With back-to-school upon us, I am resuming my duties as master lunch-packer for the rest of the family. I pack a lot of lunches. My modest goals: create affordable, portable, balanced meals… with a minimum of waste… which my family will actually consume. Sounds simple, but years of packing have taught me that achieving all of those at once can be tricky. And while I’m not cutting fruit into cartoon characters, or anything (I don’t think my teens or my husband would appreciate that…), I still want to come up with something that’s more fun than a sandwich in a plastic bag.
Plastic should be cheerful and functional
I kind of have a thing for little lunch containers; I have tried just about every BPA-free, dishwasher-safe plastic container out there, searching for just the right ones for everything from sandwiches to yogurt. The winner, hands down, is Sistema. It comes in all kinds of bright colors (very handy when packing multiple lunches with different foods!), all shapes and sizes, and best of all, it opens and closes easily (with flip-locks even tiny hands can operate), but never leaks thanks to durable rubber gaskets. No more sticky lunch bags!
One utensil shall rule them all
We all remember sporks from the school cafeteria, right? The original was a fork/spoon hybrid, the spoon pointy, yet the fork’s tines too shallow for most foods. The revised Spork by Light My Fire is a true do-it-all utensil with a separate spoon and fork, plus the fork even has a functional serrated edge (sharp enough to be useful, dull enough to be okay to bring to school). No more complaints of “but I wanted a spoon for my fruit” when you packed a fork, and it’s fun to eat with, too. One and done.
Everything’s more fun in a pouch
My kids like all manner of snack food that comes in a pouch, but for years the idea of reusable ones was a pipe dream. Now there’s Squooshi, making durable, dishwasher-safe, zip-close pouches so you can pack whatever they like. Get the animal ones for little-kid fun, or go with the colored ones (hey, orange!) for the older crowd. Squeeze food isn’t just for babies! This is a great way to do yogurt, applesauce, smoothies, or even things like dips and salsas on the go.
Here’s to happier lunches!