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How To Pack The Perfect Lunchbox

Think of the joy and excitement a perfectly packed lunch box can bring a little one when lunch time rolls around. It’s both fun and functional—filled with nutritious goodies they’ll love all packaged up in a bag they’ll be excited to carry and eager to unpack. (A treasure chest of food? We’d be excited too!) Here are three easy steps to picking and packing the ultimate lunchtime winner.

Kids Robot Lunchbox (img credit: Walmart)

Step 1: Pick Your Pack

Zebra Lunchbox (img credit: Walmart)

Choosing the right lunch box is essential in getting your kids to take care of it and use it consistently (and remember to bring it home). Plus, it adds even more excitement to lunchtime. Design, size, and usability are all factors that must be considered, and each of them can change based on your child’s age.

Lunch Boxes For Toddlers: An insulated bag with a fun print or design is the perfect accessory for a day at the park or for sending with your little one to daycare or preschool. The insulation will help keep food cold when ice packs are used and protect breakable or crushable snacks during the commute or day.

Lunch Boxes For Kids:Bento boxes, a popular lunch box trend for kids (as well as adults!), allow you to pack a variety of mealtime mains and sides—each with their own designated compartment. These bento boxes can be sent on their own, or nestled in a bag featuring your child’s favorite characters or colors. If you don’t go the bento route, other storage containers can be used in these fun, insulated and often easy-to-clean bags. The overall goal for an efficient kid’s lunch box is to have it function well enough to keep your child’s food packed together and at the right temperature for food storage, as well as feature a design that will set it apart as their own. This will make finding theirs easier when noon rolls around and will have them eager to show it off to their friends.

Lunch Boxes For Teens: A teen’s lunchbox should be stylish and functional and match their own design or fashion preferences. If floral is their spring obsession, a beautiful flower print lunch box might just be the perfect accessory to their outfit of the day. If a simple, easy-to-use box sounds like a better fit for your teen, a solid color and a size that’s easy to throw into a backpack or gym bag can help make bringing their own lunch second nature instead of an annoying hassle.

Step 2: Optimize Your Packing Efficiency with Containers

Lunch Box with Containers (img credit: Tastemade)

Sandwich bags work great for dry snacks or sandwiches (bonus points if the bags are reusable!) but some menu options require a little more insulation to keep contents held together and leaks at bay. Whether it’s spaghetti or fruit salad with their yummy sauces and juices or california sushi rolls for kids that have to be packed snug so they don’t fall apart, containers can up your lunch game by expanding your menu possibilities. If microwaving is going to be part of their lunch routine, make sure the containers are microwave safe.

Containers are also the perfect way to efficiently organize a lunch box. Some container sets are specifically designed to fit together snugly in the confined space, like the packing cubes for suitcases that travelers know and love. To ensure the best fit possible, look for a lunch box that comes with a containers. Since these are specifically made for its dimensions, fitting everything in will be a breeze.

Step 3: Get Creative With The Contents

Bowl of Fruit

With the right storage bags and containers, you have more freedom to have fun with your kids’ lunch boxes. They’ll love the adventure of unpacking something new, and it’ll help keep the routine from getting boring for you. Try one of these fun tips and tricks for keeping sack lunches exciting.

Try Out-of-the-Box Recipes: Fun recipes that aren’t your average pb&j can make things more spontaneous and exciting. Plus, they can help broaden your child’s taste preferences. For toddlers, try fun ideas like the Italian classic, baked arancini (toddler-friendly and mini-sized, of course!) or a yummy pear and avocado sandwich. For kids, try using your leftovers from the night before and transform them into a delicious lunch—like cooking delicious tortellini for dinner and using the leftover to create the perfect fall soup. Not only does this allow you to reduce your household food waste, it also can be a learning process for your kids.

Let Your Kids Help Plan: Getting your little ones involved in the planning process can make it fun as well as allow you to get an idea of items they want to eat. Incorporate in-season produce and use supplies like a stainless steel thermos that can keep foods hot for longer periods of time to keep things fun and new. Try planning out meals for a week or two in advance, even as far as a month, so you can stress less later.

Be Spontaneous But Consistent: Changing up the contents is essential to keeping kids interested (unless your kiddo is a die-hard hummus and veggie fan), but making sure you cover all the basic food categories will make sure your child is getting the nutrition they need. Including a main, fruits and veggies, a snack, and a drink is a good starting point. This consistency can also help make sure they are eating the less-exciting but nutritious components.

Give Teens The Tools to Succeed: Little ones need you to pack lunches for them, but teens can pack their own lunches based on foods they want to eat. Instead of packing it for them, give them supplies that are so great, even adults would use them.