8 Tips for Creative School Lunch Packaging
Courtney RussellLast year, when I sent my kindergartener off to a tiny school with no food service, I braced myself as I unpacked his lunch box each day. I had heard stories during daily pickup of jilted PB&J's, leftover pizza ignored-- but my son? He was eating his lunch.
My smugness turned to discontent when a few months later I began to find his lunch tins were nearly as full as when I'd sent him off. Even when I'd introduce new foods, eventually he'd tire of them, and again, the lunch box would have that telltale weightiness.
This year, I've armed myself with some secret weapons to keep him interested in his lunches. Yes, I need to keep the foods interesting and varied. But, a little smoke and mirrors couldn't hurt either (see below for my strategies). Here's hoping for a first grade year with experiences, full -- lunch boxes, empty.
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Lunch Box LineupThis is the dream team of lunch boxes -- no more worries about BPA, pthalates, lead and all that stuff. This lunch box from NeoGreen is roomy, but has enough structure to keep the containers from banging around. Stainless-steel food containers from Lunchbots and To-Go are durable and dishwasher safe. Organic cotton snack bags from Graze are a splurge, but you can finally do away with those gazillions of plastic bags. The spoon/fork/ knife combo from Light My Fire is funky fun, and unusual enough not to end up in someone else's lunchbox. (all available at reuseit.com)
Stack the DeckKeep yourself from getting into a rut by printing your kid's favorite lunch box choices on index cards. Color code them for categories such as main dishes, sides and desserts.
Ours are rubber stamped, but the cards could also be printed on an ink jet printer. Laminate if desired (we did ours with a Xyron, but copy shops such as Kinko's could do it for you), punch with a hole punch, and place on a binder ring. Hang in a handy spot in your kitchen.