Lunch Lady

It never fails. At the start of the school year I’m all about balanced, homemade lunches, and I even take the time to make them cute.

By the end of the year, when everyone’s tired the same ‘ole thing, I’m throwing money at my kids begging them to buy lunch!

BUT, this year will be different. I’ve got a plan for the 2013/2014 school year that involves gathering the right tools for the job and YOU!

I’ve discovered a number of terrific online resources for healthy and creative lunch ideas including Momables, 100 Days of Real Food, Weelicious and Laptoplunches.  But it’s not just the menu planning that can be a school lunch nightmare.  The packing and transporting of lunch is a big part of the battle.

Our Thirty-One insulated lunch bags are great for snacks and lunches that don’t require refrigeration, but, in my experience, don’t stay cool enough through the school day.  I have found PackIt brand lunch bags — with patented eco-gel liner — to be the best way to keep lunches cool throughout the day.  Each night you freeze the entire lunch bag, which folds down nicely, and the gel packs that line the top, bottom and sides of the bag are usually still cool at 3 p.m.

Packit lunch bags stay cool longer because the entire lining is made of freezable gel packs.

 

This year I plan to send warm meals to school like mac and cheese and spaghetti with meatballs using Thermos Foogo stainless steal jars.  I can’t believe we made it to second grade without having a way to keep lunches warm, especially since pastas are always high on our list of kid-friendly foods.

So whether the recipe needs to be kept warm or cool, it won’t be a problem this year for my family or yours because four mom’s guide readers will have the chance to win one of the following giveaways…

  • Packit lunch bag for boys
  • Packit lunch bag for girls
  • Thermos Foogo container for boys
  • Thermos Foogo container for girls
To enter to win, simply submit your your favorite lunchbox recipe.  I’ll start with one of Mallory’s faves..chicken satay, which is so simple to make.

We start with a bottle of Trader Joe’s Yellow Curry Sauce

…but you can use just about any marinade.

 

Simply throw several boneless, skinless chicken breasts into a baggie with the sauce and refrigerate overnight.  Grill or pan saute the chicken.  Skewer the chicken pieces after they are cooked using small wood skewers.  This makes them easy to eat at school without a fork.   Serve with a fruit or veggie, bread or crackers or whatever your student enjoys!

 

When commenting with your lunchbox ideas, include a link to the recipe or just tell us what you normally send to school. Oh, and if you have any cute lunch box note ideas like these, please share!

17 thoughts on “Lunch Lady

  1. Lana says:

    Homemade olive hummus is my sons favorite.

  2. Laurie G. says:

    According to my daughter, her favorite would be Nutella and banana sandwich with apple slices (dipped in a lemon bath) on the side. Nutella’s a bit sweet for my taste, yet I’m fine giving it to her as a special treat from time to time ;).

  3. Melissa B says:

    How funny! My daughter’s favorite lunch is VERY similar to Amanda G! She loves turkey slices, pepperoni, cheese stick, cottage cheese and a fruit! Throw in a thermos of milk and she’s good to go!

  4. Melissa Velzis says:

    My daughter loves pbj sandwiches with apples and pirates booty. My son loves it when I make his own lunchable which usually consists of chicken nuggets, grapes and a special treat!

  5. Allison Myers says:

    My daughter loves quesadillas (she calls them “toasty cheese”) and lots of fresh berries as side dishes. Yum!

  6. Diana D says:

    My daughter loves turkey, cheese, avocado wraps with tomatoes on the side and carrots with a small container of hummus for dipping.

  7. marina says:

    my son loves quesadilla with grapes, and something to drink

  8. Abbey Boullt says:

    My daughter loves to take her thermos container with Tortellini! I get the refrigerated, cheese filled tortellini, then for the sauce we like the Bertoli Vodka Sauce and I usually add some shredded chicken and/or mushrooms. Mmmm!

  9. alicja says:

    My 7 year old hates crusts so cutting up her sandwiches with cute cookie cutters helps even if the sandwich contains something other than pb&j. She likes radishes, apples or crunchy pickles for sides.

  10. Corie says:

    My daughter’s faforite is a PB&J with string cheese, crackers and sliced apples with a chocolate milk. I cut the sandwich into a heart shape and leave a note on her napkin. She is only 4, so the ‘note’ is usually I <3 U with her name.

  11. Melyssa Duggan says:

    My son is so boring, he wants only peanut butter and jelly or turkey and cheese sandwiches! I’m going to check out some of the links you suggest to see if I can change it up this year.

  12. Maja says:

    We often send carrot salad with the kids (carrot & a bit of lemon juice for freshness, carrot, raisins and a bit of lemon, carrot & apple & bit of lemon (apple and carrot shredded of course). It fits nicely into a small box. Also, sliced cucumber or small tomatoes (yellow is their favorite), or peppers, is a favorite snack. Whole grain tortillas/toast with butter also goes down well. Chicken drumsticks or fish sticks is another hit, here, and so easy to make..My daugther loves shrimp with garlic, but I’m having problems keeping shrimp cold enough, so that’s only during the winter.. My son likes meatballs and eggs in his lunch. Both of them love whole grain paste without anything..

  13. Laura says:

    We love romaine lettuce, chicken lunch meat, Parmesan cheese, croutons, and cesaear dressing! Can’t forget the snack pack, too!

  14. Andria says:

    We do Sunbutter sandwiches to keep students with allergies safe! We also love cheese and pepperoni too.

  15. Elisa says:

    My oldest loves veggies in a bento box! She has a cute Hello Kitty one & also a laptop lunchbox 🙂
    Some favorites are hummus and cucumbers/radishes. Celery and PB also a great one (can use sunbittern in school is peanut free).

  16. S Cast says:

    My son LOVES Peanut Butter & Honey Sandwiches. I use various sandwich cutters to send them in fun shapes like dolphins, hearts, etc.

  17. Amanda G. says:

    My daughters favorite lunch is soo simple. She loves pepperoni, mozzarella stick, crackers, and grapes! Soo easy but so hard to keep cold till lunch time at times!

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