My last blog post was about a week of school lunches for my 7 year old daughter that I'm packing on the Yumbox lunchbox. We just got it for this school year and she has been loving it - the fact that it has different compartments and colors helps her to find lunch even more exiting than before!
I'm also thinking about getting a second tray to use when sending sandwiches because they will fit better in a 4 compartment tray which has a bigger section for the sandwich. Until then we have been using sandwich cutters to make them fit in the current tray and we have also been experimenting and using different colored veggies, fruits and protein sources to make lunch fun and exciting.
This is the one that we have now and it's really easy to use and to get the kids involved in choosing what to get in their lunch and to build the lunch for themselves, which is another advantage. The tray is removable and easily washable and I haven't had any issue with it, so far so good. I really recommend it, specially if you have picky little ones because I think the drawings and the colors will help them get more curious about food and lunch time.
For my 10 year old I finally decided to go for a Rover Planetbox lunchbox. I had been hearing about it for a long time but the price tag was a bit high for me and I've always turned the idea away. I got to read a lot of reviews about it and the more I read the more I thought it would be a safe bet even with a higher price tag than other lunchboxes - it's made of stainless steel and it will last you for a lot of years instead of having to change lunchbox every other year or so and, another great plus for me, it won't get stained and it's super easy to wash.
Also the lunchbox comes with a set of magnets to place on the front of the lunchbox. My son asked for the blue ones but, a few years down the road, when it gets passed on to my daughter she'll be able to pick her own set of magnets and make this lunchbox her own, which is great.
The compartments make it also very easy to plan the meals in. Just choose your protein, veggies, fruits and snacks and place them in the different compartments. There's also a small round container with a green silicone lid (great for dips and sauces) and a medium one (great for sending some pasta salad or a snack for snack time).
Having a great, durable and resistant lunchbox is one of the main aspects to being able to make your own lunchbox prepping routine. I chose these ones and I'm super happy with them, I highly recommend them to anyone looking for a durable and reliable option. The Rover lunchbox is available on Amazon and you can get it in a kit that includes the magnets and the lunch bag to carry the lunchbox - you really need it to make sure that your children can carry that lunchbox safely and with the correct amount of space in it!
Besides choosing the right lunchbox for every children you can also make your daily chore of prepping lunch a bit easier by setting up a lunchbox station in your kitchen. I did it by re-purposing a little carrier that I got at Target about a year ago and using it to hold all my lunch prep essentials.
I use it to keep the stainless steel reusable water bottles, sandwich cutters, little plastic forks for the smaller items in the lunchboxes, cloth napkins and stainless steel picnic knifes, spoons and forks, my recyclable sandwich bags (I've been using the LunchSkins* ones for about a year now and we love them), reusable snacks bags, YoToGo insulated little pouches** (to keep yogurts cool with an ice pack on top) and the lunch bags.
Having everything in one place keeps things simpler and easier for me when prepping lunches everyday.
This is my lunchbox station and it has really helped me to get meals ready way quicker and with so much less stress than before! Get everything together in one place and you'll see what a huge difference it makes. Just find a way to get all those things organized in a way that will make your routine easier and stress-free.
For now I think those are the main things that you should focus on for your lunchbox lunches routine:
I'll now show you a week of Rover Planetbox lunchbox lunches so you can get some more ideas on healthy solutions easy to carry in the kids' lunchbox to school and maybe make them their own by adding or switching some of the ingredients by some of your family's favorites. These lunches were made for my 10 year old son who is currently in middle school - according to his own words "the amount of food was just the right one for the time they have to eat" so I guess we'll just keep it at that.
He also has a snack in the morning which is usually a piece of fruit, pretzels, yogurt or an apple sauce.
I usually prep my ingredients, like fruit and veggies, on Sunday but I like to cook or prepare my animal protein sources as I go. Except for eggs, that I usually boil and store in glass jars in the fridge, all the meat and/or fish gets prepared the day before I need it - I like it for food to keep its best flavor and texture and I might be able to do that if I properly prepare my meals ahead by planning and organizing my shopping trips correctly.
On the first day of the week we started off with this nourishing lunchbox:
As I've mentioned before I think I've found THE perfect almond butter! I'm so in love with it that I keep telling my friends to buy it too...seriously, you need to try it for yourself to understand that the texture, the flavor and the creaminess of this natural almond butter is something that you won't find anywhere else!
Find it here and let me know what you think of it after you give it a try!
Also in the Monday lunchbox I got my son a package of Seasnax roasted seaweed that he loves taking to school, either for snack or for lunch. It's super crunchy and it has an amazing natural flavor that we've learned to incorporate in our daily diet. The whole family loves it!
The lime flavor is my favorite and I can't wait to get some packs on my next shopping trip because I'm out of them and I love having them as a daily snack!
