166 Days of School Lunches

School’s about to start, and I thought I’d share with you some of the tools that will help me get through 166 days of packing lunches.

When Mallory decided last year that she didn’t like peanut butter sandwiches anymore, I came up with some new ideas…boiled eggs, fruit & yogurt, cream cheese on bagels…but quickly realized that the cool packs I was using in her adorable Thirty-One lunch tote definitely did not keep these items cold enough.

So this year I’ve opted for the lunch box all of my mom friends are raving about; The PackIt freezable lunch bag.

I bought this exact one on Amazon for $17 with FREE SHIPPING, and it arrived in two days since I’m an Amazon Prime member. I’ve also heard that the PackIt is available locally at Walmart, and I saw it just yesterday at Magical Child in Encinitas for $20.

Now I haven’t tested the PackIt yet, but I know lots of moms who have and swear that it beats freezing water bottles and adding extra cool packs to help keep lunches safe. Fingers crossed!

And I am super excited about this book I also just ordered.

Not only am I looking forward to trying out The Lunch Box recipes like peanut butter noodles with snow peas and chicken and rice wraps with peanut dip (my daughter still eats peanut butter…just not in a sandwich!), but I’m REALLY looking forward to interviewing the author and including some of her recipes in the 2013 Mom’s Guide to San Diego. Woo Hoo!

I found The Lunch Box available at Pottery Barn Kids for $18.95 with free shipping, but I preferred to order it from Amazon for $12.89 with 2 day free shipping, of course. 🙂

And, finally, I’ve raved on Facebook about Eat This Not That For Kids, which I picked up at Kohl’s this summer for only $5!

I am not that picky about what my kids eat, and I don’t fear that they will become obese, but I have enjoyed this book’s reviews of popular kids’ foods, ratings of the meals our kids are likely to choose at local restaurants and suggested substitutions that have made me a more informed mom. For example, did you know that vitamin waters can carry nearly the same amount of sugar as a can of Coke? Did you know that some of the “healthier” brands of yogurt like Horizon Organic go heavy on cane sugar making them a poor choice over some common brands like Yoplait?

Eat This Not That is 300 pages of colorful pictures and surprising insights into nutritional values and calorie content. I’m definitely going to reference it when trying to pack the perfect lunch.

And while she doesn’t seem to be into sandwiches anymore, I did enjoy OCCASIONALLY using cookie cutters to make cute shapes with my daughter’s kindergarten lunches.

We were given a bunch of “crustless sandwich cutters” in a variety of shapes that would have been fun to use. Oh well, Gage still likes sandwiches so he and I will enjoy dolphin-shaped sandwiches together while Mal is in school.

Hope your school year gets off to a great start!

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