So I normally stick to crafty things here on my blog. However, after sharing on Instagram how I pack healthy lunches for my kids on Sundays throughout the year, I got a lot of requests for more info. A lot! So I thought I would do a quick post. Things are usually crazy and hectic around here, so prepping lunches is essential for us.
Here are some of my favorite things for packing lunches:
(1.) and (2.) Reusable Bags – I put dry foods (sandwiches, dry homemade granola, etc.) in reusable bags that I can wash and use over and over all year long. This is a great way to avoid generating too much trash and the kids like them. I have used both the Itzy Ritzy and Bumkins options. Many different fun patterns and sizes are available. Lila loves the Disney Princess bags!
(3.) Reusable Water Bottle – No Leak! – I searched for a small water bottle that wouldn’t leak for my son’s lunch box for a long time. Finally found one, so I bought a few. (I am not a fan of plastic for food and drink storage, but I think it is safest for lunches for kids. My personal opinion. At home we use a lot of glass.)
(4.) Sistema Food Containers – I have a lot of these. Maybe 30 or more? (I have three kids I pack lunches for, and each lunch has two of these.) This way I can fill them all on Sunday and have them ready in the fridge for the week. Yes, it is a big initial investment, but I use them for years and prefer containers over baggies. These little guys hold hummus, veggies, fruit, etc. They come in bigger sizes and can sometimes be found at TJ Maxx or Home Goods. I use these guys for crafting storage, too.
(5.) Freezable Lunch Bag – This lunch bag is the coolest! The whole thing folds up and goes into the freezer. The walls keep the lunch cold! Love this! Lots of cute patterns and sizes, too. My kids really like this lunch bag. We have used this for a couple years now and they hold up well.
(6.) Reusable Napkins – I bought several reusable napkins from Etsy years ago and still use them. Again, less trash and they are simply cute. If you are crafty, you could sew your own.
(7.) Large Water Bottle – My older kids also take a large water bottle to use through the day. This one is great because it doesn’t get condensation on the outside and seals well. We have a few and use for sports, too.
(8.) Lunch Box Notes – I like to make notes and cards to put in the lunches. However – let’s face it – I don’t have time to do this every day. So I love sticking in a joke. Colin enjoys this. I also put in fun newspaper articles, comics, etc.
There are likely other more inexpensive options out there for some of these things. However, I have found all of these hold up well, so worth the investment. I don’t have to get anything new this year!
Every Sunday, we put together the lunches. I get everything together and put it in the fridge for the week. This saves me *a lot* of time in the mornings. I open all the containers and line them up… filling them quickly. The kids even help when they aren’t doing their activities.
Many people are curious what foods I include in the lunches. We eat pretty healthy here. I use the Fooducate App to make sure I chose the best options. (This app gives grades on how healthy foods are and offers best options. A must-have in the grocery store.) Here are some of our favorites:
- Hummus – homemade when possible.
- Frozen Peas – put a handful in each container and they will unfreeze in the fridge.
- Fruit – Raspberries, cantaloupe, and grapes hold up well pre-prepped. However, some fruits don’t hold up well pre-cut. I instead just prep these each morning.
- Salmon – Leftover from dinner or smoked (occasionally).
- Cheese – Cut from a block of cheese.
- Leftover Pork Chop – from the night before – just cook extra
- Homemade Granola
- Fritos – Believe it or not, there are only 3 ingredients in these and are minimally processed – not too bad. Just occasionally.
- Raw Green Beans
- Sugar Snap Peas
- Greek Yogurt – Use the Fooducate App to make sure it is a good one.
- Chicken – We will make a whole chicken for dinner and cook an extra to cut up for lunches.
If I think of more, I will add them. I would also LOVE to hear what you all have found works well for your kiddos. Please share in the comments below.
See you soon!
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