Back to School-Lunch Box Survival Tips - MarlaMeridith.com

Back to School-Lunch Box Survival Tips

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Lunchbox Survival Tips on MarlaMeridith.com #projectlunchbox

In the next few weeks there is a whirl wind of activity for parents and kids. Even if you do not have children you might be sucked into the vortex of Back to School. Everywhere you go might seem a little more busy and frantic as parents and kids scramble for school suppliesand the perfect Lunch Box.

Lunchbox Survival Tips on MarlaMeridith.com #projectlunchbox

I am a huge advocate of packing homemade, healthy & delicious foods for “to-go” meals. I support Jaimie Oliver’s initiative to get our kids eating healthy whole foods in and out of the home. Packing a lunch box is the best practice for adults too if we spend our days out of the house.

As I always say: Fit Food not Fast Food. If you feel the same way you might want to learn more about Jaime Oliver’s Food Revolution & sign the petition to help make a change.

Lunchbox Survival Tips on MarlaMeridith.com #projectlunchbox

My daughter is finally eligible for the Hot Lunch Program at school. My intention all along has been to send her with home cooked meals. I took a gander at the online ordering station only to be left in a state of shock. The meal choices were not organic, they were filled with sugar & salt. Many of the items are sourced from fast food establishments. That “food” is not going in my body nor is it going in my kids.

Lunchbox Survival Tips on MarlaMeridith.com #projectlunchbox

Not only should we have tasty meals made in our home kitchen, we need the perfect portable container. I am a HUGE fan of the Easy Lunchbox system. It is a creation by my great friend Kelly & the best lunchbox I have found so far.

I like it so much that I decided to become an affiliate to help all of us make the right choices. (You might recognize the badge above from my sidebar.) Consider me your personal shopper. As a food blogger and foodie I get to try lots of stuff. I pass my favorites on to you! What makes this my favorite? A few things:

  • These lunchboxes are inexpensive & very high quality.
  • They are free of yucky BPA’s, PVC’s etc.
  • Each container set comes with 4 dishwasher/microwave safe containers.
  • The containers have 4 compartments to keep foods from blending together.
  • The lunchcooler bag has extra room for other goodies & your drink.
  • The system encourages simple, quick & easy meal assembly for folks on the go!

I am giving away one Easy LunchBox System to one lucky reader. The winner will get one set of Containers and a Lunch Bag Cooler (you can choose your color.) See below for details.

For those of you that want to place an order asap you can do so right here.

Colorful back to school lunchbox

Lunch Box Checklist

There is nothing more annoying for parents than opening their kids lunch box at the end of the day to find small bites taken and the majority of the food left over. I share some of our favorite lunch box recipes in this post. I am constantly coming up with new ideas and would love your input, questions and suggestions.

Here are some essential lunch box practices that work for us:

  1. Be prepared: The better prepared you are in a pinch the smoother & quicker your lunchbox creations can be made.
  2. Prep & chop food ahead of time: Never right before you head out the door. Have containers of cleaned fresh veggies and fruits at the ready.
  3. Leftovers Rule! Dinner from the night before is always a great lunch box meal.
  4. Buy for the week: When you shop make sure you have enough for the week so you don’t have to get back to the store every minute.
  5. Healthy choices = healthy bodies and minds. Clean & healthy, low glycemic whole foods feed our bodies and minds with the nutrients they need.
  6. Remember Balance: Create balanced meals that help to sustain energy levels. Lean proteins, healthy whole grains, healthy fats, fresh fruits and veggies should all be packed in the box.
  7. Don’t forget snacks & mini-meals Not only should we pack our lunch, be sure to pack one or two healthy snacks too to prevent energy crashes and starvation from hitting throughout the day.

Our Favorite Lunch Box Food

Entrées

Veggies

Lunchbox Survival Tips on MarlaMeridith.com #projectlunchboxFruit

Snacks & Mini Meals

Lunchbox Survival Tips on MarlaMeridith.com #projectlunchbox

Drinks

  • Good old fashioned H2O = Water
  • Milk

giveaway graphic-MarlaMeridith.com

Pack healthy lunch box blog post

Easy LunchBoxes Giveaway

This giveaway is now closed. Thanks so much for all of your entries and great comments. I will be hosting fun giveaways regularly. The winner is: Kim from Rustic Garden Bistro. Congrats! Enjoy your EasyLunchbox.

