School is upon us and that means lots of lunches. If you pack your kid’s lunches like I do, then you know that this can be a pain in the you-know-what, but thankfully there are lots of shortcuts, also known as HACKS in the modern world, that can be used to make this job a little easier- and for those of us who are packing multiple lunches every day (THREE in fact!!) these 10 lunch box hacks are the equivalent to 10 little life savers!
1. No More Brown Apples
Keep sliced apples fresh for lunch time by wrapping them back up with the core using Saran Wrap. By keeping the apple core in tact you reduce the amount of air touching the surface of the apple which helps to reduce browning. When your kids get to school and un-wrap the apple it will already be sliced and ready to eat!
2. Use Drinks as Ice Packs
One of the downfalls of packing a lunch is it not being cold by the time lunch comes around. Help to keep your kids food even colder by freezing Capri Suns or Juice Boxes to use as ice packs inside of their lunch boxes. The drinks will thaw by lunchtime while still remaining cold and helping to keep food fresh.
3. Have Fun with your Fruit
Make your kid’s lunches more fun by making their fruit funny! You can use a toothpick to write a fun message on the side of a banana and as it starts to brown the message will be revealed. Or you can make a funny face on your cuties or oranges with a sharpie, or draw something your fruit cup lid!
4. Make your own Ice Packs
Save money and make your own ice packs by using regular sponges filled with water and frozen then placed in a Ziploc Bags.
5. Pack Your Own Single Servings
Save even more money by buying large servings of snacks (like chips, nuts, or pretzels) and divide them into smaller servings to save money on lunchbox snacks. You can use a measuring cup and a snack size baggie to make the process quick and easy.
6. Freeze Ice inside Your Water Bottle
Like I mentioned in my summer time mom hack post, you can help keep water bottles colder longer by adding some water the night before (about 1/4 cup) inside their water bottles and laying them on its side in the freezer, being careful not to cover the mouth of the bottle. This will create an instant ice pack in their bottle and will keep their bottle cooler longer.
7. Use Cookie Cutters to Make Sandwiches Fun
I have been using cookie cutters for ages to shape my kid’s sandwiches, fruit & cheese into fun holiday shapes or animals. This is a great way to make lunches fun and encourage kids to eat them- and it really works!
8. Make your own Lunchables
Do your kids love Lunchables but you don’t love the price (or all of the extra salt)? Make your own by serving just slices cheeses, meats and crackers separate and letting them build them at lunch time. This is much easier and the kid love it! The lunch boxes that already have dividers make this even easier.
9. Keep Hot Foods Warm for Lunch Time
If you want to send some leftovers for you kids, heat their food hotter than you normally would in the morning before school and place it in a thermos for lunch time. This will help to keep it warm so they don’t have to microwave it at school. Just be sure you keep food safety in mind and serve foods that don’t have to be served piping hot to be safe to eat.
10. All the dips
Do your kids love to dip? Just pack a bunch of cut up veggies and crackers and serve with peanut butter (if you are allowed to) or hummus- easy peasy.