Be In Parents: Spill Your Lunchbox-Packing Tips

1361149030_ce583290f8If you pack a school lunch for your kid, you’re a pro by this time of year. We bet you have a tip or two up your sleeve that you could share with newbie moms who are sending their first kid off to school this fall. Dish your best ideas for what to pack and how to do it in the comments and your tip could end up in Parents! (Don’t worry we’ll give you the heads’ up if your idea makes it.)

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  1. by Amanda

    On April 23, 2008 at 4:55 pm

    I rinse out and save baby food containers to reuse when packing hubby’s lunch. They’re the perfect portion size for some nuts, raisins, or m&ms. I also use them (carefully) for sauces. They are not completely water tight so they work great for some ranch to go with carrots, but not for soy sauce for that egg roll.
    Bonus: It’s great to reuse these, since my neighborhood doesn’t recycle that type of plastic.

  2. by Carmen

    On April 23, 2008 at 6:21 pm

    I always pack at least one snack in a “disposable” cup with a lid( the kind that come with a lid and a straw, we have been using and washing the same pack of three for four years now ) They fit perfectly in the little cupholders on the booster seats. It’s great for an on the way to school breakfast or a snack for the ride home. I also pack frozen peas in lunch boxes. They help things stay cold and are nicely thawed and but chilly at lunch. My kids love them. Our local asian grocery has tons of cute bento style papers and containers for lunches too.

  3. by Robin

    On April 23, 2008 at 7:41 pm

    Use a metal cookie cutter to cut bread, cheese and lunchmeat out in any shape you want to create a fun shaped sandwich. Also, silicone muffin cups work well as reusable food cups to separate foods.

  4. by Michelle Q

    On April 23, 2008 at 9:26 pm

    Well, my fave currently: our Laptop Lunchbox (just like the one you have pictured!). Not only is it ‘greener’ but, my 5yo will try FAR more variety when it’s so ‘cute’ and the serving size isn’t too intimidating!

  5. by Laura

    On April 24, 2008 at 8:31 am

    I recently discovered the wrap-n-mat. It’s great for sandwiches, easy to clean, and eliminates the use of hundreds of plastic bags!

  6. by Michele Bonewell

    On April 24, 2008 at 10:45 am

    I pack my son’s favorite foods Bento-style using Bento boxes, picks, dividers and special “cutters” to add some fun to his lunch. Because my son loves healthy foods, it’s not uncommon for him to have things such as brussel sprouts, red bell peppers, kiwi and mango in his lunch. Since I started packing his lunches Bento-style, he has become excited about eating lunch at school. There are photos of his Bento lunches on my blog if you would like to take a look.

  7. by liz

    On April 24, 2008 at 1:28 pm

    We use a Laptop Lunchbox, too. I’d say 90% of the time I pack my son leftovers of what we had for dinner the night before, so I pack it as I’m cleaning up the dinner dishes. I make sure to have one “main” dish, one serving or fruit (I cut up apples, mangoes, watermelon etc. when I get it home from the market on the weekends, so I can just grab a handful of something to stick in his lunchbox), one serving of crackers or similar snack and a little box of raisins. I also try sneak in some grape tomatoes or edamame as often as I can.
    We’ve recently started sending sandwiches one day a week, and I love to cut them into shapes with cookie cutters. When they’re studying a certain letter, shape or number I cut it into that shape (most recently it was “S”). I also do hearts for Valentine’s Day, bunnies for Easter etc. I have dozens of cookie cutters that I use almost exclusively for this purpose!

  8. by Berlinswhimsy

    On April 24, 2008 at 4:56 pm

    I am a huge fan of the Laptop Lunchbox system, too. I like that it forces you to provide a variety of foods in small quantities.
    I glean many lunch ideas from the Flickr group Laptop Lunches:http://flickr.com/groups/laptop_lunches/ and also Kids’ Eats: http://flickr.com/groups/kideats/.
    Also, Japanese Bento boxes provide many opportunities for adding a variety of foods in lunches. I like to use the little Bentoware cutters and containers that are found in Asian grocers—these things make it fun for me, the lunch packer!

  9. by Pia

    On April 25, 2008 at 10:40 am

    I have 2 kids in daycare – ages 5 and 1 1/2 . .. .I make all lunches on Monday night. My 5 y.o. only eats peanutbutter sandwiches. I make them on frozen bread and throw them all into the freezer. The other parts of the lunch go into gallon sized zip locks and into the fridge. Each night, I pull out a pre-made lunch for each kid, put them into a lunch box and back into the fridge .. . .then I don’t have to worry about lunches every morning before I head out to work and Dad can just grab ‘em and go. Plus the cold drink boxes help keep everything refridgerated until lunch time or snack time.

  10. by pamela

    On April 28, 2008 at 12:04 pm

    Question, not a comment. Where can I find a lunch box like the one pictured? I’ve been looking and haven’t been able to find one.
    My kids love bologna and cheese lunchables so instead of spending money on a single serving, I put them together myself. Including cutting the meat and cheese in circles with a cookie cutter. I need a lunch box with multiple containers to hold the pieces!
    Thanks for the help.

  11. by AxiomGroup

    On August 8, 2008 at 4:07 pm

    Another great product is the: ThermaPod – new, innovative laptop style lunchbox. The ThermaPod makes packing lunch fast and easy. It is a one-piece design that makes ‘mixing and matching’ and ‘lost and damaged’ containers/ lids a thing of the past – also saving you money by reducing or eliminating the purchases of food storage containers, plastic bags and lunch bags.
    The ThermaPod has many benefits – it is convenient to use and clean, stackable and encourages healthy, portion sized eating. In addition, it is environmentally-friendly (reducing packaging and food waste) and will save you money!
    Check out the website: http://www.thermapod.tv for more information, articles and lunch ideas.