Aggie's Kitchen

{Back To School} 5 Tips For Packing Better Lunches with Power Your Lunchbox

I’m sharing today’s tips for packing better lunches in partnership with Produce For Kids. All opinions are my own.

Ceasar Pasta Salad with Chickpeas

It’s that time of year – we are back to school and back to packing lunches. I’m partnering up with my longtime friends at Produce For Kids for their annual Power Your Lunchbox campaign where their mission is to empower families with ideas and recipes to help pack nutritious lunches for your kids. In addition, our hope is for you to take the Pledge because for each Pledge taken, Produce For Kids partners donate $1 to Feeding America. You guys, each $1 donated provides 11 meals to families in need.

That is powerful.

Tips for packing better lunches for your kids to take to school.

I’ve been officially packing lunches for my kids for 8 years now. That’s right, that little boy that was 3 years old when I started my blog is in 7th grade this year. Let me assure you, I’m in constant disbelief.

Packing lunches has always been a no-brainer for our family. We tried school lunch a couple of times because it sounded fun but my kids did not enjoy the waiting in line and not having enough time to eat, being hungry because it wasn’t enough and just not liking what’s on the menu. I am a huge supporter of schools and school districts that are trying to improve their school lunches (a few years ago I attended a salad bar “grand opening” at a local high school and was so happy and impressed and wished they could be provided for all schools). For us though, packing has been the way to go.

Tips for packing better lunches for your kids to take to school.

With years of experience, I’ve streamlined a few things.

Here are a few of my tips for packing better lunches for school:

  1. Plan a lunch of the week – Pick out a “lunch of the week” and keep it simple. I usually buy what is on sale at the deli (lunch meat and cheese), a loaf of sandwich bread at the bakery, fruit and snack veggies in the produce department – and stick with it for the week. Some weeks I’ll make a pasta salad or chicken salad for my daughter (and husband) to pack. To keep things interesting I will try different breads from the bakery (like buns and rolls) and wraps, as well as include nut butter and fruit sandwich days. I really try to keep things simple and not overcomplicate.
  2. Put together a pantry snack box  – I have a basket of snacks in the pantry ranging from bagged trail mix, granola bars, raisins, fruit leather, pretzels, crackers, etc for the kids to pick and choose from to add to their lunchbox each day. Yesterday, I pulled out a few of these snacks and put them in a bowl on the counter for easy grab and go.
  3. Pack most of lunch the night before – as much as I don’t want to do this some evenings, I never regret putting together most of their lunches the night before. I try to at least make the sandwich and package up the fruit and/or veggie snack for the fridge so that in the morning it’s easy to put together the rest. I find it helpful to put lunch together while I’m making dinner since I’m already in the kitchen and in work mode.
  4. Have a variety of containers on hand – I’ve collected lots of food containers (see my list below) over the last 8 years of packing lunches. I love small ones for fruit, bowls for salad (my daughter likes a good salad for lunch), and these EasyLunchbox containers are making lunch fun for my 2 younger kids right now. It just makes it so much easier to put together lunch when you have a variety of sizes to work with. We do use plastic baggies every now and then but for the most party these containers have served us well over the years so we have been able to cut back on lunchbox waste a lot.
  5. Dedicate a shelf or drawer in your fridge to grab-and-go snacks – I have a small drawer next to my deli drawer in my refrigerator that is perfect to store applesauce, yogurts, cheese sticks, bagged apple slices or prepped containers of fruit like grapes (these small Sistema containers are perfect for fruit snacks) etc for my kids to add to their lunchbox or take for a snack after school.

Tips for packing better lunches for your kids to take to school.

Easy to pack fruit and veggie snacks ideas:

  • grape tomatoes
  • sliced seedless cucumber with Ranch or hummus
  • baby carrots
  • grapes
  • clementines
  • apple slices (I always grab CrunchPak when it’s on sale)
  • small pears or apples
  • mixed berries
  • cut melon
  • applesauce

My go-to lunch box packing containers and “stuff”:

Sistema – I have found most of my Sistema containers at Home Goods so check there first. There are so many shapes and sizes.

EasyLunchboxes – I remember when these first came out years ago and recently went back to using them over the summer. You can purchase them online, but I saw they started selling them at Target too.

Silicone Baking Cups – you can use these to help divide the space in the containers to hold smaller foods like crackers, cut cheese, nuts etc. I have been using paper liners because I have a ton on hand but I’m picking up some of these silicone ones for longterm use.

Bento Box Food Picks – I used these for my kids when they were younger and am picking up some more to start using again because my kids LOVED finding them in their lunch boxes. They are fun and cute.

Lunchbox Notes – I had picked up a pack of Dr. Seuss lunchbox notes in Hallmark many years ago and always loved sticking them in the kids’ lunchboxes. They really are a fun thing to include and my kids loved them. I found this pretty awesome post for 500 Free Printable Lunchbox Notes with great ideas.

Thank you for supporting Produce For Kids and Power Your Lunchbox – don’t forget to take the Pledge!

 

(Disclosure: This post was written in partnership with Produce For Kids. There are Amzaon affiliate links in this post. I make small earnings from any purchases made through these links. Thank you for supporting Aggie’s Kitchen!)

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There are affiliate links in this post. I make small earnings through any purchases made through these links. Thank you for supporting Aggie’s Kitchen!

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4 Responses to “{Back To School} 5 Tips For Packing Better Lunches with Power Your Lunchbox”

  1. Kelli @ Hungry Hobby posted August 16, 2017 at 11:55 am

    These are great tips! I love my silicone baking cups for everything!

  2. Kelly Lester posted August 17, 2017 at 4:52 pm

    Hi Aggie! Many thanks for including my EasyLunchboxes in your terrific Back to School tips post. So appreciate your enthusiasm for my containers 🙂 – Kelly Lester

  3. Ellen Taylor posted August 18, 2017 at 11:04 am

    Great tips,
    Found some unique and hope those will helpful to pack my younger bother tiffin box in a better way.

  4. Luna posted August 21, 2017 at 10:48 pm

    Very practical and useful tips Aggies! I like the idea of having a part of the fridge just for the grab-and-go snacks – you will never have to scramble through everything to get your food again!

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