Fresh Mama LunchBox Tips And Tricks

The people have spoken! Summer is in full swing, but I am already receiving questions about lunchbox tips, so if you aren't ready to "go there" yet, please ignore this post (but come back when you are ready to face the school year;).





If you follow me on Facebook, you know I share a photo of my kid's lunches about once/week and I am asked many, many questions about what I pack and how I pack and "do your kids really eat that?!". So I will address all these questions as best I can.

As an avid prepper when it come to getting my own healthy eats ready for the week, I also apply the same principals to ensure my kids have healthy lunches. Things go so much smoother when all the lunchbox contents are prepared for the week. Most weeks, I pack lunch for the kids Mon-Thurs and then they buy lunch on  Fridays "pizza day" (mama needs a day off)!

When writing this post I decided to go straight to the source and ask my kids to help me come up with the lunch items they enjoy the most. For the record, I have one lunch lover (Evan), who literally cleans out his lunchbox every day and comes home ravenous for snacks. My other guy (Colin) is a big breakfast guy and inhales 2-3 eggs, sausage, cereal or oatmeal, fruit and juice most mornings. This must sustain him, because he often comes home with about half his lunch eaten or sometimes less. So the amount I pack definitely depends on the kid and I do not expect them to eat it all, but want to make sure they have the option. Can't learn if you have a growling belly!

These are the steps I take each week to prepare for lunches (I do not do the same thing each week, but you get the idea):

1. Bake bread (of course I buy whole grain bread if I don't have time to bake!) for pb&j's and cheese sandwiches.

Whole Wheat Amish Bread

2. Bake mini muffins or prepare a pan of granola bars and store in the freezer (save time and double a batch to make enough to last for a month!).

Double Chocolate Zucchini Muffins
Whole Grain Carrot Raisin Muffins
Hubbard Squash Muffins
Zucchini Carrot Muffins
Chewy Granola Bars

3. Cut up fresh fruit and/or veggies and store in mason jars or Tupperware.

My kid's favorites:
Strawberries
Mango
Melon
Grapes
Apples (toss cut apples with lemon juice to prevent browning)
Bananas
Red Bell Pepper
Cucumbers
Grape Tomatoes

4. Make sure we have cheeses, pepperoni, yogurts, hummus, crackers,and applesauce.

5. Steam some edamame, corn, or peas.

6. Hard boil some eggs.

7. For hot meals my kids like:
Tomato soup
Mac n Cheese
Leftover pasta/sauce/meatsauce
American Chop Suey

These are my kid's favorites and we are always trying new things. Sometimes they surprise me with the things they ask for and I always try to accommodate anything they want as long as its healthy. One of Colin's favorite leftover meals is "cold pizza"! I make homemade pizza on Saturday night and make sure to set aside a piece for him to take for lunch on Monday.

This year I have decided to change things up -- after years of using the Sistema boxes, I was ready for something new and decided on the Laptop Lunch system as the perfect solution. The kids were thrilled to receive their new lunch boxes with cute carrying cases and I am in love with the storage system. This give us more versatility and Evan is excited to bring things like mozzarella and tomato salad without the mess. I am excited for the easy to clean containers and especially love the little spot for holding their reusable metal fork and spoon. If you want to take a look at all the options, click on the image below for a link to the Laptop Lunches website. (If you order through this link I will receive small percentage of your order total which helps fund the blog:-).



In addition to the laptop lunches, I will still be using my favorite Sistema box, silicone muffin liners, reusable juice/water containers and Thermos containers for packing healthy lunches. Here are the brands I have in my home. I also included the Eggsact egg timer, because I use this little gadget weekly when preparing our hardboiled eggs for the week. Handiest little gadget in my kitchen! Click on the images for more product info:



How I pack:

In a perfect world I would be that super prepared Mom and have everyone's lunches made the night before, however, it is a rare occasion for me to be THAT on top of things and I usually end up throwing lunches together in the morning. See why having everything ready to go is huge for me? At most I might make a sandwich or heat up a hot meal for the thermos. The rest is ready to throw in the lunchbox!

Some final tips:

1. Get your kids involved! Kids are fickle, the lunch they loved yesterday, may not appeal to them today. I find my kids eat better when they have a voice in what is in their lunchboxes. They have a choice of whatever is in the house and sometimes actually help make the lunch.

2. Make it fun! Now, we have all seen those super-Moms on Pinterest cutting sandwiches into shapes, carving vegetables into a virtual artwork, but who actually has time for that??? I certainly do not! But I do a few things to spice things up. Write a sweet note or funny knock-knock joke on a napkin, surprise them with a cookie or brownie, and I did buy a tiny little cookie cutter kit to make fun shapes with carrots and cucmbers (which actually helps get my kids to eat it!).

3. Relax -- don't have time to bake your bread or muffins, no time on Sunday to chop all those veggie and fruits? RELAX. I do my best to create healthy, delicious lunches for my kids every week, but stuff happens, life gets busy and I find it handy to keep Bunny Snacks, granola bars, and other healthy packaged snacks on hand as backups. We are all doing the best we can and one day of packaged lunch or school bought lunch won't hurt.




I hope you found this post helpful and as always, stay tuned to my Facebook page and Instagram account (@freshmamablog) for weekly lunchbox ideas. I always love to hear reader ideas, so please share your family's favorite lunchbox ideas in the comments!

If you haven't already, make sure to check out my new Fresh Mama Fitness Page where you can find my healthiest recipes, fitness tips, home workouts/challenges, motivation, and inspiration for living a healthy, fit life!
 
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5 comments:

  1. This is the lunch packer I aspire to be. For real. GREAT ideas!

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  2. Great ideas! Now that the boys are both in HS,they prefer to buy lunch (it's ala carte). But I plan to incorporate your ideas for the little girl's "lunchables"! Thanks! :-)

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    1. Thank you! The bento style lunch is a great way to get so many different food groups in! Let me know what you make and stay tuned to the FB page for weekly ideas:)

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  3. Looking so useful information you shared here and its very helpful one to me. thanks for this post.

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