Right now my kids LOVE a good Nutella and fresh fruit sandwich in their Planetbox lunch box. It’s the beginning of the year, they are excited for school, for lunches, and especially for recess! They are even excited to make lunches! (and let me tell you how nice it is to have kids old enough to make them!!…ok. with some assistance) BUT we all know that this Nutella and fresh fruit sandwich will wear off, and the excitement and butterflies of the new school year will fade to moans about getting up early to make lunch and all the homework after school. It’s inevitable. SO I have a few tips and tricks that I’ve come to live by over the past 5 years of making lunches. If you have some PLEASE leave a comment with your wonderful knowledge below. ALSO, we are to privileged to have Planetbox give away a Rover set to a very lucky person. Entry form is at the bottom of this post.
1. I always try to pack most of the food groups. Protein, carb, fruit/veggie, calcium etc.You probably do this too… I also try to keep a variety of these items on hand, so its not always a ‘sandwich. cheese stick, apple’ everyday… Keep fresh items on hand, but also items that store great in the pantry like dried fruit, instant pudding boxes for those days when the fruit is all gone…or bad.
2. Prep your fruit and veggies when you buy them. I love all these fresh fruits and veggies right now. The pineapple and watermelon are all cut and safely stored into airtight containers so in the morning the kids pull out what they want. When all the fruits are not in season as they are in the summer months buy canned fruit to keep a variety flowing through their lunch boxes so their palette won’t bore of the same ol’ ” an apple a day” routine.
3. As mentioned above- Kids get tired of the same lunches. While I keep a variety of “snacky” items at home (baby carrots, sweet peppers, apples, fruit and chips) that they can alternate through, I try to also come up with different main filler. for instance instead of a sandwich my kids like to have noodles topped with shredded cheese. Leftovers (like shown in photo– a taquito!) are usually the biggest hit! We love to make homemade pizza for dinner and the kids will purposely save a large slice for the lunch the next day.
MONEY SAVING IDEAS:
1.Invest in a Planetbox, bento boxes, or even the divided tupperware. I vote for a Planetbox because they will last you YEARS. The other tupperware will get you through a year, but they tend to warp over time and need replacing often. But all options will save you money instead of using the little plastic baggies for each individual item you pack. Not to mention it cuts down on waste.
2. Now that you have your Planetbox you have all these beautiful compartments. These are awesome. Take advantage. No more individual packaged items– like pudding and jello cups. Instead make your own pudding and jello. Store in an air tight container for up to two weeks.
3. Buy fruit in large quantity. No, I’m not suggesting to buy a million applesauce pouches($$). But a large jar of organic unsweetened applesauce, or (especially in the winter months when fruit is not as plentiful) buy cans or jars of fruit. Pack a few peaches or pears, a half a cup of applesauce, in the air tight compartments/containers and the remainder store in an air tight container in the fridge. They can use the rest later in the week.
4. Buy your favorite yogurt or in bulk also, store in air tight compartment/container. Its another great source for calcium… and, duh, so much cheaper than gogurts. For a little extra surprse, mix in some fruit to the yogurt! Don’t just think about yogurt though- buy your cottage cheese and stick new items like that in their lunch box.