Monday, August 26, 2013

Back to School, Back to Lunch Packing

Now that the boys are back in school, I'm back to lunch packing. I thought I would share a few of my lunch packing tips I've developed over the past few years.  I pack lunches for my boys every day for school.  One of my goals when I pack a lunch is to make them as trash free as possible.  All the supplies I normally use for lunch packing is re-usable.

I have a weekly lunch packing schedule that I follow to make things easier on myself but to avoid packing the same old lunch every day.  Sometimes I mix the days up a bit if it would be easier to pack a hot lunch another day or we're out of bread on Monday, but generally I keep to the schedule.  Sides could be fruit, veggies with dip, pretzels, crackers, cheddar bunnies, a muffin, granola bars.

Monday:  sandwich (Nice and easy for a Monday!)
Tuesday:  tossed salad with dressing in a small container
Wednesday:  hot lunch in a Thermos (Nine times out of ten, I make my kids' favorite pasta the night before to have leftovers for lunch)
Thursday:  creative lunch. Ideas include sandwich sushi, waffles with cream cheese, cold meatballs with marinara dip, cold pizza, cold quesadilla, mini quiches, corn dog muffins pitas wedges with hummus.
Friday:  lunchables style "snacky" lunch

We have two types of lunch boxes.  Both of them are divided containers so that once the lid is opened, the child can have access to everything at once and just dig right in.  I have visited school during lunch period and witnessed many other kids having trouble opening parts of their lunches, which really wastes valuable eating time.

The ones that I use the most are Ziploc divided containers that I bought at Target.  These are not perfect as a package of them usually only lasts for about one school year before they start to fall apart.  I really like them though because each compartment seals completely, keeping everything separate.
We also have two of the Pottery Barn Spencer Bento Boxes.  These are nice because there are a lot of compartments and they can fit more variety of food.   These are big boxes and require a big lunch bag to fit them and a drink.  The latch is a little questionable and seems like it could break, but both of ours have held up for now.  

For drinks, I usually send a reusable juice box container filled with water and a little squirt of Dasani Drops.

Other supplies I use are silicone cupcake liners, Thermos brand food jars, re-usable food picks, and small cloth napkins.  

When the kids are done eating, they know to stick everything back in their lunch bag and not to throw anything in the trash at school.  This helps prevent losing supplies that are not disposable.

Some Lunch Examples

Lunchables lunch Friday: ham, a pumpkin muffin, granola balls, cheese squares, fruit,  crackers, and a treat
Lunchables lunch Friday: 3 sour bears, crackers, cheese, pepperonis, strawberries, and a Trader Joes granola bar
Salad lunch Tuesday:  Salad, dressing, a leftover rhubarb bar, and a hard boiled egg with a tiny container of salt
Sandwich lunch Monday:  Sandwich, muffin, fruit, and Southwestern Quinoa Salad
Creative lunch Thursday:  pitas with hummus, raspberries stuffed with chocolate chips, watermelon, and crackers

 For more ideas, visit my favorite lunch packing blog, Wendolonia.


  1. Anna, thank you for these ideas. I love your silicone cupcake wrappers. Those make it so much easier to keep things organized--and keep things from getting squished! It's good to catch up with your blog! Keep up the great work!

  2. What bag(s) do you use to hold it all?

    1. We have a couple California Innovations Hi-Top Mega Munchsak lunch bags, along with a few other smaller lunch bags. I prefer the Mega Munchsaks as they fit every different bento container we own. We bought them at Meijer.