If you would like to win an Easy Lunchbox System here is all you need to do. Please be sure to leave a separate comment per entry.

  • Leave a comment on this post telling me what is your favorite thing to pack in your lunch box.
  • For additional entries become a fan of MarlaMeridith.com on Facebook.
  • Follow me on Twitter @MarlaMeridith.

*If you prefer not to be included in this giveaway, just say so in your comment.

This giveaway is open to citizens of the USA only. Contest will close on Monday August 30th at 12am PST. Winner will be chosen at random.org

Helpful Lunchbox Links

108 Responses to Back to School-Lunch Box Survival Tips

  1. My favorite thing to pack for lunch is leftovers. It’s easy to prepare and delicious to eat. In addition to the leftovers that I pack for the main course, I always try to incorporate fruits, vegetables and nuts since those supply the additional nutrients we need to get through the day without crashing. I love your site!! Just discovered it about a month ago and now I subscribe through iGoogle.

  2. I like to pack sammies! I pack all the components separately, fresh juicy tomatoes, crunchy lettuce, etc! Paired with fresh fruit, and some nuts, and you’ve got it made!
    I came upon your site about a month ago, and love it!

  3. Great post Marla!! My favorite thing to pack in the boys lunch is probably the trusty apple sauce packs I get from Trader Joes that have the little spout they can drink it from. they love it!!

  4. My favorite thing to pack in my lunch box is leftovers from the night before. Before putting everything away I pack up my lunch, and my daughter’s too, and we’re ready to go the next day.

  5. I haven’t packed lunch in a while, since I was working, and won’t have to for another few years. When I did work, I liked to pack leftovers, but got fed up with it because us girls in the office we’re so close, we were all eating each others food. And I just wanted my own, not a bite of everyone’s and whatever was left of mine. But I’m selfish, and didn’t know how to say no, stop tasting my food, ladies. So for a while I was just taking Kashi meals, but the sodium even on their meals was too high for me, so then I’d drink nearly a gallon of water a day. What girls do to avoid possibly hurting another’s feelings, haha.

    • Holly: I love that you call edamame “pop beans!” That is too cute.

      Jenny: Those applesauce packs from TJ’s are a great idea.

      Angie: Your story is so funny. I bet your co-workers much preferred your home cooking over anything they would bring themselves, I know I would!

      Heather: I love the idea of the mustard hummus salad dressing.

  6. I am all about packing lunch for the next day the night before. I saves so much time and then I know my husband and I get healthy, filling and balanced lunches. My favorite lunch would have to be a big old salad with protein from the night before, crunchy veggies and a spicy mustard and hummus dressing. Fruit usually accompanies lunch too.

  7. These are excellent survival tips! Love all the fresh ideas! We shared this on our Facebook page! Thanks for posting great stuff!

  8. My favorite thing to pack is a note to the kids- not everyday, but often enough that they appreciate it when they discover it.

  9. Great post, Marla!! Great ideas for school lunches! My son is 17 and a junior in HS so he won’t take a lunch box anymore, but I may have to get one of these for myself! I’m entering the work force again soon and these would be perfect to take to an office.

  10. My kids enjoy the egg battered grilled cheese, “popbeans”, and grapes. I also sometimes throw in some homemade trail mix. Fridays are pizza day made that morning with whole wheat dough, mainara sauce, and reduced fat cheese. Our pizza is so better than the school pizza!! I have made a commitment to provide my girls with whole healthy foods not just at home but when we are away too! It takes more time and forethought from me, but I am enjoying every miute of it!!

  11. My favorite lunch to pack is a sandwich with a slice of cheddar, blackberry preserves, and spinach. On the side I’d have a granola bar, fruit, and yogurt!!

  12. Fav thing to pack is Ants on a log, celery with raisins.
    New to your site! Just found you today! Love love love your offerings and especially this wonderful product!!
    Thanks! I can’t wait become a stalker!! 😉

  13. OH, I hope I win, because I was just thinking that I need a new lunch box…mine is pretty pathetic looking. Anyway, my favorite thing to pack lately is a hummus wrap. I use any sort of hummus with sliced cucumbers, feta cheese, and chopped tomatoes. Sometimes I add grated carrots, too. So yummy!

