I fancy myself quite the lunch maker as of late. Now that my oldest is in 3rd grade, I feel I’ve perfected my methods. When I picked him up on his second day of school and asked him how his day was, he said his day was awful. The reason why? He accidentally dropped his open lunch box and his pasta salad dumped on the floor. Of course, the school wouldn’t let my son starve so they kindly instructed him to get school lunch. He said, “It was the worst! I didn’t even know how to do it. My teacher had to show me!” He lamented the fact that after four years of going to school he had never once had to eat school lunch and now his streak broken. I asked him what he ate. He said it was uncooked broccoli, pears in some sort of liquid (sorry, pal, it wasn’t a fresh pear that I cut for you) and after some digging, I finally discovered that he was offered a Sloppy Joe which I’m pretty sure he didn’t touch.
I’m not here to complain about school lunch. I grew up with hot lunch from school. Actually, it was the disruption of his routine that made him so upset. I personally pack his lunch because it’s what I like to do. I like knowing what and how much he’s eaten by what he brings back. I also like giving him extra time to eat since those that have school lunch have to wait in line before they can start.
I try to mix up his lunches by not always packing sandwiches. He likes wraps, he likes crackers, cheese and sliced pieces of turkey breast or ham, and I often make pasta salad with chicken breast. I borrow from the idea of Bento box lunches where I try to give him small portions of a variety of food. I find that he eats his fruits and veggies with no problem this way. I do my best to avoid processed foods and keep it real. Here are my three packed lunch tools I’ve become dependent upon:
1. Lunch Box containers. I use simple containers by easylunchboxes.com which are by far my favorite. I started with a few different types of lunchbox containers but these have lasted the longest and are the easiest for my son to open and use.
2. Silicone baking cups. I have Wilton brand square baking cups. I find that the squares easily divide up my lunch box containers into even more small squares. I can have six small sections so I can put grapes, cheese, turkey breast, carrots, pickles, and crackers all in without them getting mixed up and soggy. I swear by these little guys.
3. Collapsable Water Bottle. When I first packed lunch I bought organic chocolate milk (expensive!) and juice boxes (oh, the sugar!). Soon enough, I realized my son was fine with water, in fact he preferred it and so did I. I bought some Vapur water bottles. They are light but durable and I love that I can freeze the water (it can double as an ice pack). Having ice cold water absolutely puts me on the “A” list with my son. Like I said, they are tough. I’ve had ours for the third year running and we’ve only lost them due to forgetful son syndrome. I would recommend buying a pack of extra caps. My son tended to chew it up a bit so I just replaced the bottle tops and kept the bottle. Vapur sent us some of their new products to try out and for one reader to win! Both of the Vapur bottles that we tried out are perfect for packed lunches.
The Shades line is like the one we already had at home but it has an easy flip cap which I personally love. The bottle is a half liter size like the Quenchers so it’s the best size for kids’ packed lunch. It’s also great for sports or outdoor activities. It comes in a bunch of different styles and colors. I like to always have one in my bag when we are out and about.
The Quencher comes in four different styles but what’s fun about these bottles is that your child can personalize them the way they would like. The stickers are medical grade adhesive so don’t worry about them falling off after one or two uses. My son loved decorating and loves having having a personalized bottle.If you would like to win both a Quencher and a Shades Vapur bottle enter below!