5 Ways to Keep Your Cool – Packing Back-to-School Lunches

Written by Contributor. Posted in Featured

Published on August 24, 2016 with No Comments

By StatePoint

Back to school! Along with the cute first day photo explosion on your social media feeds comes the return of everyday routines that include homework, sports practice, and everyone’s favorite hate-it/love-it activity: packing school lunches.

While you may have blocked out last spring’s daily grind where you counted ketchup as a vegetable, reality – and a new school year — awaits. Nalgene, a leading reusable water bottle, lunch box and food storage container brand recently asked parents for their take on packing lunch. Below are tips based on their feedback to help you keep your cool as kids head back to school.

1. Remember. It’s Just Lunch.

How you pack lunch doesn’t go on the college application. This is an area where it’s okay to simplify. However, three-fifths of parents surveyed say that school lunch packing is a reflection on one’s parenting style. Interestingly, dads feel more strongly on this point, with nearly 70 percent of them agreeing with the sentiment versus 55 percent of moms.

“Lunch doesn’t have to be ‘Pinterest-board worthy’ to be nutritious,” says Peggy O’Shea Kochenbach, a Registered Dietitian. “Keeping it simple can be just as good — or even better — from the nutrition side, and you’ll appreciate the extra time to focus on family.”

So skip the spaceship-shaped sandwich if it means an extra hour with the kids before bedtime.

2. Don’t Let It Get Smushed.

This election year, kids are getting out their message too. At the top of their agenda: “I will not eat smushed food!”

Two out of five parents say their kids will not eat their lunch if it gets smushed before lunchtime. Heck, some parents even feel the same way (just don’t tell the kids that!). Do yourself a favor and put an end to the whining with a durable, hard case lunch box that you can pack a variety of ways.

Check out the Nalgene Lunch Box Buddy, which possesses all the great qualities of the brand’s popular reusable water bottles. Its hard case is durable, dishwasher safe, and includes an adjustable cool pack to accommodate a variety of lunch preferences. No matter the journey to school or cafeteria, sandwiches and snacks stay perfectly preserved. Information on lunch boxes, water bottles and food storage containers is available at Nalgene.com.

3. Keep It In Perspective: There Are Worse Chores Than Packing Lunch!

It may be back to the grind where lunch prep is concerned, but put things in perspective. Packing lunch is definitely not the worst household chore. When asked if they’d rather clean the toilet than pack school lunches for their children, 72 percent disagreed. Packing lunches is the clear preference.

4. Packing Lunch is Better than Cleaning the Toilet, but it’s Still its Own Beast.

More than one-third of parents surveyed brace themselves for the horrors they might find inside their child’s lunch box. Do yourself a favor in combatting dirty containers, crumbs, spilled liquid and leftover food. Wisely choose easy-to-clean lunch boxes, reusable water bottles, and food storage containers, so that the dishwasher can scrub corners of spilled milk and leftover treasures, not you.

5. Use Fall to Reboot Good Habits.

Good news! September is the new January, so you get two cracks at getting your family organized each year. Two out of five of parents surveyed say that meeting the various requests and tastes of kids for an acceptable packed lunch can be “overwhelming.” This “new year,” resolve to take advantage of free online websites and mobile apps to help you with meal planning, grocery shopping trips and packing lunches.

5 Tips to Make Packing School Lunches Easier

1. Use Leftovers

This is such a no-brainer, really. You spend time making dinner, so why not send it for lunch? Using what you have on hand helps you break out of the sandwich rut. This is a great way to add variety to your loved one’s lunches and cut down on prep work, not to mention thinking. Because really, how much work does it take to dish out and repackage a meal?

2. Plan Ahead and Freeze Food

This is not a new concept. Double recipes and make extras. Freeze the extras and have them on hand for instant throw-ins. Think waffles, pancakes, muffins, even soups. You can freeze taco meat, pulled pork, chili, and so much more. So why not make your own? It’s homemade, real convenience food. Made by you.

3. Try New Things

Don’t be fearful of sending a new recipe or something totally different for lunch. As parents, we want our kids to be happy, and naturally we want them to have full bellies when they are away for a long day. You may not agree, if kids are hungry, they will eat. They may not love all of their lunches, but many times they do like them and are thankful for something different. In case you didn’t know, kids get bored too!

4. Make it Fun!

Think fun shapes, or even just getting your kids involved in making lunch. Pancakes cut into strips as the “main meal” can be the coolest. Not keen on cutting your carrots into flower shapes? Not to worry. Stick in a fancy toothpick or pull out your cookie cutters. These are fun, creative tools that can easily kick up your game.

5. Take Tips from the Kids

What do kids like in their lunch? Be sure to ask your crew what they like in their lunch. For more lunch ideas and recipes, visit www100daysofrealfood.com.

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