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I’m here with tips and tricks for packing school lunch for your kids just in the nick of time. I was very intimidated by the idea of packing a variety of cold items in my kid’s lunch without giving her a sandwich every single day. However, with a little internet research and the help of other talented bloggers, I have challenged my assumptions about what Lily’s lunch needs to look like. Here are some assumptions I had before I learned more about packing school lunches…and their solutions!
You Cannot Pack Hot Foods For Lunch Without a Microwave
Because Lily will not have access to a microwave at school, I felt very limited by what I could pack. I was thinking everything had to be room temperature. I worried about packing proteins: milk, cheese, and meat should not be allowed to come to room temperature.
Then I did some research on thermoses and realized they have come a long way since I was kid. I found an amazing thermos that ensures food stays hot for 5 HOURS and cold for even longer! This was such a relief for me as it opened a lot of doors for what kind of food I could send.
I make a lot of soups, pastas, and rice casseroles for meals in our house because they taste great reheated for my husband’s lunch at work. But now I can just make a little extra and send them in my kid’s lunch, too! I learned some quick tips for keeping your food hot inside the thermos for as long as possible.
- First, heat water to almost boiling
- Add it into the empty thermos for 5 minutes
- Meanwhile, heat the food in a microwave (use bowl) or on the stove. Do not heat food in the thermos because metal is not safe inside a microwave
- Empty the thermos of hot water and insert warm food
- Close it up tight and you are done!
I did extensive research to find the best thermos and chose to purchase these ones for packing school lunch. You will want one (or two) that is vacuum insulated and double walled. If you want a slightly cheaper option, choose this one. I also stumbled across a Thermos brand one with tags on, never used at Goodwill for $7! You could try your luck at a thrift store, but since eventually a thermos will leak, it is better to buy new.
I do not have enough options for fruits/veggies my kids will eat
Sometimes it is easier to take the expensive route and let the school take the job of serving your kid a variety of fruits and vegetables. My kid only really likes carrots, every other vegetable I have to encourage her to eat at the dinner table. Without me there, will she eat the fruits and vegetables I pack?
With a little research on these concerns I found two great resources.
First, this chart helps me come up with ideas of what to pack. Big thanks to 5dollardinners.com!
Second, I found this article for ideas to make my kid’s lunch arranged in an appealing, fun way. I know my kids are more willing to eat their food when it’s in the shape of a face or something silly! Just scrolling through those pictures gave me lots of great ideas to make foods that my kids only sometimes eat look more appealing.
You Cannot Pack Hot and Cold Things Together
I was under the impression if you pack cold items and hot items in the same lunch box, they will affect each others’ temperatures. But amazingly, if you buy the right thermos, absolutely NO heat transfers! The thermos does not even condensate or change temperature at all on the outside.
Otherwise, you can opt for a lunch box with two insulated compartments to hold hot and cold food separately. Or, get this new OmieBox from Bento that can hold hot and cold foods in the same box and maintain individual temperatures! Amazing!
With the right equipment, any dilemma you are facing when packing school lunch can be solved. And when you think about the $2.75 per meal you will be saving, the $15 lunch box and two $15 thermoses are worth the investment!
Thanks for reading! I hope if you are wondering how to accomplish packing school lunch every day for your child that I helped! Share this advice to a friend you know who could use one of these tips. Oh, and don’t forget to pin!
Thanks for reading – see you all next Monday!