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School has begun! It’s hard to believe that fall is here and we are quickly flying into October already!! Some of you have been packing lunches like pros already, and I am sure some of you would like some ideas to keep the boxes getting packed!! So I wanted to take a minute to share some great lunch ideas with you. Helpful ideas for those of you who do pack a lunch (or two or three) every day AND also lots of helpful ideas for those of us still home with our little ones. Along with some great tools to help make lunch fun and easy for everyone…
First let’s start with the tableware. Whether you are on-the-go or at home, lunch time is always easier when you have the right tools. And what parent doesn’t love when ANY part of our daily routine is made easier! Below you will find some of my favorites that are sure to make lunches and meal times easier for you and fun for your kids.
When it comes to tableware, Re-Play Recycled will always be my favorite. They are first off entirely MADE IN THE USA, durable, affordable, and made from recycled milk jugs. Each of their colorful cups, no-spill sippy cups, divided plates, silverware, & bowls are sure to make your place setting perfect for every meal. They even have snack time covered with the Snack Stack, I love this because there is nothing else like it on the market. It’s perfect for any kind of snack, but I personally love it for cut up fruit on the go. No way it is getting smushed in the bottom of the cooler or leaking juices all over! And they twist into each other to make an awesome Snack tower!
I have been using the no-spill sippy cup for over a year now, without a single spill. This is hard to come by in the world of toddler cups! I have spent a lot of money trying to find a way for my kids to drink milk on the couch, without my couch smelling like rotten milk! These have saved our mornings!! Even better they are super easy to assemble, with only 3 pieces total (top, bottom & valve). Making washing them a breeze! Try just one for yourself, only $4.99 shipped! I have also become very fond of the divider plates and the bowls because they are the perfect depth for little ones. They hold just the right amount, without being too high or two flat. Food stays IN it and we avoid a lot of mishaps when my kids want to carry their lunch to the table.
Once you try Replay you won’t know what you did before without them! Even better, every month they make it super easy to “build your rainbow” by offering a FULL set in ONE color for $22, with free shipping! So if you want a set just like mine, go grab September’s color Orange right now! Bonus, you can grab a set to please each of your kids in their favorite color & not break the bank in the process!
For an easy and creative way to amp up any simple lunch get yourself a FunBites food cutter. This nifty kitchen gadget comes in 9 different designs. From geometric to minions to even Paw Patrol shapes, each cutter makes lunches even more entertaining with fun bite sized shapes.
This tool is not only great to get your picky toddler interested in eating lunch, but also think about the younger kiddos. I would’ve loved this tool for when my daughters started eating things like toast and fruit. Small enough for little hands to pick up, yet big enough to teach them biting and chewing!
I love to use my square cutter for “uncrusting” a sandwich in a snap with my kids. I am not one to make a habit of cutting the crust off sandwiches, but with crunchy grilled cheese I make an exception. Even with oozy cheese, the FunBites cutter slices sandwiches up in a SNAP & it makes dipping for small hands a cinch!
PACKED LUNCH TO-GO
Along my packing lunches journey, I have found that if I have a divided container I am more likely to make sure to pack a healthy variety of items for lunch. So when I pack our lunches to go, I like the idea of a simple tray like container with dividers. If you are really into the best kind of container, I would go with a Bento Box. I have even spotted these recently on Groupon for a discounted price, but they go fast! We use these character boxes from the Dollar Tree! The kids love them, they are the perfect size for their lunch. Plus, at a buck, if they get lost or broken I am not too upset. I talk more about these in my first Dollar Store Haul video over on YouTube. While you are there, go ahead and subscribe to my YouTube channel to see more fun stuff from me.
Now coming up with ideas outside of the standard PBJ everyday, is difficult. As parents we have so many tasks to complete & making Pinterest styled lunches is daunting! I am not saying you should make your kids a masterful piece of art, let’s just feed them a varied diet? Sound good? Ok, keep reading 😉
Below I have compiled posts I found on Pinterest that I find very helpful in the EASIEST way possible. There is something for everyone here I promise, and if you want more check out my board on Pinterest dedicated to Lunches.
NO sandwich ideas – This is a great list from What Lisa Cooks , for those of you who’s kids don’t prefer sandwiches, or for diet reasons you avoid eating sandwiches. Over a 100 great ideas, which means you won’t run out of ways to pack for your kids any time soon!!
The Chart System – This is a great idea, from A House Full of Sunshine, it is perfect for people who like to have a bit of everything on hand, but not really “plan ahead.” This handy (& printable) chart is helpful to have right on the fridge, and then just choose from each category and done! Even older kids who can read, would be able to pack their own lunch (SCORE!).
Cold Lunch Packing System – I love this post full of ideas and tips by Happy Money Saver on how you can get lunch prep done in advance. Everything in bins ready to go & much like the chart system an easy “pick, pack, and go” means you get out the door in no time! Even older kids can help with ideas and packing up all on their own! WIN WIN!
LUNCH BOX NOTES
Lastly, what young kiddo doesn’t love a note in their lunch. While you wish you had the time like this dad does, to craft the best doodle on a napkin… Some of us just need a fun way to say I love you or make them smile. Here are a few of my favorite printable (AKA always ready to go!!) notes to stash in your kids’ lunch boxes. These are only my top 3 — but again I have a board for that! So if you want to see more, check out my Pinterest board of printable notes and tags.
Kindergarten notes, by Kristen Duke Photography, are perfect for the tots that aren’t ready to read a lunch note yet.
This cute fruity set from A Crafted Sparrow, gives you three whole pages of notes to have on hand. Print, cut and store then where ever you make lunches!
Under the Sea Jokes, also by Kristen Duke Photography, are so cute she said her high school student enjoyed them! And who doesn’t love a good pun!!
So that’s it! Good luck to the kids in school & the parents supporting them. I hope in some small way I have made your morning mad rush (or mid-day madness) a bit easier. Let’s start our fall and our mornings off on the right foot this year! If you have your own ideas or “hacks” please share in the comments below! I love to hear what you guy think!
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