lunchbox ideas

How to pack the perfect school lunch

It’s easy to feel a little jealous or even skeptical of those perfectly packed lunches you see on Pinterest with fruit cut in the shapes of stars, or sandwiches that look like their favorite cartoon character. But at the end of the day the lunch you pack for your kids doesn’t have to be extravagant to keep them fed. 

Read on for some simple advice about how to make your kid an A+ lunch. And check out back-to-school cash back offers on all your favorite brands. 

What to include

Trying to strike a balance between giving your kids healthy food, and having them actually eat what you pack can seem like solving a complicated math problem. But it doesn’t have to be too complicated. Pediatricians recommend focusing on getting enough protein to keep them full, and produce for essential vitamins and minerals. 

Don’t feel like you need to stick to regular lunchbox foods if your kids don’t like them. Sandwiches don’t have to be the only thing you pack if your kids would rather have last night’s leftovers. And they’re probably more willing to eat foods that are still cold than you realize. 

Kids asking for a sweet treat? No problem, you can pack them a few chocolate chips, a small piece of candy, or even some really delicious fruit. Even just a small amount can get them excited about their lunch, and once they start eating something they’re more likely to keep eating the rest of their meal.

Need more ideas to keep them full till dinner time? Here are some of our favorite afterschool snacks

The container

Lunch boxes have come a long way since we were kids, but they’ll still have the same goals: keeping the food fresh until lunch time, and not leaking all over your kid’s history homework. Here are some things to consider when choosing the perfect lunch box for your kid. 

  • How will it keep food cold? 

  • Can they open it themselves? 

  • Is it big enough for how much food they need? 

  • Will it fit in their backpack? 

  • Is it easy to clean? 

  • If they lose it can you afford to replace it? 

Bento boxes are popular to separate the food you’re packing so that sandwich doesn’t get soggy from the strawberries. It can also help you eyeball portion sizes and keep things balanced. But if cleaning individual food cubbies sounds like torture, or the price tag is too steep, whatever works for your family is best. 

Add a personal touch

The best way to pack your kid’s lunch box? With love! Adding a note from you can be a quick pick me up during their day. Bonus points if you show you’re listening by telling them good luck on their math test, or whatever else they have going on that day. 

Even just a quick doodle can give them a smile and let them know you’re thinking about them during the day. If you’re not feeling creative, there are lots of ideas online, or you can buy pre-made sticky notes that you can add to their lunch every day. 

Save on groceries

No matter what you choose to pack, get cash back at the grocery store. Ibotta works at thousands of retail locations across the country, including Walmart, Kroger, Whole Foods, and many more. We also have offers from delivery boxes like Thrive Market, or meal kits for easy dinners from Every Plate, Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, Home Chef, and more. 

Lunch packing ideas

Running low on ideas on what to pack? Here are some of our easy favorites:

Cheese Quesadilla

Try these triangle-shaped quesadillas with black beans, guacamole, halved cherry tomatoes, and bite-sized peach chunks. Source: Feel Good Foodie

lunchbox quesadilla
Butternut Squash Sandwich

Butternut Squash Sandwich

Level up your sandwich game with butternut squash and cream cheese sandwich with carrot and cucumber sticks, raspberries, frozen edamame. Souce: MJ & Hungryman

Turkey Wrap

Go for colorful appeal with pinwheel turkey sandwiches, sliced apples, cheese crackers, and freeze dried strawberries. Source: Yummy Toddler Food

sliced turkey wrap lunch
Mini Puri With Chana Masala

Mini Puri With Chana Masala

Pump up the flavor with cute mini round puri, chana masala, and blueberries. Source: Blissful Bites by Tay

Pasta Salad

For a meal you can batch cook, try this pasta salad with shredded white cheddar, a mandarin orange, and dried cranberries. Source: Vanilla Mummy

pasta salad lunch

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