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Day in, day out, there are few constants like the school lunchbox.  Every night, there it is, waiting for me on the counter.  There is literally no escaping it.  We do not have a cafeteria at school, so it’s packed lunch every day for these kiddos. Each night I pack up their lunches with a few thoughts in mind:  Is this healthy enough?  Would I like to eat it?  Will it stay fresh?  Will they like to eat it?  Will it give them the energy to get through the day? Should I give them a new food to try (Usually no).  Should I look up on Instagram what someone else is packing for lunch (No, just pack the damn lunch already!)?

And so I get to packing.  We like the Bentgo Lunchbox — it’s sturdy and the kids love the color — to pack up our food. Plus they can open it and maneuver it themselves.  Downside, it’s kinda heavy.  YumBox is a similar bento-style option.  We also use these slim reusable ice packs from Crocodile Creek and love them! All of this is tucked inside a Wildkin lunchbox.  They have about a gazillion different patterns (we carry spaceships and sports) so there is something for everyone.

On to the components: a mix of proteins, veggies/fruit and dairy plus some carbs.  Utilize leftovers, that is key.  And don’t be afraid to serve things room temp or cool that may otherwise be eaten warm (think ravioli, empanada or french toast sticks).  Personally, I feel the thermos is overrated and my kids don’t love soup.  So, we usually skip it.

Some ideas to keep in mind and on hand:  hard boiled eggs, rotisserie or roasted chicken, cut up veggies like carrots, cucumbers, grape tomatoes, mini peppers and shelled edamame, all sorts of fruit, plus seeds and nuts and granola, crackers and different cheeses, different bread/carbs like noodles, ravioli, bagels, english muffin or even French toast.

The lunchbox in the photo includes all kinds of yummy nut-free options from Fresh Made Simple including Pea Puree & Linguine, Red Pepper Cheddar Spread, parfait with Granola, Apple & Manchego plus a little seed/raisin/choco chip mix.

In need of further #lunchboxinspo?  Try these:

10 Sandwich-Free Lunch Ideas from The Kitchn

Celebrity Chef Lunchbox Ideas from Parents

The Best Homemade Kids’ Lunches on the Planet (Cookbook)

A to Z Guide to Sandwiches from Bon Appetit

Get More
Fresh Made Simple

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