Thursday, September 9, 2010

Somewhere between sandwiches and edible art

There are two extremes in school lunch boxes: the traditional, run-of-the-mill sandwich-chips-fruit-treat camp and then the crazy cool, works of art bento box lunches.

Are your kids sandwich eaters? If so, say a quick word of "thanks," since I am convinced my lunch packing would be infinitely easier if R liked sandwiches. Not that I am complaining, in fact, in a curious way, I love the challenge of finding healthful, outside-the-(lunch)box ideas that R will eagerly eat. And yet, my creativity and desire to make art in my son's lunch box is lacking.


I am trying to bridge the gap between the sandwich doldrums and edible art, and I have a feeling some of you might be in the boat.

My friend Katie sent me a message to this end, and a few of us started brainstorming unique lunch ideas. I've used several of them, and R's been a pretty happy camper in the lunch department.

First, my equipment:

R requested a Star Wars lunch box this year, and since I have happy memories of my own character lunch boxes, we obliged with Thermos' lunch bag:

To this we added the Thermos Funtainer Drink Bottle:

and Thermos Funtainer Food Jar:

and a half dozen or so lock and lock food containers:

These containers are BPA free, airtight and super easy to use for little fingers. I love them.

Last, but not least, we use our SnackTAXIs for things like chips and crackers:

I love all of these items, but the Funtainer Food Jar is by far our most indispensable tool so far. Why? It keeps things warm for up to five hours, greatly expanding our list of lunch options.

So what have we been packing in R's lunches with all this great equipment? I listed my "Top Ten Outside the (Lunch)Box" ideas on, but have a few more general ideas to add in the coming days...



OhioFamOf4 said...

We've been loving our thermos container as well. Leftovers are going to school much more often than I anticipated. I like to roll something up in a tortilla, cut it in to 4 pieces, and put a toothpick in each little roll. My kid thinks the toothpicks are cool. Homemade trail mix also goes over well. I change it up all the time...popcorn, dried fruits, pretzels, etc. And since my little guy is all about recycling I bought some fun fabric scraps at JoAnn's and cut them with pinking shears so he could have reusable napkins. He has football, fall leaves and monkey patterns.

JerseyBaby said...

Haven is loving her daily soups (miso, chicken noodle) and leftover pasta in her not-a-funtainer thermos. Today she also got apples with a small container of honey for dipping. I went to lunch at her school today and saw my competition (prepackaged mini-muffins, fritos, pringles, fruit chews) and knew right away I'd need to step up my game if I'm going to keep her mostly away from the lunchline this year. Wish me luck!

Slacker Mama said...

I'm soooo looking forward to the rest of the blog posts. E has already asked for school lunches...the first week! And the other day she asked if I'd buy her lunchables! ARGH!

Deep in the Heart said...

We do homemade lunchables a lot, which my kids are excited about. I have the portable container with the dip reservoir in the middle so we'll do apples and peanut butter, chicken strips and bbq sauce, hummus and veggies. I did turkey dogs and grape tooth pick skewers once. I'm still leery of sending soup, but do send leftovers in our thermoses. Both kids are doing snacks in their rooms this year so I need to stock up on Snacktaxis.

I let the kids buy once a week and Rachel's getting good about her choices, but Jake comes home triumphant about how he got strawberry milk and dessert. Time to place the blocks on his account. Our school district lets you track all their purchases and block ones you don't want so that helps.