I really, really loved putting this post together! Do you know why? Because in doing so, I realized that my mom was a lunch packing genius. A lot of these hacks she did when I was in grade school and that was 25-30 year ago! Long before Pinterest. (Heck, we didn’t even have a computer at our house until I was in third grade!) So why do I mention this? Because it’s a testament to the fact that these lunch box hacks have withstood the test of time AND that they really work.
So if you are tired of packing your kid’s lunches only to have them be a “fail,” then really need to check out the hacks below:
Nobody likes a yucky brown apple, am I right? And if your daughter is like mine, you can squirt lemon on it to keep it from browning, but then she won’t eat it. Sigh! Keep your apple slices from being exposed to the air by simply wrapping a rubber band around it. Genius!
From A Helicopter Mom.
Make Ahead Yogurt Parfait… Or Anything
Prepackaged food items cost more and they can really add up. Did you know you can make your own yogurt parfaits, veggies and dip, and tuna salad and cracker kits? All you need is a mason jar and an applesauce container that has been thoroughly washed. How simple is that?
Hidden Banana Messages
Kids love notes from their parents! I especially loved getting a heartfelt message from my mom when she knew I was going to have a rough day or a test that afternoon. And you don’t even need a pen and paper to do it! Just take a toothpick or plastic knife and write directly onto a banana.
From Sassy Dealz.
Frozen Juice Box Ice Packs
My mom did this hack literally every day of my school life. Just put your juice boxes in the freezer, and stick one in your lunchbox that morning. It’ll keep your food cold, and your juice box will be ready to drink at lunchtime!
Freeze Ice Inside Your Water Bottle
It can be so frustrating at times trying to stick ice into a water bottle, especially if it has a narrow neck. Instead, pour water in your bottle until it is half full, lay it on its side in the freezer, and voila! you’ll have nice, cold water for lunch (and no ruptured bottle!).
From Passion for Savings.
Can you do me a favor? Check this link out. Okay? Thanks! That’s because this post has fifty (50!) different kebab ideas for your kids’ lunches. Awesome, right?
From One Little Project. Image from Betty Crocker.
Does your child love smoothies? Mine does! I think they are her favorite thing of all time. Making smoothies ahead of time, freezing them, and then sticking them in your child’s lunchbox is genius. You can also do basically the same thing with Zipsicles and create your own yogurt pops!
I love, love retro metal lunchboxes. Paint the inside of your child’s box with chalkboard paint, and you have a built-in message center.
I remember when Lunchables first came out. My poor mom! That’s all I wanted to eat for an entire year. Little did I know that they are super expensive for what they are and contain sketchy ingredients. So if your kid is all about the Lunchables, here are detailed instructions on how to make all of the varieties.
From Cool Mom Picks.
Guard Against Crushed Chips
Did you know that the air in your potato chip bag actually has a name? It’s called slack fill, and it isn’t just a manufacturer’s conspiracy to make you think your potato chip bag is completely full. The air actually serves as a protector to keep your chips from being crushed. You can create your own slack fill by blowing air into a plastic sandwich bag to keep your child’s chips from becoming crumbs.
From All You.
Applesauce in individual containers are so easy to throw in your child’s lunchbox, but boy, are they messy! It seems like pulling the seal off ALWAYS causes it to slosh everywhere. So try this hack instead. Buy a big jar of unsweetened applesauce, mix in unflavored gelatin, spoon into a muffin tin, and freeze. The gelatin will cause the applesauce to coagulate, eliminating any mess. Plus, the added collagen provides added nutrition.
From Nify Mag.
Homemade Fruit Cups
Nowadays, individual fruit cups are in plastic containers, but when I was growing up, they were in metal cans. To me, all of the fruit ended up tasting like metal! Anyone else feel that way? Now you can avoid both metal and plastic by making your own homemade fruit cups, AND you can save money too.
From My Life in Food.
Wrap in Wax Paper
When I read this hack for the first time, I literally face-palmed and asked myself, “Why didn’t I think of that?!?!” Instead of a plastic sandwich bag, wrap your sandwich in wax paper. You can then use the paper to double as a placemat. Soooooo smart!
DIY Ice Packs
Life is crazy, and I know there will be times you forget to stick a juice box or a water bottle in the freezer. So you are prepared for instances like that, keep some wet kitchen sponges in plastic bags in your freezer. These make for great, in-a-pinch ice packs.
DIY Snack Station
Studies have shown that if kids are actively engaged in picking out their food they are more likely to eat it. Create this chic looking snack station so that your child can help pack her own lunchbox. Or make this snack station just because. Who doesn’t need a snack station in their house! Am I right?
From 100 Things 2 Do.
How visually appealing your child’s lunch looks is a major determining factor in whether or not they eat it. Bento boxes help make food look beautiful and can lure even the pickiest of eaters into eating. Also, be sure to check out this post because Michelle has posted two years worth of bento lunch box ideas! Believe me; after reading this, you’ll never be asking yourself, “What should I pack for lunch?” again!
From Nom Nom Paleo.
It can be super stressful to pack a healthy lunch on busy mornings. So knock out most of the hard work all at one time instead. Chop up fruits and veggies, make smoothies, stick juice boxes in the freezer… You get the idea. It doesn’t have to be Sunday. Just pick a day and time, and stick with it
From All You.
So there you have it! Seventeen GENIUS lunch box hacks for happy, healthy kids. And now I want to hear from you! Which of these hacks are new to you?
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