School is starting up for most of us this month which means we’re all starting to think about school lunch boxes and how to keep them interesting yet easy enough on us we’re not stressing them every night or morning. Here are 15 different lunch box hacks to get you started on the right foot this school year.
- Stock the panty and let the kids choose their own snacks – when kids have a say in what they eat they tend to actually eat it better. So find a few shoe boxes and add different snacks inside. Then let them pick out one thing from each box to add to their lunch that day.
- Make and freeze your own peanut butter & jelly sandwiches ahead of time – make your own uncrustables ahead of time. It’s easy and so so much cheaper than buying them from the store.
- Make and freeze a smooth to use as an ice pack – this is easy to do especially if you just made them ones a week and divided it out. You can store them in simple containers like these and freeze them to add to their lunch during the week.
- Pack a travel size hand sanitizer in their lunch box – there are a ton of these on sale right now with all the back to school deals going on. Bath & Body Works also has their pocket size sanitizers on sale for $1 so watch for that deal as well.
- Freeze their drink to use as an ice pack – If you pack your kids any kind of juice box or squeeze juice you could easily store them in the freezer and then by lunch they’ll be thawed enough to enjoy.
- Draw faces on their sandwich bags and string cheese wrappers – this is sure to put a smile on your kids face when they open their lunch box and find funny and silly faces drawn on their bags. You could even draw a silly face on top of their fruit cups.
- Use cookie cutters to make fun shapes out of their meat, cheese and sandwiches – if you’re not going to be buying those cute sandwich cutters that we’ve been seeing some great deals on then pull out your cookie cutters and see what you can fit on their sandwich. Even a fun heart cut into their cheese would make them happy and remind them that mom is think about them.
- Keep the mini packs of condiments you get from eating out to send in their lunch box – you know those little packets you get when you want ketchup with your meal? Those packets are perfect to add to your kids school lunch boxes.
- Freeze a sponge and use it as an ice pack – simply get a sponge wet and stick it in a zip lock bag. Then once it’s frozen you can add it to your kids school lunch box to keep things cool and the water won’t get everywhere since it’s in the zip lock bag.
- Pack frozen grapes as an edible ice pack – this is a simple trick you can use to add some fruit to their lunch while still keeping everything else cold. And it’s quick. Just clean the grapes when you first get them and divide them out into portion sized bags and stick them in the freezer. Then pull a bag out and add it to your kids school lunch.
- When sending chips in a zip lock, fill the bag with air before sealing it closed – no one likes crunched up chips for lunch. So before you zip the bag closed, stick a straw in the end and blow the bag up with air. Then they’re less likely to get crumbs as chips for lunch.
- Gift wrap individual items in their lunch box on special occasions – does your child have a birthday during the school year? Why not make it special by wrapping up their lunch in birthday paper! Then they can have fun unwrapping their “presents” during lunch. You could do this for Christmas time, Valentine’s day or any other fun holiday.
- After slicing your apple use a rubber band to hold it together and keep it from going brown (or wrap it in plastic wrap) – If you’d like to send an apple with your kids but don’t want it going brown, simply slip a rubber band around it after you’ve sliced it. Or you could wrap it in plastic wrap to keep the apple together. That way it won’t be brown when they go to lunch.
- Pack your own single servings – It’s nice to have those snack items already divided out for you (like chips, crackers, fruit cups, etc.) but if you’re trying to save even more money, the best thing you can do is make your own single serving items. Try putting together your own once a week so you’re not doing it every night. That way you’ll save money and time!
- Make a list of lunches ahead of time – it may seem like a pain in the beginning but if you have a list of lunch ideas already put together it’s easy to just look down the list and decide what you’re going to make for the next day. And while you’re out grocery shopping, you’ll know exactly what to buy and what your kids like in their school lunches.
We’d love to hear your lunch box hacks! What do you do to make packing lunch for your kids easier on you and still fun for them? Would you like us to create a list of lunch items your kids could choose from? Let us know your secrets and tips in comments below!