Today, we are talking all about packing school lunches. With kindergarten less than a month away, I am trying to get my unorganized & chaotic mind prepared for what lies ahead. School supplies are bought, we are reading "prepping for kindergarten" stories, & now it's time for me to get my mind wrapped around the idea of packing a lunch everyday. This is something brand-new for us since my oldest has only ever attended half-day preschool with occasional "special" lunches at school! So today, I'm sharing a free printable to help make it easier to pack school lunches as well as some tools that will add a little "fun" to the everyday school lunch.
To help get myself organized, I decided to create this fun printable below that you can print out & place on refrigerator. To create a well-balanced meal, you (or your child) can pack one item from each category: grain, protein, veggies, fruit, dairy, & fun item. This is an easy way to bring variety to the lunches, keep cupboards and the refrigerator stocked, as well as pack a lunch easily and efficiently.
To Print: Right click on the image below open in a new window. You can either save it or print it from there. Make sure you scale it to the size you would like when printing!
I have also included a list of some handy tools to help create a fun & organized school lunch for your child. Read below for more information:
Handy Tools to Make a Packed Lunch
1. My first favorite choice is the Pottery Barn Kids lunchbox. There are lots of fun patterns for your kid to choose from with the option to personalize as well. Easy for a kid to spot their unique lunchbox out of a stack!
2. My second favorite choice is the PlanetBox. This is a great and easy way to create a Bento style, mix and match, lunch. It has built-in stainless steel compartments to store different foods making it easy to pack a well-balanced meal. We just started using our Planetbox this summer & it has been great to pack and go.
1. Easy Lunchboxes Bento Lunchbox Containers. These 3-compartment Bento boxes allow you to pack separate foods in the lunchbox. They are easy for kids to remove the lids (but not leak-proof) and BPA-free. This is an easy way to make a "bento" style lunch with a regular lunchbox. Set of 4, $13.95.
2. Easy Lunchboxes Mini-Dippers Containers. These are smaller storage compartments that are perfect for storing dips, sauces, dressing, and small portions of food. These are also BPA-free and leak-resistant. Set of 8, $7.95.
3. U-Konserve Reusable Snack Bags. Perfect for holding a sandwich, crackers, cereal, and more. Folds flat & easy to clean. A great waste-free alternative to Ziploc bags as you can use and use again. Retails for $3.95, Current special price at $3.35.
4. U-Konserve Round Containers. Another great storage item to have on hand. They are BPA-free and leak-proof making it perfect to pack fruit, pasta salad, crackers, and more. Another great waste-free alternative that you can use over and over again. Retails for $7.95, Current special price at $6.75.
5. Silicone Baking Cups. I just heard about using these recently and what an easy item to have on hand to hold crackers, cheese, fruit, & more. Easy to wash and reuse. (Also great to use for snacks for little siblings at home to hold Cheerios, cheese cubes, and more & to use to make muffins and cupcakes!)
5. Thermos Funtainer Food Jar. Great to have on hand for hot items, such as soup, mac & cheese, leftovers, spaghetti, chicken strips, and so much more. You can get in plain colors or fun character finds.
6. Thermos Funtainer Water Bottle. These are my absolute favorite "cups" to have on hand for on the go. They keep drinks cold for a long amount of time. We have several of these in the cupboard ready to use at anytime.
1. CuteZCute Bento Lunch Cutter: What a neat way to bring FUN to lunches. The set has face plates that can be swapped in and out to create a tiger, bear, koala, & hamster from your food. Mix and match to create over 40 combinations to use to cut sandwiches, cookies, & more. You can find the lunch cutter on Amazon for a great price!
2. Mini Cookie Cutters. These stainless steel cutters are great to have on hand to cut fruit & cheese.
3. Other fun sandwich cutters. There are several fun & inexpensive sandwich cutters that you can buy that will add a little pizazz to your kids' lunch & they can even cut themselves to help with prep. Here are some fun ones that I have found: Silly Sandwich Cutter Kit, Evriholder, Set of 3 fun shapes, and the 4 pack of Lunch Punch shapes.