You don’t have to spend a lot of time to pack a well rounded and eco-friendly school lunch. Focusing on great lunches will help fuel your kids for whatever their afternoon at school has in store. A healthy plant strong diet also helps to boost the immune system, meaning fewer sick days. Try these tips for convenient school lunch ideas as you embark on this new school year with your family.
1. Simplicity is key
Most schools only give kids 15-20 minutes to eat lunch, so make that time count. Bento boxes allow kids to quickly see what you packed and start eating! Put foods from a different food group in each section. Boxes like Yumbox help you pack a healthy meal by giving you suggestions on what to put in each section. Colorful fresh produce like watermelon spears or carrots & celery sticks are great choices that you can order from Terra’s Kitchen along with your weekly healthy food delivery.
2. Keep it cold
When packing fresh foods, ice packs are a must. The USDA recommends using at least two ice packs or combine one ice pack with a frozen juice box or bottle of water to keep perishables fresh. Look for lunch bags with insulation and try to avoid ones that contain PVC, BPA, Phthalates and lead. If you are packing a drink that needs to stay cold, DailyMom.com recommends investing in a thermos like a Hydroflask. The stainless steel double wall insulation protects from outside temperatures and will keep liquids cold up to 24 hours, and hot for up to 6 hours. They come in tons fun colors and the 12oz size with the sport lid is perfect for kiddos.
3. Reduce Waste
Packing a waste-free lunch is easier than you may think and can also help to save money in the long run. There are tons of products on the market that can eliminate single use plastics in your child’s lunchbox. Lunchskins by 3greenmoms are a cute and simple way to eliminate plastic baggies and individually packaged food. Lunchskins are reusable sandwich bags that are certified as lead, BPA and Phthalate free and are dishwasher safe for cleaning after each use. Just one lunchskins bag can replace over 500 single use plastic bags, and so far the company has replaced more than 1 BILLION plastic bags with their reusable products!
4. Make it fun
If you simply search school lunchbox inspiration on Pinterest you will be inundated with what feels like millions of parents who are making over the top lunches for their kids. Injecting fun into an otherwise ordinary school lunch can be as simple as adding a surprise like an encouraging note. We also love flexing our creative muscles to make ordinary ingredients more fun when inspiration strikes. Try combining our Hummus Grab N Go with Annie's Cheddar Bunnies for a playful and delicious lunch or snack.
5. Mix It Up
Keeping lunches fun can become a chore pretty quickly, but don’t fall into this trap! Save the super creative lunches for when you have time, and think about adding some of our grab n go items to your next vessel to fill in the blanks. Our Grab n Go items are always there to help save time when you are having a busy week. Salads are a great option for high school kids. Try sending them with our Berry Balsamic Salad (or just keep it for yourself!).
6. Make meal choices & cook together
Kids are more likely to enjoy what you pack if they are a part of the planning process. Pack lunches together in the evenings and talk about what they would like to have the next day. Don’t forget to take note of what they send home untouched and ask them what they liked for new school lunch ideas.
Take a look at our full menu of salads, snacks, and juices that are perfect for fresh meals, even at school.