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Thinking Outside the (Lunch)Box: Tips for Making Less Processed and More Delicious School Lunches

The start of school is synonymous with several things: fresh school supplies, full back packs, and lovingly packed school lunchboxes. What no one mentions about these those lovingly packed sack lunches is just how difficult packing school lunches can become day after day. Finding something easy to pack, nutritious, and that will actually be eaten by discerning little eaters leaves no wonder as to why we are tempted to turn to a PBJ and a bag of chips. Take heart because three simple strategies will take the stress out of packing school lunches.

Start with the Essentials. While brown bags are inexpensive for the short term, investing in a good lunch box will pay off in the long run and make it easier to pack lunches. Several companies make lunch boxes that are made entirely of insulated ice pack material, allowing you easily to pack foods that need to stay chilled.

Another lunchbox essential that will help you out in packing lunchboxes is compartmentalized containers. You can get a simple Tupperware type container or a stainless steel bento box to avoid chemicals in plastic.

Ditch the sandwich.  Mix up the traditional school lunch by getting creative with what you put in your child’s lunch box. Try raw vegetables slices, fruit and nut butter, boiled eggs, nuts, wraps, or even leftovers from the night before. Putting a frozen smoothie in a leak-proof thermos will leave it at just the right consistency by the time lunch rolls around.

Don’t Reinvent the Wheel. Plenty of people share free lists of school lunch menu ideas on the web. Rather than racking your brain to come up with ideas, print a couple out and sit down with your children to go over some options that sound good to them. Work your way through trying a few new options. Keep a list of the lunches that were hits and you’ll have your own quick and easy go-to list!

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