Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Lunch Boxes, Trays and Snack Ideas

*this post is also on my Real Foods Mom blog

I don't know about you, but I have a few kids that don't want their food mixed together or touching other foods in any way. So when I found these 3 partitioned lunch trays at Walmart for $1(in the kitchen/utensils area), I picked up 5, one for each of our children. Here is Jane eating some home-made mac and cheese, grapes and carrots. I especially appreciate these trays when we have mexican foods(which we have a couple times a week) with things like salsa and sour cream on the side...those run and get messy if they're not in their own little space, so these are perfect. Also, pasta with a bread stick and some veggies...yeah they definitely don't like when those mix.

 Another thing I LOVE are our Goodbyn lunch boxes. My cousin Rachel had these on her blog about a year ago and so I picked up a couple then. I bought two different sizes, a large and a small. The large has 6 different compartments. The smaller one has three. The smaller one is just the right size for my kids who take school lunches. The big one I mostly use when we go on a family picnic or take lunch to the park for playgroup because it's really big. But it doesn't look like they carry the large size anymore.

When I bought these lunch boxes, they came with a drink bottle. Now they're sold separately but the price of the lunch box has also gone down significantly, about $10(was $20 when I bought it and now it's $9.) You can buy the drink bottle for $5 but I rarely use mine because my kids always take a different water bottle with them anyway since the lids are a little hard to open on these. The nice thing about the bottles is that you can freeze water inside and use it as an ice pack for a cold lunch because it fits perfectly in one of the compartments. So it would have been nice if they'd had this 'sold separate' option back when I bought mine, because I would have just bought one bottle that we could share for when someone needs an icepack in their lunch(like for  hard boiled eggs).

Here's a sampling of some things we put in lunches. This is what we brought for lunch last week at playgroup: pasta salad and a home-made crescent roll for me, half a pb and honey sandwich for Jane, 2 hard boiled eggs for Annabelle and grapes and a home-made trailmix (raisins and peanuts) for everyone to share.
 The edges of each compartment come all the way up to the top so you don't have things leaking into another area. Elisabeth, our third grader, always brings some plain yogurt with a little honey in one of her compartments and throws a spoon in there. The smaller lunch box won't fit an adult sized spoon, so if they need a utensil I usually throw one of the toddler sized spoons or forks inside, or you could just throw one in their back pack and remind them to take it to lunch.

 We took this for lunch at the park another week: 2 pb and honey sandwiches(stacked on top of each other), pistachios, rice crackers, carrots, strawberries and hummus.

I bought mine online here. You can also purchase it on Like I mentioned above, I bought mine for $20(small) and $25(large) last year, but now they just sell the smaller ones and they're only $8.99! Since the price is so good, I'm going to buy a couple more of these small lunch boxes for my other kids. Think of all the money you'll save from not buying and using so many sandwich bags and/or juice boxes! And of course they're dishwasher safe, BPA free, recyclable and all that good stuff!

And just for fun, here are a few real food ideas for snacks, many of which you could put in your kids lunch boxes. These are all things we snack on pretty regularly at our house:

  1. string cheese or sliced cheese
  2. cooked black beans (annabelle is a HUGE fan of cooked, whole beans)
  3. cooked Great Northern Beans
  4. banana and natural peanut butter
  5. apples and natural peanut butter
  6. apple
  7. peach
  8. strawberries
  9. blueberries
  10. celery, peanut butter and raisins (ants on a log)
  11. air popped popcorn
  12. whole wheat zucchini bread
  13. whole wheat toast with natural peanut butter
  14. hard boiled egg
  15. carrots and hummus
  16. plain yogurt with fruit and honey
  17. salsa and tortilla chips
  18. rice crackers and hummus
  19. guacamole and rice crackers or tortilla chips
  20. almonds
  21. banana
  22. raisins
  23. cashews
  24. peanuts
  25. pistachios
  26. lara bar 
  27. grapes
  28. frozen grapes (neighbor kids always ask me for these in the summer when they're out playing)
  29. dried apple chips

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