  14. I love to make a bunch of healthy mini muffins (my favorites are these zucchini, carrot, apple whole wheat muffins that they love) and pop a couple of those in their lunch each day. That and to make cute shapes out of their sandwiches using cookie cutters – they get so excited by little things like that. Thanks, Maureen (jnomaxx at hotmail dot com)

  15. Chicken salad. Homemade, pulled from the bones of Costco Rotisserie chicken, dressed in sour cream and miracle whip and tons of curry powder. It tastes even better with age.

    I already stalk you all possible ways, Marla. lol.

  16. Great list of ideas for kids’ lunches. We have already been sucked into the “vortex” and I am with you about the school lunch selections – home lunch is the only option for my kids! We usually pack a sandwich, fruit, and a small treat.

  17. Marla, thank you for the great ideas! I can’t believe the summer flew by so fast. I made our favorite meal last night, roasted salmon and roasted asparagus. I finally got my fussy eater to try the salmon and guess what? He loved it! I will be putting edaname and salmon (wild and red) in his lunch box at least once a week! Thanx for the wonderful inspiration,
    yours in continued good health and appreciation,
    Angie

  18. Thanks for all the great lunch ideas! I don’t have kids to pack for, but I’m resolving to pack my own school lunch every day this year. My favorite lunch to pack is a avocado and tomato sandwich on whole wheat. Thanks for offering the giveaway!

  19. I have 4 hungry kiddos I pack lunches for everyday. Last year one of their favorite things to have in their lunch boxes was smoothies, homemade smoothies , I would put them in water bottles with screw on lids and put a straw in the lunch box.

    • Sheila: Awesome that you pack lunch for 4 children! The smoothies are a great idea. I need to do the same….great healthy treat.

      Angie: So glad your son tried the salmon and loved it.

      Betty: It is just as important that you pack your own lunches. Your sandwich sounds great.

      Dara: I can only imagine how amazing your packed lunches are!

  20. My kids get really excited if I put a small treat in their lunch box. It doesn’t have to be a twinkie to put a smile on their face. I usually go for a hershey kiss, or mini brownies, cooked in a mini muffin tin. They also like it cause they don’t feel so left out when all the kids are pulling out their desserts!
    PS Don’t enter me… I’ve got some of those lunchboxes already… love them!

  21. Our favorite lunchbox food is something my kids have named “Our Favorite Yogurt”. Plain yogurt with a little honey, some granola or oats, and fresh fruit.

  22. Watermelon is my favorite lunch food.

    And Sophia’s comment about curry chicken salad make me hungry. We add grapes and pecans to ours. YUM

  23. I have been dreaming of these fabulous lunch boxes! After my boys and I watched Jamie Oliver’s shows we made a commitment to not buy lunch and I personnally challenged myself to not wimp out with PB&J. We are only one week in but no PB&J yet. Pot stickers were their fav last week and this week I am trying Orzo Salad.

    We are trying to avoid baggies as well to be more enviro friendly! I send in stainless spoons with their lunches that I bought inexpesively at a large discount store. So far the guys have been great about bringing everthing home but these lunch boxes look much easier – no little containers and lids to keep up with!! I hope the random tool picks ME!

    • Beth: I love the idea of taking stainless cutlery with our to-go meals. I sometimes do that too. It makes it feel more homey, elegant and of course reduces waste. When we use plastic utensils, we simple re-use them (over & over again until they go lost!) The orzo salad sounds great. I have a recipe for one that we love too {Orzo with Basil and Zucchini}
      https://marlameridith.com/2009/07/22/orzo-with-basil-and-zucchini/

      Amy (Super Healthy Kids) Agreed, we need to put some kind of treat in the kids lunch boxes so they do not feel cheated.

  24. My kids start back to school tomorrow! My kids love ham and cheese sandwich, but I am going to work on giving new things this year!

  25. Hey Marla!

    I’ve been meaning to drop by to say hello ever since Camp Blogaway… but I’m really slow at these things. Just wanted to say THANKS for offering such fresh, healthy recipes!

    My favorite lunch box pack is currently a wedge of cheese, grapes and cold herb-roasted chicken breast. I graze on it during my lunch hour, and it’s great!!

    [K]

    P.S. I LOVE those lunch boxes!!

  26. I love to put fruit and yogurt in my lunch but need to be a little more creative. These containers would certainly make it much easier to put more variety into a lunch.

