit/berries are clean. I know, I know— it’s so annoying to stop and do it, but trust me— you can do it once for the whole week and then spend the rest of the week actually living your life. It makes things a breeze for packing lunches and snacking, and it reduces food waste because you’re more likely to eat sliced/prepped produce!
Keep clear containers in your pantry so you can easily spot what you need, and the bonus— foods won’t go stale.
It’s simple to make food fun – provide an assortment in a well displayed, divided container and it will be a hit.
I do plan to update this post with more pics/ideas as the school year progresses!