Back to school time has snuck up on all of us, and while we may have the new clothes and the school supplies ready, now it’s time to tackle the back to school lunch. While some go for ease and others go for super-healthy, we all have those days where we wonder why our kids need lunch at all? We’ve got all your back to school lunch needs covered.
Snacks and Gear for Back to School Lunch
When packing school lunches, sometimes the hardest decision to make is what to send to drink. Long gone are the days of $.25 milk purchases like we had when we were kids. Skip the sugary juice boxes and try these organic, vegan, vegetable-laden milkshake drinks. SneakZ literally sneaks 1/2 a serving of daily veggies into these shelf-stable, deliciously flavored milkshake drinks. Kids love the way they taste—and how they can’t even taste the veggies—and moms love that they are gluten-free, soy-free, and nut-free. Bonus: they are shelf-stable, high in fiber, rich in protein, and low in sugar. Available flavors include vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry.
TreeTop Fruit Pouches
Think healthy snacks take a long time to prepare? Wrong! Tree Top Applesauce squeeze pouches are the ultimate lunchtime solution. Snag them at the grocery store, toss in lunch bags, and know that your kids are getting a fun, delicious, healthy treat! We love them because they require zero refrigeration and come in tons of great flavors. Kids can choose whichever they like best, and you’ll know that they are getting essential fiber and vitamin C. Tree Top’s new clear pouches make it easy for little ones to track how much is left of their “squeezy” as they eat. This year, don’t buy nutritionally void snacks. These are so affordable and completely fuss-free that you’ll never need to go down that annoying aisle of cartoon covered gummies ever again!
When you’ve got a healthy lunch ready to go, you need a top-quality lunch box to put it in. Planet Box offers just that. Stainless steel, divided lunch boxes are perfect for the bento box style lunches that kids prefer. The Launch is great for growing kids with big appetites. It holds 7 cups of food in 3 compartments, and a dipper food container makes packing salads or veggies easy. The Launch is easy to clean and is free from lead, PVC, phthalates, and BPA. Magnets accompany the Launch when buying the kit, allowing for some decoration and the sturdy lunchbox container has an external pocket for snacks and will hold a thermos or water bottle. Grab the Launch as a kit and save. You’ll want one for each kid, and probably one for you too.
The beginning of the school year is busy as the time for re-settling into the new routine. School drop-off, bus stops, PTA meetings, after-school activities all start to pile up. Getting good nutrition in your children in between the comings and goings can be difficult, especially if you have picky eaters or kids with allergies. MadeGood provides snacks that are made in a facility free from common allergens of peanut, dairy, egg, wheat, and soy in addition to tree nuts, sesame, fish, and shellfish. This means the snack can be brought to school or activity without worry of a possible allergy reaction in your child, or in one around you. In addition, the snacks are Kosher and organic! Does this sound like it is made of fairy dust and magic? Nope! The Vanilla Crisp Squares and Granola Bars are made of vegetables. Gasp! It’s true! And the beauty of it is that your children won’t know and will eat them anyway. So, maybe it is made of fairy dust and magic. Mushrooms never tasted so good.
Part of the Back to School campaign with MadeGood, boxes come with a unique code printed on the box for $10 off of Mabel’s Labels. Save on the labels you need for labeling the backpack, lunch box, jackets, books, computer, yes your first grader may be getting a computer …without Mavis Beacon to boot. Be prepared for the year ahead with easy to grab snacks and everrrrryyyttthiiiinnngggg labeled!
Make Packing Back to School Lunch Easier…and Green
Lunch boxes and snacks are done. Phew! Now to figure out all the rest of the things that need to go into that lunch box. We’ve got some great ideas on eco-friendly, easy-to-open, and fun items that make lunchtime fun for all ages.
Going “green” can extend outside the kitchen, and products like these make it that much easier. Our favorite school lunch items include reusable sandwich bags, silicone cupcake wrappers, and even a cloth napkin.
Sandwich & Snack Bags
Lunchskins makes reusable sandwich bags in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes. Try the velcro sandwich bags and zip-top snack bags to make lunches easy to open and easy on the environment. For days when reusable just isn’t an option, they also have recyclable Paper Sandwich Bags to reduce the carbon footprint.
Paper napkins are cute for writing notes on (we’ll address that in a minute) but they’re terrible for the environment, and kind of a pain to remember to pack. With cloth napkins—which can be as simple or as complicated as you like—you can eliminate just one extra thing to pack. We like these colorful ones from Mighty Nest, perfectly designed for lunchbox use.
Silicone Cupcake Liners
If you’re not into the Bento Box movement, or you want to save a few bucks while packing lunches, try using silicone cupcake liners instead. You can place these in any kind of sturdy container and fill with ham and cheese cubes, fruit slices, grape tomatoes, or even a muffin baked right into it. They come in fun shapes and sizes and can be easily cleaned in the dishwasher.
If you’re tired of sending aluminum foil or plastic wrap to school, give Beeswrap a try. These sheets come in a variety of sizes and are made of cotton and beeswax. They’re easy to hand-clean and they can be used to wrap up fruit, cheese, or even to tuck leftover sandwiches into to bring back home.
When packing lunches you may realize you need to pack silverware. We know you aren’t about to put your “real” stuff in there because, well, kids have a history of throwing them out “accidentally.” (Husbands too sometimes.) But you also don’t want to keep buying boxes of plastic silverware. Try these bamboo utensils instead. They’re made to last and made for smaller hands. For an added bonus, they are dishwasher safe.
Do you remember your mom writing notes in your lunchbox when you were younger? Maybe she didn’t, and maybe kids these days don’t even know what they’re missing out on, but one easy way to increase your “cool mom” standing is to add a fun note to their lunch. (We’re not even suggesting this as a daily thing, maybe just once a week.) If you’re stuck on what to write, try these Lunch Notes, which give you prompts and jokes to share.
Back to school lunches shouldn’t be a cause of added stress for parents or kids. Start this year off on the right foot with these great school lunch finds.
WANT TO READ MORE?
Check out our Back to School Guide!