Whether you are ready or not, the new school year is upon us, and with that approximately 197 lunch boxes to pack! Yep you read right, the average school year had 197 days in it. I don’t know about you, but I always start off the year strong, with a nice variety of options and creativity and then it dwindles with fatigue and exhaustion as the year progresses. Two heads are better then one, so “Mommalikeme” and I decided to get together and write about our top lunch box ideas, some of our store bought favourites and a few hacks to make your life easier throughout the year. Be sure to check our her blog post here.
My kids tend to “snack” more, and between all the playing at break time, bento style boxes work better for us, so most of my boxes are smaller portions with more options.
Daily Lunchbox Inspiration
- Pesto Pasta – I list this every year but it really is a winner with us. If your child prefers warm pasta you can buy those nifty flask type containers that keep your food warm as well.
- Yoghurt Pot
- Biltong Strips
- “Deconstructed Pita” – Basically Pita Bread with some Meatballs, Hummus and Cucumbers served separately.
- Grapes and Berries
- Nut Muffin
- Cheese Quesadilla (I toast two tortillas in a pan with melted cheese in the middle and cut into 4.
- Served with Avo (I have one that likes Avo and another that cant stand it, so I may omit the Avo as well)
- Yoghurt Choobie (Yoghurt tubes from woolies)
- Trail Mix – My kids love the one with little yoghurt drops in from woolies
- Chicken and Cheese Roll up Wrap
- Mozzarella String Cheese
- Banana Muffin – you can view my recipe for banana muffins here.
- Carrots/Sugar snap peas
- Egg Muffin Cup
- Cheese and baby tomato skewers
- Granola Bar
- Chocolate Covered Raisins as a treat
We’ve designed an easily printable “cheatsheet” list for you. Allowing you to quickly pick out options from each of the suggested food groups to create a healthy lunch box. Grab one thing from each category and you are good to go!
Store Bought Favourites
Now lets look at some of my store bought favourites. These are lunchbox fillers that I buy to make my life easier. Some friendly on the pocket, and some are definitely more of a splurge so it just depends on how we are for the month 🙂
In no particular order:
- Oven baked munchies (salt crackers)
- Playful Penguins (South Africa’s answer to goldfish)
- Granola and Nut Bars
- Biltong/ Dry Wors
- Yoghurt covered rice cakes
- Cheese flavoured rice crackers
- Fruit Bites
- Kiddylicious Cheese Straws
- Kiddylicious Coconut Rolls
- Kiddylicious Fruity Bakes
- Happy Kid Banana and Chocolate Bars
- Trail Mixes
- Nature Valley Granola Bars
- Chocolate covered raisins
- Laughing Cow cheese cubes
- Mozzarella Cheese String
- Yogi Choobes
- “Oh My Goodness” Moon Melts
Lastly here are some of my personal lunchbox “hacks”. Things that I do to make my mornings run as smoothly and as quickly as possible (and this is still a huge work in progress).
- Get your kids to “pack” their own lunches; “make a snack station”. Okay okay, my kids are a little young still, but this was a responsibility that I had from the age of about 12. So what I do is have a “snack shelf” in the pantry, where the kids can pull out their “store bought favs” from. Easily accessible they can choose what they would like to pack. If you are a little more organised then me, you could sort these into categories like proteins, fruits etc.
- Prepare what you can before hand– Pack all fruit, yoghurts etc the night before ready to go and on a Sunday night I normally prep what I can for the week ahead. For example; I will cook a whole bunch of drumsticks and sausages, ready to pop into lunchboxes when needed.
- Use Drinks as Ice packs – Freeze your water bottles and it will double up as an Ice Block in your cooler bag.
- Compartmentalise – if you don’t have a bento style lunchbox, use silicon muffin cases to hold and separate your foods.
- Use Skewers for small meats or cheese – Presenting things in a smaller, prettier way makes it more appealing for the kids to eat. I got some super cute skewers from Lily and Lace.
- Use Cookie or Sandwich Cutters (But don’t waste) – My pet peeve about using cookie cutters to shape bread is the amount of bread it wastes. Cloud and Co stock some awesome shapers that almost fit to size, ensuring that you don’t waste alot of the bread. I have my eye on the rocket ship!
- Make Use of a thermal flasks – again, Cloud and Co sell some super cute Thermal flasks which will increase what you are able to pack as lunch options.
- Send a little love note – Make use of pre-printed stickers like the ones from Tower Labels.
There you have it! I hope you have found these helpful and you use them in your daily planning. Don’t forget to head over to Mommalikeme for some more lunchbox inspiration!