Ideas and alternatives for home-packed lunches
We know it’s a commitment to pack healthy and fun school lunches, but aren’t the kids worth it? It may be easier than you think to feed them the same fresh and nutritious foods they like to eat at home. One key lies in the box itself. As important as the contents, it provides a basis for what food you can send your child to school with. Opt for a model that keeps food separate and cold, and select one that’s washable (many are dishwasher safe too) so you need not rely on prepackaged foods or purchasing sandwich bags every week. Many new lunchboxes offer hip options to keep fresh food crisp, cold, and safe.
Goodbyn: Made from recyclable food-safe plastics, the Goodbyn is easy-to-open and features built-in handles. Its container system fits everything from sandwich halves to vegetables, and it’s ideal for dips, sauces, and small snacks, such as nuts or dried fruit. Each comes with an eight-ounce drink bottle and stickers so kids can decorate their lunchboxes.
Laptop Lunches®: This American-style bento box has an outer container that acts as a lid for unlidded containers, with each set including two unlidded containers and three lidded water-tight containers. Stainless utensils are included, as well as a book with healthy lunch ideas, tips, and recipes.
PlanetBox: A stainless steel container with five compartments, the PlanetBox is divided into spaces suggested for a main course, fruit, vegetables, and snack. Separate “dipper” containers come in two sizes and feature a silicone rubber seal to prevent leaking. Various magnet sets come with them so kids can personalize.
The next step is to provide tasty and nourishing contents that are just as attractive as the lunchboxes. A poor lunch can cause a child to have trouble paying attention in school or come home cranky or lethargic. Although it takes valuable time to prepare packed lunches, there are some ways to ease the time commitment and stay organized, such as keeping a designated spot on your refrigerator shelf for lunch necessities, getting a head start on Sundays, and packing lunches for two days at a time. Lastly, get your kids involved—they are more likely to eat it if they help pack it.
Make your own
Lettuce wraps with vegetables, chicken, and dressing packed individually. Toasted, cooled organic whole grain waffles for topping with nut butter, yogurt, and fresh fruit
New twist on a classic
Peanut butter banana whole-wheat tortilla wraps; apple and cheddar slices
Turkey sandwich with cranberry mayonnaise on whole grain bread; organic tortilla chips and salsa
Mozzarella and tomato salad; fresh pea pods and broccoli with yogurt ranch dip
Pita triangles with hummus; fresh cucumbers, carrots, and celery sticks with tzatziki
Cold, sliced roasted chicken with cubed cheese and vegetables
Brown rice or rice noodles with fresh pea pods and sliced bell peppers