I have to admit, I never thought I’d be that parent that was ready for school to start. I vividly remember telling myself that, pre-kids (of course) after watching parents dance down the isles of local stores the day school started.
It’s kind of like this old staples commercial when the parents are taking their kids back to school shopping and the kids are basically crying in the aisles while the parents are dancing with joy.
Fortunately my kids are more than ready as well. They still love school so it makes it easy. And don’t worry, I truly love my children and enjoy spending time with them, yet at the same time they are needing space, structure, challenges and social interaction.
Of course, one of my biggest fears revolves around what they’re eating.
I’m a firm believer that what and when a child eats can affect their moods, personality, as well as their ability to listen and learn. This is a big deal and unfortunately one that hasn’t gotten a lot of attention in our schools.
So since mama (me) isn’t having any of that, well packing our lunch it is. I say this now as I haven’t yet done it for 180 days straight (we can regroup at the end of the year). But after watching my husband pack his lunch daily for nearly seven years I know it can be done and done well.
HOW TO DO IT RIGHT:
I don’t think it’s a matter of doing it, but doing it right. Of course not packing overly processed things (which would be easy) because in the end these are more expensive and just as bad as school food. So it really boils down to doing it right. The right key pieces, with a lot of input from the kiddos and some pretty sweet items to pack it all in.
The only way for anything to be lasting is if it’s fun.
So we must keep it fun.
Here’s how to do it right:
- Grab some awesome lunch box essentials (listed below)
- Mix up the menu
- Pack a surprise
- Get creative and think outside the box (well inside the lunch box – you get what I’m trying to say)
I’ll be breaking down a great system for creating delicious lunch box menus next week. But for now lets break down the awesome lunch box essentials to at least start with the basics.
So in honor of eliminating the unnecessary, here’s the quick list of five essentials you’ll need to pack an amazing school lunch.
Stainless Water Bottle – I prefer stainless because they stay clean and neat without the harmful chemicals of plastic. Oh, and it’s not glass so no worries about breaking.
Stainless Steel Lunchbox – Again more expensive than the plastic but I can assure you it will last much longer and again you’re not having to deal with plastic.
Small Containers – For dips, applesauce or anything else you prefer to be leak proof.
Thermos – To keep hot stuff hot and cold stuff really cold. I’ll be using this for warm things like oatmeal, soups and casseroles.
- MIU Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Cooking Thermos – This one is bigger and tougher to keep hots hot or colds cold.
- Thermos Vacuum Insulated Container
Utensil Set – You may be thinking this seems like a waste. But I can promise you after having a husband who has packed his lunch so long spoons and forks eventually start disappearing. So now we have designated, cheap utensils for lunch box only.
Extra Helpful Stuff – The non-essential things but definitely things that could help and make lunch more fun.
- Reusable Storage Bags – Perfect for vegetables or other foods you need to keep contained.
- Reusable Food Pouch – Great for dressings and smoothies as well as pureed fruits.
- Silicone Baking Cups – Great for keeping smaller items separate like nuts and raisins.
- Slim Ice Packs – Perfect for keeping lunch boxes cold.
Well there it is! You’re list of essentials for packing a healthy school lunch. Don’t forget to check back next week as we’ll have some ideas for what to pack inside!