Back in August I did a blog post about how my kids much preferred to eat "little bits of lots of things" and had a GREAT response. Lots of y'all had wonderful ideas for lunches for your kids and several people asked about how I packed school lunches. Since I was in the throes of the back-to-school rush I didn't have too many thoughts on school lunch, but now that we're a semester in I have more to share :)
Last year our sandwich, chips, fruit and yogurt game was strong... but after a sandwich boycott this summer I needed to figure out a way to step up our game. I ordered the boys Yumboxes and it has made lunches so much more fun and (believe it or not) easier.
The Yumboxes are these refillable bento-style boxes, but the reason that I picked them over others is that the lid seals and you don't have to worry about the contents of the compartments mixing. They had great reviews and so I took the plunge and ordered them.
It was love at first lunch and they have enabled me to keep up their "little bits of lots of things" style of eating and I feel like they're eating more of what I pack and enjoying their lunches more.
These are crummy pics, but here are a couple of their lunches just so you can see how much stuff you can really get in them!
Luke had yogurt, salami and colby jack cheese, cold tortellini and marinara sauce for dipping (his FAVORITE!), mandarin oranges and peanuts.
Mason has yogurt, salami and cheese, PB & J sandwich, fruit snacks, oranges and blueberries and Chex Mix.
We hadn't had the boys very long when we realized how convenient the boxes were for the car, lunch on the go, packing dinners and keeping them in the fridge for when I know we're going to have a busy night, etc. and so we ordered one for Griffin as well.
Luke: mandarin oranges, pineapple chunks, hummus and pretzel chips, yogurt, salami, peanut butter and jelly sandwich, protein bites, cheese, mixed nuts and raisins.
Mason: Deli meat and cheese, mandarin oranges, yogurt, protein bites, peanut butter and jelly, goldfish mix.
Griffin: Mandarin oranges and pineapple, cheese, hummus and pretzel chips, protein bites, PB&J sandwich and yogurt.
Mason: Strawberries, yogurt, tortilla rollups, gummy worms, string cheese, pretzels and peanut butter for dipping :)
Luke: Strawberries, ham and cheese tortilla rollups, gummy worms, pretzel chips and hummus (not pictured because we were out when I snapped these pics).
After packing yumboxes for the kids for weeks I decided I didn't want to miss out on the fun and so I ordered one for myself as well :)
I ordered a snack size one as well as the lunch and am OBSESSED!
The little snack one I pack and usually have a couple of things that I can snack on throughout the morning and my afternoon planning periods...
Hummus and pretzel chips and a couple of caramels :) Because sometimes you just need something sweet at 2 pm after dealing with middle schoolers all morning! hahaha
Another snack box is white cheddar SmartPop, a ham and Muenster cheese tortilla rollup and a Trader Joes dark chocolate peanut butter cup (cut in half to fit).
And my lunch... PB&J, cheese, caramels (I really need to break this habit!), strawberries and apple slices. I got the box with the bigger section instead of the multiple little sections.
The boxes fit right inside the kids lunchboxes with room left over for their juice box, napkin, utensils, etc. and I use this lunchbox (it's only $12!) and both my regular size box and snack box fit in there with room for a water bottle.
So far the kids haven't had a hard time keeping track of their boxes, but just in case I labeled them with my FAVORITE labels EVER!!! I use them on clothes, shoes, backpacks... EVERYTHING! You just write on them with a Sharpie, stick them on there and go. They go through the dishwasher, washing machine, etc. and they look as good as they did the day I stuck them on.
So... random info...
- We've toted these boxes everywhere with all kinds of stuff in them (ranch dressing, marinara sauce, etc.) and NEVER had a leak. I know that you shouldn't put actual liquids in the compartments, but I'm not sure why you'd need to.
- The boxes aren't insulated, but I store them in the refrigerator after I pack them at night and they stay pretty cool throughout the day. Since our lunch bags are insulated that keeps everything cool enough until lunch.
- The inserts come out to make cleaning easy and everything CAN go on the top rack of the dishwasher, but we hand wash ours after school and let them dry so they're ready to pack after dinner.
- Santa is bringing all three of the kids the snack size boxes in their stockings. The boys each have to bring a snack to school in addition to their lunch and I think they'll be great for that as well as snacks for car trips, park dates, etc.
We definitely don't do these every day... we have the occasional sandwich and chips lunch as well, but not as often. The boys don't really ever buy school lunch - we have a great catering program, but I can't bring myself to pay for lunch when I know they're only going to eat half of it.
The other thing that we've been doing a lot lately is packing them leftovers in these thermoses. We even occasionally make mac and cheese in the morning just to pack in their thermoses for lunch when they ask REALLY sweetly :)
And here are a few of my favorite salads that I like to prep on the weekends and eat throughout the week (and they would fit perfectly into the large section of my yumbox! hahaha)
So, hit me up with your school lunch ideas! (or lunch ideas for yourself!)
Happy Tuesday, Friends!
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