By Farah Kwan
If your kids are not back to school yet, chances are they will soon. Therefore take a quick tour through my Lunch Packing 101 guide! As a mother of two, I hope that these tips will help give you some ideas on how to win back to school lunch packing!
Pick the right lunchbox.
Kids don’t get long lunch breaks. Instead of storing different kinds of food in different containers, make it easy for them by putting all the food in one single box with different compartments.
- If your child loves hot food, definitely get a Thermos container. Heat up the container first by pouring hot (boiling) water in it, close it and wait 10 minutes. After 10 minutes and the hot food is ready, dump the hot water, store food in there and close immediately. The food will be warm by lunchtime. Hand wash and make sure to clean around the silicone gasket on the lid. You’d have to get a different container for snacks.
- Bentgo and Yumbox are the most popular brands for a bento style box with different compartments. BPA-free plastic material. They are leakproof for wet foods and the clasps are easy to close/open even for little hands. The trays are removable and dishwasher safe.
- If you prefer stainless steel material, Kinsho and LunchBots offer different size lunch boxes with compartments. They are not leak proof but they do offer smaller round containers with silicone lids for wet foods. Dishwasher safe.
- Omiebox is our favorite because it has a removable thermos container. They offer removable dividers for the compartments. The compartments are big enough to put a small box of milk or a small bottle of smoothies. Only the thermos container is completely leak proof. Best to hand wash everything. Remove all silicone seals while washing and air dry to prevent mold.
- Looking for a simpler option? Hint is having a Back to School promotion where you will receive a FREE lunch cooler bag with a purchase of any 3 cases of water.
What to pack?
We love leftovers! Cook more the night before and for a less stressful morning. Please note that some schools are nut-free facilities, so find out your school policy before packing any kinds of nuts. Here are a list of things we like to pack:
- Carbohydrates are important for children as they are the main source of energy. Examples are rice, pasta, noodles, bread, crackers, tortilla wrap.
- Proteins and fat are additional source of energy and important source of nutrients. Examples are meat, cheese, tofu, fish, yogurt.
- Fibers help with bowel movement, lower cholesterol levels, and control blood sugar levels. Examples are different kinds of vegetables and fruits.
- A little treat goes a long way. Examples are apple sauce, granola bites, vitamin gummies, raisins, cookies, muffins.
- Hydrate your thirsty kids with Hint’s refreshing water. Your kids will love the fruity taste. Hint water contains no juice, diet sweeteners, zero calories or preservatives, and are vegan, gluten-free, and kosher. Try a variety pack today with watermelon, blackberry, app, and cherry flavors!
Make it fun and colorful!
This is especially helpful for picky eaters. Use sandwich cutters, cookie cutters, fun food picks, silicone molds, skewers, and the list goes on. Pack mostly what they love to eat and introduce new flavor by subtly adding a tiny piece to the whole mix. For example, when I make fried rice, I add a little bit of riced cauliflower and my picky eater wouldn’t even notice it. With a little love and attention to detail, school lunch packing can be fun! I even like to add a few surprise notes! 🙂
Don’t forget the Ice Packs!
When lunch packing in the morning, don’t forget the ice packs for cold foods like yogurt, especially when the weather is hot! Generally ice pack will stay frozen for about 24-36 hours in an insulated container. At room temperature it should last about 3-4 hours which should last right up to the school lunch bell! Just make a reminder to put the ice pack in every morning before your kiddo is out the door.
Trust Nurture Life for all your on-the-go meals!
For busy parents who don’t have the time for lunch packing everyday, check out Nurture Life. The food they offer are designed by dietitians, nutritionally balanced, and portioned by age. Meals are ready in 3 minutes or less. Then simply transfer to the right lunch container for your child to enjoy. They offer delicious selections and a lot of them are picky eater friendly.
Allison, Mother of Two
I set up my Nurture Life account without too much hassle and selected a few meals I knew my 5 year old daughter would love. My 2.5 year old son is more of a picky eater so I tried to accommodate his dietary habits as well. I loved that some of the options were all things my kids already ate, but with added hidden veggies.
The ordering process was fairly self explanatory and their website guided me along the way. I set up my box to arrive the day we returned from vacation so that I would have meals ready to go for the kids without having to run to the grocery store.
When my box arrived everything was chilled appropriately, despite record setting heat. The meals were easy to heat in the microwave and my kids were excited there was enough food for the two of them. I ordered the meal size appropriate for ages 4-8 and I thought the servings were generously sized.
My daughter loved the chicken ravioli with cauliflower cream sauce. The mac & cheese with cauliflower tricked both kids and neither had any idea there was a secret ingredient! The egg frittata with cinnamon french toast made the perfect size breakfast for each when split between the two of them. Nurture Life gets a thumbs up from my family!
Stacy, Mother of Two
I was beyond thrilled when I saw Nurture Life on Pearachute. As a busy mom of two girls, sometimes I just want an easy, yet healthy dinner to feed them. Averie is 7 and not very picky about foods while her sister Emmie is 18 months and hates to get messy.
I love that Nurture life meals can be picked on a weekly basis and are shipped through FedEx. It was super easy to track and the box arrived in two huge ice packs plus padding. The meals arrived at my house around 4pm on Wednesday and the girls were excited to see their picks arrive!
Averie decided she wanted to try the Mac & Cheese with Cauliflower and Cheesy Zucchini Pomodoro! Both were a huge hit! We had a very busy day and it was such a relief to be able to microwave a healthy meal with fresh veggies in 2.5 minutes.
Today for lunch the girls tried the Mac & Cheese. They both loved it so much I wish I had ordered more!
As a mom I always want healthy options whenever possible for my kids. The Teriyaki Salmon with brown rice & veggies sounded delicious so I decided to order that to try myself! I popped it in the oven at 350 degrees for 15 minutes and let me tell you, it was amazing!!!
I think we have found a winner where everyone is happy in our family!
A box with 5 meals plus shipping is $58. Which is truly not bad when you see how fresh and delicious it is. You are easily able to go and pick your meals weekly and skip weeks when you don’t need it!
Add Hint Kids Boxes for the best balance of nutrition and taste!
Stephanie, Mother of Three
Texas is crazy-hot during the summer, and it is a challenge to keep myself hydrated. My kids, especially, don’t have interest in proper hydration… Unless it’s in the form of super-sweet, super-sugary drinks that are providing them with empty calories and a delightful sugar high.
I’ve been on the lookout for a while now for a great-tasting juice box that my kids actually enjoy. We’ve tried the super sweet ones that deliver great flavor and lots of ingredients my dental-hygienist sister-in-law would shake her head at. And we’ve tried the better-for-you juice boxes that have my oldest saying, “Fine, Mom, I’ll just drink water.” I’ve yet to find the happy middle ground between low-in-sugar and still great tasting.
Then Pearachute introduced me to Hint and that was the end of my drink wars with my three girls!
I booked the Hint Water special offered through Pearachute Perks – three cases of juice boxes (you pick the flavor) plus free shipping and a cute insulated lunch box to boot! My total cost for 96 juice boxes in assorted flavors plus tax and shipping (and the lunch bag!) was only $40! Plus it shipped the next day and was on my porch within 48 hours. Awesome!
Hint Kids boxes aren’t actually juice at all- they are water infused with fruit. My girls love the watermelon and apple. I love that these little lunch box staples don’t have any sugar or sweeteners. This means that not only are they great tasting, they won’t hype my kids up or make their dentist mad! Plus they will stay hydrated in the Texas heat that won’t start retreating until sometime around mid-October. We love these for lunch packing, after school snacks, during and after sports. I even drink them when I’m running errands around town and need a little flavor in my life!