People always ask what we do for school lunches, and I know I’m always curious to hear what works for other parents. So here’s a peek into the girls’ lunchboxes:
Ro and Ree have tried school hot lunch exactly once, and they hated the experience so much that they have refused to ever try it again, saying they only want “mama lunch.” Apparently it took so long in line that they didn’t have any time to play, plus they reallyreally didn’t like the taste. We’ll try again this year. In the meantime though, that means I’m packing somewhere around... let’s see... oh! 360 lunches each school year. Hm, didn’t know that number was so big until I did the math.
To make things easy for me, I won’t pack two different lunches in a day (so they get the same thing as each other, luckily they have similar tastes for lunch) and they choose one main thing each day from this menu (which I’ve been using and modifying since last year):
The menu keeps lunches a little more fun for all of us and gets some variety in there. To be honest, it stops me from giving them a PBJ every single day because I can’t for the life of me think of anything else at 7 o’ freaking clock in the morning.
It’s customized to Ro and Ree, of course, so I’ve put on the things I know they’ll eat and the things we always have on hand. Things that are easy to put together in the 10 minutes while they’re eating breakfast and things that I know will keep nicely in their lunchboxes all day. If you want to make your own menu, just do a three-column page in MS Word and paste in your own pics or some from Google Images.
Once Ro and Ree have picked a main item from the menu, I fill the rest of the lunchboxes with something crunchy, something fruity, and sometimes a little surprise. Today’s lunches had cheese and bacon tortilla wrap-ups (Ree got to choose today – we rotate who chooses each day), pretzels, applesauce, and mini oreos. And by the way when I use bacon in lunches I used the microwavable kind that is ready in 5 seconds per slice:
I pack lunches in divided Ziploc containers and Pack-It freezable lunch bags almost every day. I like the Ziploc containers because they’re leakproof (even with gloopy stuff like applesauce or yogurt), they have a bunch of compartments to keep food separate, you only have to open one kid-friendly lid to get to all the food, and they’re dishwasher safe on the top rack. I like the Pack-It bag because the whole bag goes in the freezer at night and then the gel walls get frozen. I don’t have to fuss with cold-pack inserts and the bag stays icy cold all day long so even things like cheese stay perfectly cool and don’t get limp and sweaty and dangerously warm.
I pack hot foods (like soup, pasta, rice, etc.) in one of those squatty Thermos containers and just use any old non-freezable lunch bag on those days. The hot things stay REALLY hot. I write a little arrow on the top with a Sharpie because otherwise the girls don’t know which way to go and end up twisting both ways blindly and inevitably tightening it:
What else? Oh, I send water with ice each day in a flip-top Thermos. The temp stays cold all day and they’re easy to operate. And I use a little sandwich cutter/press to make my own PBJs, I use the heck out of these colorful silicone cups (any time I want to make a 4th section in the Ziplock containers), and I use manymany food picks a day (to secure tortilla wrap-ups, to skewer fruit, just for cuteness, you name it):
So anyhow, that’s what Ro and Ree are eating each day at school. What do you do for school lunches around your house?
Where we got stuff: Ziplock divided containers from Target (they don’t always have them in stock) or Amazon.com or Drugstore.com, Pack-It freezable lunch bag from Amazon.com or natural stores like Whole Foods, squatty hot-food Thermoses and flip-top beverage Thermoses from Target, sandwich cutter/press from Sur La Table or they have a similar type of thing at Amazon.com, silicone cups and cute food picks from a local Daiso store or online at Amazon.com or ebay.