By Tara C.
I have been using Laptop Lunches for packing my three kids' school lunches for the last couple years and I've been pretty happy with them.
(image from: Laptop Lunches)
A Laptop Lunch is a plastic bento system that is lead, BPA, phthalates and PVC free. It's not shown in the image above, but one of the containers has a lid so that liquids, like applesauce or yogurt, won't leak into the rest of the lunch. I like the fact that I don't need any plastic baggies or disposable containers. And since I feel obligated to fill every container, I think my kids end up getting a little more variety, too. My only complaint about the ones we bought a few years ago is that the containers are pretty small and shallow. If you squeeze a whole sandwich into the main compartment, it's hard to get the outer box to close. But, it looks like the newer models have addressed this. The size is different and there's now a larger compartment available.
My system is to hand wash the containers every night, pack the lunches, then stack them in the fridge until the next morning. Packing lunches in the morning just doesn't work for me. I usually run the containers through the dishwasher over the weekend. My kids drink water with their lunch, so I don't pack a separate drink. They use the water botles that they keep in the pocket of their backpacks.
As Julie mentioned recently, packing lunches that your child will actually eat can be a challenge. My kids are also at three different schools this year, each of which has different rules about the foods allowed. My third grader's school does not allow nuts. My toddler's preschool has a strict policy against sending potential choking hazards. This means no hotdogs, popcorn, raw carrots, or whole nuts, and grapes and cherry tomatoes must be quartered. Keeping track of who will eat what AND who is allowed to eat what kind of gives me a headache. As a result, it's really easy to get into a rut and send the same foods every day.
These lunches are pretty typical for us. Maybe not exciting, but typical.
Turkey rolled up with toothpicks, applesauce, orange, (plain) pasta (photo from: me)
Other lunch ideas include:
- Mini-bagel pizzas
- Waffle "sandwiches" made with toaster waffles and filled with cream cheese or peanut butter and jelly
- Bean and cheese burritos
- Waffled sandwiches
- Crackers with squares of cheese and lunchmeat
- Hard-boiled eggs
I need to remember that dinner leftovers can be a good option, too.
I think all my picky eaters would like this lunch:
Crackers, yogurt, blueberries, granola (photo from: Laptop Lunches)