Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Favorite Lunch Supplies and Solutions

100 Days of Real Food completely changed the way I pack my son's lunches.  Although I did pretty well with selecting healthy non-processed choices, I would often fall into a creative rut and send the same things every day. I love how 100 Days of Real Food educates me about making better food choices. And since she posts photos of her kids' lunches on her Facebook page, I always get great inspiration there as well.

Over the last year, we have worked to improve not only Noodlebug's food but we have also moved towards a zero-trash goal. I get great lunch ideas from both 100 Days of Real Food and Weelicious.  Weelicious is coming out with a new cookbook for lunches soon and I can't wait to see it.

Here are a few of my favorite pieces of lunch gear:

1. Hanna Andersson Lunchbox

We bought this Deluxe Lunch Bag from Hanna Andersson last year.  I also got the matching food jar.  The deluxe version has an additional compartment so you can keep hot/cold items separate. This style is no longer available but the new ones are now online.

2. Klip it Lunch Cube

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 I love this thing! It folds in half and is easy for my son to open.  I highly recommend hard-sided boxes like these to keep your food from getting squished in a soft-sided lunchbox.

Sometimes, I will use a Ziploc divided lunch container instead. We wash these out and reuse them.

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3. Silicone Molds
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I always worried about the amount of sugar in most yogurts so I started making my own yogurt smoothies with a recipe from 100 Days of Real Food.  I usually make a big batch on Sunday, fill the molds, and throw them in the freezer.  We add one to Noodlebug's lunch most days along with an ice pack.  I put the molds INSIDE OF the hard-sided lunch container to keep them safe. We've never had a problem. They are usually thawed perfectly by lunchtime.

4. Ice Packs

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We use a couple of different types of ice packs. I have two of the above Rubbermaid ice packs.  I have one monkey and one frog.

I also recently bought this Kids Konserve ice packs from Ecomom.

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5.  Reusable Napkins

Although it would be easy enough to sew your own, I splurged and bought some of these fun napkins from Funkins. Each one comes with a tag where you can write your child's name.  They have so many fun patterns!

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6. Utensils

I just got this set of Sugar Booger utensils. I love how they come in their own carrying case.

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They come in a variety of patterns and are available at Ecomom and Amazon.

7. Food Storage

I got this great idea from 100 Days of Real Food. These little silicone muffin cups are great for dividing out crackers, fruit, salads or anything else that needs to be contained. We often use these for hard-boiled eggs.

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 My son loves the pouches from Plum Kids and Ella's Kitchen so I still stick those in his lunch occasionally.  However, I just found Squooshis recently and we are trying that out.

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 We've been using these resuable Squooshis with organic applesauce from the jar.  You could easily use them for anything squishy, however.  The bottom of the Squooshi has a ziplock and we haven't had any accidents so far.

For anything that doesn't fit into the hard-sided box, I use Itzy Ritzy bags:

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 These bags come in a variety of sizes and colors.  I have a few different size things like crackers and fruit.  Much much better than plastic baggies!  They are BPA-free and are machine-washable!

I am very careful to label all of Noodlebug's stuff and I use two different types of labels.  First of all, I love these rubber labels from Inchbug:

They are very stretchy and fit around just about any kind of bottle.  I have been using them for years and they hold up beautifully. Find them here.
On a side note, I use Inchbug's tag labels for clothing.  They are small stickers you can put on a tag and they even go through the wash!  When you are done with the item of clothing, just peel them off!  I love these since i resell all of Noodlebug's clothing.

You can also get labels like these from Name Bubbles.

Check out this 100 Days of Real Food page and this Weelicious page for some wonderful visual lunch inspiration.  There is also a great Bento Box series with lots of photographs at Hellobee.

 We are working really hard on eating healthier as a family and eliminating garbage.  We started using most of these products when my son was 4 and he has had no problem getting used to bringing everything home. We haven't lost anything yet! I love all the inspiration I'm finding on the internet.  I hope these tips help you over the Summer and into the school year.  I'll add to it as I find new things!

(There are NO affiliate links within this post. I receive no compensation and all opinions are my own.)

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