  27. All your ideas/recipes look perfect! And I send The Professor to campus with lunch and snacks packed from home every single day – he needs healthy meals/snacks to keep his blood sugar stable as well as needing energy to handle 108 students this semester. There are some decent options on campus but prefer to know exactly what is in what we eat as well as know where it comes from! Great post!

  28. Found your blog tonight while googling recipes for homemade cheese crackers! I’m SO glad I did! I’ve also been googling Bento lunchboxes all day, looking for my 3 year old to have something to start preschool with this week! This system looks PERFECT for what I am looking for! AND I have bookmarked your website – love it! :) p.s. can’t wait to try the cheese crackers, too.

  29. My favorite thing to pack in the lunch box is fruit! Makes me feel like I’m giving them something healthy, it’s easy, and they love it.

  30. Well, I have yet to pack one! I think if it were for me… I would love th throw in one of your parfaits… wow! Great list of ideas girl!

    Blessings-
    Amanda

  31. Well I am just starting to get creative w/ our lunches so up until now our lunches have been sandwiches, fruit, & veggies. I’ve been eyeing these lunchboxes b/c we have to bring our lunches to co-op this year. I think that this system will make packing for 6 kids easy.

    scrappermo at yahoo dot com

  32. My favorite thing to pack for lunch is cut up veggies: green peppers, carrots, celery, etc. and hummus. It’s a great healthy lunch that packs a lot of protein in the hummus and actually is very filling!

    I am already a fan on FB and follow you on Twitter! :)

    twitter.com/hellafied

    Great giveaway to motivate people to pre-pack their lunches and make healthier choices!

  33. Those lunchboxes are so cute! I always pack my own lunch to work and, when I have kids, plan on packing their lunches as well. My favorite thing to have is a nice pasta salad packed with tons of veggies!

  34. Hi! I just bought my easy lunch boxes a month ago and we all LOVE them! My 6 year old loves to have a good ol’ PB&J (organic and on whole wheat). I just got sandwich cutters in the shape of a Tie-Fighter and a Millenium Falcon from Star Wars from Williams Sonoma. He of course thinks this is AWESOME! He also loves pickles, dry cereal, home-made trail mix, and fruit in his lunch. I love to put salad and fruit in my easy lunch box! Great idea!!! :)

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  36. These are really great ideas; however, if kids attend public school they usually do not have snack time — hence no need for the snacks or mini-meals. Also, while I like all of your meal ideas, some of them would certainly need refrigeration to preserve healthfulness. Again, something that most public schools would not provide.

  37. I couldn’t live without my curry-lentil soup mix. It’s an organic, dry mix I find in bulk at my local co-op and it is amazing…just add water and let it soak for a couple minutes! Healthy and delicious.

  38. I usually pack leftovers. Having just found your blog – I am going to try some of your suggestions here! Can’t wait.

  39. my son used to eat hot lunch at his school and not anymore! I saw what they were feeding him and was ashamed at letting him eat the foods there and now this year they are hiking the prices for the same garbage!! I am so excited to try all your recipes and send him to school with yummy healthy choices!! Leftovers are a Lunch staple in our house!

  40. My daughter loves it when I pack her blueberries. They are simple and healthy.
    Please enter me in the drawing.

  41. Hi Marla,

    My son is turning 3 this year and just starting preschool in September. I am super new to the whole “packed school lunch” idea and your article was very, very helpful! I can’t wait to try some recipes and pack some healthy but fun lunches for him. Thanks! I would love to be entered into your drawing for a lunch box!

  42. We usually pack a sandwich, chips, veggies and dip. Since finding your site, I feel that it is time to expand our choices. Thanks so much. I’m now following you on facebook as well.

  43. My 2 boys started school this week. They are making a list of the healthy foods they will eat. I wanted to let them choose their foods so they will eat their lunches.

  44. I want to include some protein and veggies in my kids’ lunchboxes, but their favorite part is the treat… which is either piece of fruit or small cookie or mini muffin!

  45. Your recipes all sound and look amazing. I love to experiment with new ideas for my family. I pack my 4 kids lunches everyday (9,8 3 &2) . I have 2 different age groups, which means Lunchboxes are a battle for the picky little ones! If it was up to my little boys they would take PB sandwiches for the whole year. The popular choices among them are Chicken caesar salad wraps, homemade pizza, Homemade mac and cheese , and veggies with dip. Those lunchboxes are absolutely perfect!!

    I stumbled upon you through pinterest and Im glad I did!

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