7 Back-to-School Lunchbox Hacks That Will Make Your Life Easier

@darby via Twenty20

By Laura Lambert

There are a few things you can count on in life when you’re a mom — death, taxes, and making school lunch. There are ways to make the last part a bit easier.

Freeze your juice boxes
They’ll defrost and be icy cold by the time lunch rolls around — and they do double-duty as ice packs. Win-win.

Blow air into your snack bags
Chips crumble in a lunch sack like it’s their job. Don’t let ‘em. A little puff of air in the Ziplock gives them enough cushion to stay whole, at least until noon.

Pour hot water into your thermos
If your kiddo is lucky enough to get something hot for lunch, make sure it’s actually hot by the time they eat it. Pre-heating the thermos with hot-hot water keeps the food inside hotter, longer.

Don’t get down with the brown
Brown apple slices = completely unappetizing. The best method is leaving the apple whole. But if you must slice, because that’s the only way they’ll eat them, we get it — we’ve all been there. Wrap the sliced apple in saran wrap, or hold it together with a rubber band, to prevent oxidation. Or, if your child can handle the flavor, add a squirt of lemon juice.

Put it in a jar
Mason jar lunches aren’t just for adult worker-bees. Not only can they be prepped ahead of time, they last up to five days in your fridge, says Bethany Kochan for wellness program Noom. (She has 20 ideas for Mason jar lunches that kids and adults will like.)

Meal plan — for everyone
There’s almost nothing that isn’t improved by a bit of pre-planning. Knowing on Sunday what you and your kiddos will eat all week means that shopping is easier, and, with a bit of batch cooking, that you can pack lunch almost on autopilot. If it feels daunting, a program like Noom can help with recipe ideas and community support. On Noom’s blog, Amanda Cofer, MPH, shares five steps that make meal planning much easier.

Make them do it
Amen. Kids as young as 5 years old can pretty much make a basic lunch on their own. Parents can help by buying easy food the kids like, posting reminders of what goes in a healthy lunch (one protein, one veggie, one fruit, one side, water, and a treat) and simply getting out of the way.


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