When I decided to go whole foods, one of the first things on my mind was how it would affect my girls. How can I achieve a yummy, healthy meal while not making them feel too left out with their school friends? After doing some research, I found a selection of tools to make lunch away from home easier.
Tools to Make Lunch Away From Home Easier:
1. Egg Mold
This was one of the most important pieces that I bought for their lunches. I was very proud of the fact that we could now eat fresh eggs.
Sadly, our oldest daughter got made fun of for eating boiled eggs at lunch. The other students said it “made her breath smell bad”.
After we bought this the kids at her table did not even realize what she was eating and never commented again on that bad breath.
Another really fun thing to note with these egg molds is that you can choose different ones to get. We have the car mold and flower molds.
2. Small Shape Cutters
The fun thing about these cutters is they can be used for many different things. I purchased them with the plan to make homemade gummies.
That is their primary use in our house but I occasionally use it to cut out fruit and have even used them to cut out small pancakes before. These miniature cookie cutters are just so much fun!
3. Sunsella Mighty Pops
I'll be honest, I have never used these to hold popsicles. I might make an effort to do that this summer but my original intention for these beauties was to hold homemade yogurt complete with our choice of flavors.
I am happy to report that we have also used these with applesauce as well. If you have other fruits you like mashed down, this would be a great container to take them in. Another interesting idea is to use it to store trail mix or other smaller finger foods.
Also, if you decide to make popsicles, let me know how they turn out!
4. Drink in the Box
I started using Drink in the Box back when it was called Juice in the Box. Our Drink in the Boxes lasted us two and a half years. I love these because I can make juice how I want and don't have to worry about the girls getting too much sugar.
After year one I chose to buy the replacement for the extra pieces, such as the seals and the straws. This way we had multiple so if one was being cleaned, the other pieces could be used.
I do want to note that these are best for older kids and adults. Giving them to a toddler who might throw them down means they will break.
That being said, the Drink in the Boxes are worth the price!
5. Sandwich Cutters
Sandwiches get boring day in and day out. Cookie cutters are one way to get creative but allowing the person to “play with their food” makes it that much more enjoyable.
There are multiple shapes with this set which makes them even more fun!
6. Edible Markers
These markers with edible food coloring are a big hit in the house.
You can write on bread or just about anything else you can think of. I have written “I love you” and “Good luck today” several times. The girls get so excited when they see their special notes from me.
Or I will combine them with the cutouts for the sandwiches and decorate my butterfly or add decor to the puzzle pieces.
7. Parchment Paper
This one seems silly at first but I use them to make homemade fruit roll-ups.
Homemade fruit roll-ups can be made by using a cookie sheet and placing the puree in the oven on the absolute lowest setting or using your dehydrator. Either way, you are going to want to have parchment paper laid down before you place the puree on the sheet.
When the puree is finished, just cut it into strips and roll it up with the parchment paper still on. Seal with a small piece of tape.
8. Bentgo Lunchboxes
The great thing about this lunch box, in my opinion, is the compartment that allows you to add dressing. It also can be put in the freezer so that way the food stays cold until lunch time without getting soggy.
The only downfall to this container is that I still send it in a lunch box because there is nowhere to hold the drink.
9. The All-In-One Lunch Box
These lunch boxes roll around at the beginning of the school year and sell out fast. The main reason is that they match.
When I say they match- I am not playing around. You can purchase the lunchbox, complete with carrying container inside, that matches the thermos, and snaps onto you or your child's matching backpack!
To be honest, they are a bit pricey by most people's standards; however, they last a long time and the quality is hard to beat. I highly recommend this product.
They have matching boy ones as well.
Even better? You can get it monogrammed. This is why I love Pottery Barn Kids.
10. Post It Notes
Again, seems like a silly one to have on the list and if you all are like me, you probably have some lying around. Score! You don't have to pay for this one (at least, not right now).
This one is for other notes to add to a lunch. A great idea is to add a joke, with the question on the front and the answer on the back! Or you could play hide-and-seek with the notes.
There will be times when bringing lunch from home means you will need cutlery. Having a spork is a great way to go. These sporks are plastic and durable.
Send the spork with the cover case to protect the spork amongst the hustle and bustle of moving a lunch box around all day.
12. Reusable Napkins
These napkins from GingerPie are so fun! The funky colors mean kids can clean up and leave them in their containers to be taken out and cleaned when they get home.
She also monograms for a little extra money.
You can choose to purchase them or make them yourself. Use soft cotton fabric that easily wipes up spills and won't stain easily. Use a serger to make sure it seals tightly. Naturally, if you have an embroidery machine, add some monogram and you're good to go!
13. Food Picks
The food picks are so cute and fun. Put them on different foods to add a little pizzaz to the meal and have everyone around the lunch table saying “awwww”.
14. Condiment Containers
This was something I got very excited about when we found these at Old Navy in the checkout line. The girls, at the time, were bringing homemade hot dogs or corn dogs on a regular basis. What a bummer to have yummy, kid-friendly food and not be able to have condiments to dip them in.
I also make them homemade chips with dip sometimes or ranch dressing to go with celery or carrots.
To be honest? These were one of the best purchases we have made. Sometimes during dinner, I don't want a sauce on my plate so I put them in the container cups and feel better.
15. BNTO Canning Jar Lunch
This one is definitely for adults or teenagers. Around our homestead, we use canning jars to store a lot of different things. Finding one more good use for these babies is very exciting.
Are you a granola and yogurt fan? Now they don't have to get soggy. Want a salad but your dressing separate? Done. The BNTO Canning Jar solves the problem!
17. Fun Bites Squares
Just like with our tiny cookie cutters, these FunBites food cutter set is great to use with sandwiches and also make gummies fun as well. We use this for gummies when we decide to add a little sour kick to the outside of it.
I also use it around the house when I am making crackers.
18. The Little Green Pouch
This reusable food pouch is good for items similar to what I mentioned with the popsicle molds; however, these are easier for toddlers to use and can also hold warmer (albeit, not hot) foods such as soups.
As you can see, adding food to the pouch is super simple and washing it is not that bad either. It is dishwasher safe on the top rack and hand washing is not too shabby either, so long as you get to it early on.
The goal of sharing this information is to help make your life easier and, hopefully, more fun.
I use many of these products all together in one lunch for myself, my husband, or our girls.
I spend about five minutes a night preparing them and enjoy the satisfaction of knowing when they open their lunchboxes for that meal they can feel my love for them.
I hope you do the same- for your family and yourself!