As kids across the nation head back to school, many of them will be heading there with a lunch packed by mom and dad. While this has been a practice among parents for decades, the methods of keeping lunches fresh, cold (or hot) and tasty have improved greatly over time.
Here are some lunchbox hacks that will keep your child’s food safe and delicious without causing a hassle.
Frozen Sponge Ice Pack
If you’re sending your child to school with food that needs to be kept cold until the lunch bell rings, then you’ll need something to keep everything fresh. Why not use an inexpensive sponge (wet and frozen) as an ice pack? It’s cheaper than the goo-filled ones you can buy, and there’s no chance of it becoming punctured and releasing harmful chemicals.
Lunchbox Organizing Cubby
Making lunches every day can be taxing, especially for parents. So, why not let your kids help out by creating a lunchbox organizing station where all of their lunchbox ingredients and options (minus cold stuff) are at their fingertips. Bridgette from Blessings Multiplied filled plastic containers with items that would typically go in her children’s lunches – juice boxes, raisins, pudding, etc. They get to choose what goes in and she doesn’t have to worry about having time to pack multiple lunches.
One of the best ways to get kids to get their veggie and fruit servings is by mixing it up in a smoothie. But, finding a way to pack a smoothie can be tricky. One Good Thing by Jillee used 8 oz freezer jars to make and pack smoothies for her kids. Pop in a spoon and frozen sponge to keep it all cold and you’ve got a healthy lunch item your children won’t mind downing.
If your kids are tired of sandwiches, then try sending some chicken nuggets in their lunch. It will be a good source of protein to keep them going through the day, and it will be a nice surprise to find in their lunchbox. To keep them warm, try putting them in a thermos. It will keep the contents hot until lunch time and is reusable.
Keeping it Together
Kids like foods that are bite-sized and easy to eat. While fruits can often be small enough to pop into their mouths, some are larger than others and harder to tackle. Try cutting an apple with a coring device. When the apple is cored, take off the device and wrap a rubber band around the apple. It will keep the pieces together and will slow down the oxidation process that makes them turn brown. The apple will be easier to pack and will already be in slices for lunch time snacking.
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Jessa is the Editor-in-Chief of Hooray for Family and the mom of three energetic children. She has a BA in Mass Communication/Journalism from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, and is a long-time resident of Central Texas. When she isn't writing and editing, she enjoys playing board games with her kids, teaching Sunday school and channeling her creativity into craft projects.