If you have to pack lunches for your kids, you may do what we’ve done forever here. We use plastic baggies and they throw it all away — along with your money!
Rather than toss containers, why not invest a bit more upfront and find items that you can REUSE! We found some cute items you can use for storing lunch for kids! Sure, they cost more now, but just think about how much you will save (and what you will keep out of the landfill)!
Make sure you also grab our FREE School Lunch Ideas printable to come up with some fun ideas for your kids!
SIMPLIFY BY PLANNING LUNCHES ONCE A WEEK
Before the week starts, create a school lunch station and snack station. Pre-package your snacks and meal ideas so that they are ready to grab all week long!
We’ve found some fun ways you can do this:
HOW TO STORE YOUR KID’S LUNCH
HOT FOOD STORAGE
My kids like to take things like mac and cheese, chicken nuggets, hot dogs, soup and more. However, it hasn’t always stayed warm until lunchtime. One way to do this is to spend more on an insulated thermos. They are a bit pricey, but being able to send your child a hot lunch (that you know is good for them), is well worth it. There are not too many of these options out there, so this is the best we found right now:
Foogo Insulated Thermos. This item comes in various colors and are perfect for packing warm foods, that will stay warm. You can also visit Walmart to find this same item (and can opt for in-store pick-up).
Heated lunch box. These are pretty awesome because you can heat your meal before you leave in the morning and it will still be warm come lunchtime.
COLD FOOD STORAGE
If you send something that needs to stay cold, such as yogurt or cheese, then you will want to make sure to use some type of an ice pack.
Chilled Bento Box. Simplify things by using a Bento Box with built-in ice packs! We’ve used these for a while, and they are great! They keep everything perfectly chilled and ready for lunch!
Lunch Chillers. Toss these into your lunch sack and keep everything perfectly chilled! I use a few of these and rotate them in and out so I never have to worry that there isn’t one frozen and ready to go.
Rubbermaid Lunch Containers. While I’ve used the above, these are by far my favorite! The ice pack and containers snap together to keep everything chilled. Put it into your lunch bag, and you’ll have perfectly chilled cheese and other healthy lunch items.
If your kids take a sandwich to school, you may use plastic baggies. Those go into the trash every day. I know some bring those back home and they are reused the next day, but that may not happen all of the time.
You can use reusable baggies and even plastic cases to keep that sandwich from coming into contact with other food and ensure the bread does not dry out before lunch!
Reusable baggies. These can be the perfect solution for many. I like to find the ones that are made by other moms (as I help support them). They come in all sorts of fun colors and styles.
Plastic storage. Some kids may be a bit rough with their lunch sack, so they may need something a bit more sturdy to store a sandwich.
My kids like to take along ranch dressing, ketchup, and other sauces for lunch. These little containers make it easy to send this along with your kids to school!
Plastic containers with lids. These are BPA free and are perfect for the dips and sauces you need to include with your kids’ lunch. They can be used in the microwave and are dishwasher safe. Best of all, when they start to get “icky” you can toss them and grab another one.
Easy Lunchbox Mini Dippers. This is a smaller set (also BPA free). The only thing to note is that they are NOT microwave safe.
I know many parents love these boxes for sending lunch, as they have compartments to place each of their child’s foods. It is a simple way to avoid the need for smaller containers, as it is all in one.
EasyLunchBoxes Bento Box. Bento boxes are a great option to have each food in its own compartment.
Bentgo Stackable Boxes. These are so cute and offer 2 ways to store foods for kids – to keep items separate. What is even better is that it includes the silverware they will need!
BAGS & LABELS
Once you have the food in the containers, kids have to get them to school!
Mabel’s Labels. Kids lose things. A lot. We’ve used Mabel’s Labels for years – and that helps our items get returned to us! No more lost and found for us! We label thermoses, lunch bags, packpacks — anything that our kids take to school gets a label!!
Lunch Bag. Sadly, not all lunch bags are created equal. We’ve purchased inexpensive bags from big-box stores and they rarely make it a year. Once we invested in quality bags from Lands’ End, we’ve had no issues at all! They hold up to everything our kids put them through.
A small investment early in the school year can save you money in the long run by not paying for foil, baggies and paper sacks! Not only that, you are doing your part to help the environment too!! Win-win!!