Back to school season is upon us, and with it comes the task of packing lunches for your sweet school aged children. I don’t know about you, but if you’re anything like me, this is a chore that is the bane of my existence. I would rather wrestle an alligator in a swamp than pack my children’s lunches for the next 180 days. And yes, for my one child, it will be that many because he is the pickiest eater known to man and won’t eat school lunch — lucky me.
So, to help make my life just a little easier when it comes to packing lunches for my kiddos, I have found the following products which add just a touch of simplicity (and fun!) to my lunch-making routine. See if anything catches your eye — maybe you can add these items to preparing your children’s lunches for school!
- Bentgo Kids 5-Compartment Lunch Box: I have just recently discovered these thanks to a friend, and let me tell you, I am sure glad I did. There are five child friendly compartments and the top tray is dishwasher safe. I love that it saves me the use of Ziploc bags and also that it is easily opened by my six-year-old. I have used other brands in the past and it was difficult to get opened by little hands. These are available at Target and on Amazon, and Costco also has a three-pack available at the moment!
- Lunch Box Notes For Kids: Ok, so there is nothing about this product that will make your life easier, but it will put a smile on your little one’s face! Actually, I take that back. If, like me, you are running around trying to get out the door in the mornings and then remember you didn’t add a note on a napkin to your child to let them know you love them and are thinking about them, then this product is for you. It takes care of not only letting them know you thought about them by adding a note, but it’s also different every day because there is an interesting fact each day as well as a joke for them to enjoy. If I missed a day putting one in my daughter’s lunch box, she would actually call me out on it. These are a fun staple in my household for lunches!
- Bentgo Ice Lunch Chillers: If you are anything like me and try to give your children variety with their lunches which includes foods that require refrigeration, which obviously in school buildings isn’t an option, these come in very handy when packing lunches. There are also some that come in fun shapes like rocket ships or unicorns. Once I realized all I needed was to toss an ice pack into my kids’ lunches, the possibilities for what I could pack were endless. These chillers stay cold the entire day and then I just refreeze them for the next day — super convenient, especially for my son, who literally needs everything he eats to be cold. One day my son came home with almost nothing touched from his lunch and when I asked him why he didn’t eat anything, he told me it was because his food wasn’t cold. I then realized I had not put in an ice pack. Mind you, I did not pack anything other than some apple slices that I thought needed to be chilled. So now, ice packs with everything for him!
- Thermos Funtainer: If you want to pack your child something hot for their lunch rather than cold, this thermos is the way to go. I have been using this for my daughter since she was in kindergarten and she is now going into fifth grade. I have gone through a whole slew of them, and the coolest thing about it is that it comes with a slot on the screw-on lid for a spoon! Knowing it had a designated spoon specifically for the thermos and a spot that it fit nicely into, was a huge selling point. I can pretty much pack anything — soups, chili, and even chicken nuggets — into this container and build a pretty solid lunch for my daughter. I have a couple of different sizes and colors on rotation and I have never had a problem with any leaks or spills which I was nervous about at first. I love having these for hot lunch options!
- Reusable Sandwich/Snack Bags: If you don’t end up going with a Bentgo Box, then you might want to consider using a reusable sandwich bag. I was skeptical at first, but they really are a great alternative to disposable bags. They are super easy to clean (although I believe you can run them through the dishwasher), and they are surprisingly durable as well, with nothing leaking or spilling through! I used to find that Ziploc bags would fall apart when holding my son’s smaller toys and Legos, but I ended up using these for storing those types of things in addition to food storage.
- Water Bottles: Of course, every lunch has to have a beverage to go with it. My children also use their water bottles throughout their school day. I have gone through many styles and brands and the best advice I can give — as a parent and a school teacher — is no glass bottles! As you can imagine with elementary aged children, this is not a good combination! I linked one of my favorite options I have used in years passed in the heading for water bottles, but as my children get older, their tastes change and that also includes the style of water bottles they want too (insert eye rolling emoji). My daughter has since moved onto a Hydro Flask, which I actually have no complaints about, and my son uses these Gatorade Bottles. We did try a Yeti Rambler Junior with him last year, but he lost it within a month. Lesson learned to not spend the money for the pricier water bottles on the kindergartner!
These are just some of the items that I use or have used in the past to pack my children’s lunches. As far as what I actually pack, that’s an article for another day! The struggle is real with that and I know you can all relate. However, I hope the products I have listed can take some of the stress of packing lunches off your plate, no pun intended.