Check here the flavors and packages available:
For the second day of the week we decided on a sandwich to make things simple just by adding some fresh fruit and veggies to the mix! I like to use whole grain breads like Dave's Killer Bread which was the one I used today - I also don't cut the crust, never have never will!
It's the best part of the bread and it just seems silly to waste all that food. IF and when I use sandwich cutters to make things prettier I always have the kids eat the crusts and, if it's a gluten free bread I eat them myself.
The details on this colorful lunch are as follows:
The peanut butter, once again, is from one of my favorite brands and I'll leave you with the link to the Amazon page where you can order it and go through the other amazing products that the brand offers.
By midweek I usually try to be almost at half way of my prepped ingredients to make sure that nothing gets spoiled. Wasting food is the worst thing ever and we try to avoid it at all costs by planning ahead our meals but also by checking in everyday on what has been consumed and what we still have left.
Even though we may have a plan, life happens and, sometimes, meals get switched by a school event, family function or something totally unexpected so we must always try to check our fridge and use what we have.
My 10 year old loves sushi and, now, Miss B is also in love with it!
On Wednesday I decided to surprise them with some sushi lunch, for school - I didn't make it myself but I'll be trying it soon enough to make it easier to send this lunch favorite every once in a while.
On this simple lunchbox we have:
The idea of having the kids eat a sandwich everyday is just not appealing to me...I was trying to figure out ways to switch things a little bit and I remembered to try and make kind of an egg roll to wrap some turkey ham in it using it as a regular wrap!
Recipe tried and approved!
It's super simple and easy to make and you can prepare it the night before, keep it in the fridge and then cut the slices out and place in the lunchboxes in the morning. Let me just tell you how I did it:
The pan I use is the one that I'm posting the link just below. It is non-stick and I've been using a lot lately, to saute veggies, cook some chicken, shrimp and even to grill some fruit over the stove top.
Grilled peaches are a must while they are pretty sweet and juicy!
So, for these yummy lunchbox I used:
You may have noticed that we are trying to be as eco-friendly as possible by using reusable utensils and ditching all plastic and disposable items. I use cloth napkins, both at home, and in the lunchboxes and I got a kit of camping stainless steel utensils that are just the perfect size for the kids. With a fork, a knife and a spoon and with a washable carry case it's the perfect solution if you want to try this clean and green way to live too! There are several different colors to choose from so give it a try and let me know what you think!
The last day of the week is here and it's time for a little treat! I always like to send the kids to school on Friday with something sweet but still healthy and nutritious.
I just started trying these amazing little snacks made from nuts and dried fruits and they taste amazing and are great for packing in lunchboxes - they hold their shape and they pack a ton of good ingredients in a cute little ball that it's easily added to any kind of lunch. There are several flavors but we decided to try the "peanut butter" variety first and it was a success - they are chewy, crunchy and so delicious that I can not wait to try the other flavors too.
On Amazon you can buy the 8 pack kits or a variety pack so you can try out all the flavors and pick your favorites to become your new pantry staples - there's a flavor for everyone in your house, for sure!
Details on this Friday lunchbox:
I usually make my own salad dressings but I like to have some good quality store bought ones at hand for those days when I really need something quick to put in the lunchboxes and just head out the door as quickly as possible! For those moments I choose the Primal Kitchen salad dressings and I've tried several of them including some Whole30 compliant and also the honey mustard which I really love - I usually just use 1 Tbsp per person which keeps the caloric count a bit down and I think that's perfectly reasonable for a single portion salad. The kids like ranch dressing once in a while so we decided to try it out and it was good, they liked it!
If you choose to buy the variety kits they come a bit cheaper than buying each dressing on its own and you can choose to either buy a whole30 compliant variety pack or other packs that contain some dressings that you can always use off round or in your everyday diet once you get to food freedom stage.
These were suggestions of school lunches based on what I pack for my own children. I'll try to continue to build up weekly lunchbox meal plans and I'm think about having the option to receive the ingredient list to every week of lunches, would that be useful to you?
Please, let me know in the comment section what would you like to see on the blog, school lunch related or not. Would you benefit from a week of work lunchboxes for yourself? After all, most of us take our own lunch and sacks to work nowadays and making the right choices is not always easy. However, if you take some time over the weekend to plan and prep, it's just as easy as to do it for the kids!
Most of the days I send my husband a packed lunch to work so I think that would be a great idea to share some of the meals that are easy and practical to pack for a work lunch.
This week the kids are off from school today and tomorrow so my meal prep will be done tomorrow, Tuesday, which will keep things a bit easier and light for me. Take some time to go over the lunchbox lunches I just showed you and try to plan for, at least, 3 days and then just see how you go from there.
Feel free t also check the ideas from my 7 year old lunchbox that I've posted previously here.
Once you start doing it you'll see the benefits and time saving advantage and you'll keep doing it every week, you'll see!