The Life Cycle of a (Packed) School Lunch

Almost every day on Facebook I share the school lunches that I pack for my daughters and almost every day there are a lot of questions about these lunches. Everything from “Where did you get that container?” to “Can I get that recipe?” to “Where’s the protein?” But lately I’ve been noticing quite a few questions asking what these carefully prepared lunches actually look like come lunchtime – especially after they’ve been tossed all around while in their backpacks and since “liquidy” foods like yogurt or applesauce are involved. Let’s face it, no child keeps their lunch bag or box in one perfect position all day, and that is certainly something I would never expect of my own children. So when I was having lunch with my daughter at school yesterday I (risked looking like a lunatic and) took a bunch of pictures for you! :)

Sponsor Shoutout: Primal Pit Paste

Before we get into the pics though I want to make sure you know about one of our newest sponsors, Primal Pit Paste. This creatively named product is an all-natural deodorant – for your pits of course! And since we’ve been looking for a non-toxic alternative for my husband (that actually works), he recently ordered some of this stuff (before they became one of our sponsors) so he could give it a go. And the report is after trying many different products that didn’t work this stuff totally does the trick for him. Please know though that it does not act as an antiperspirant, because it’s actually a completely normal process for your body to sweat, but is just a deodorant and thankfully one that keeps my husband smelling fresh. Okay, so now that we just got super personal let’s switch gears back to school lunches! :)

How the lunch looked like right after I packed it.

How my kindergartner’s lunch looked like right after I packed it.

carrying lunchbox

The lunchbag sits upright when it’s clipped to her backpack and when she carries it to the lunchroom.

100 Days of Real Food School Lunch

Time to dig in – as you can see I pack these lunches with 4 small ice packs in an insulated lunch bag.

100 Days of Real Food School Lunch

How the lunch looks once it’s opened. I have to say – this is closer to the original picture than even I was expecting! The lid is leak-proof so each food stays securely in its own compartment (if the lid is shut properly). The jumbo (yellow) muffin cup is tall enough to touch the lid so dry items stay in that spot.

100 Days of Real Food School Lunch

Mixing her granola into her yogurt and starting to chow down. :) One thing I love about this lunch box is that it doesn’t take her long to open only one lid during an already short lunch period.

100 Days of Real Food School Lunch

Full disclosure – apparently this is what happens to the lid when there is yogurt on it! LOL

100 Days of Real Food School Lunch

All Done! I am pretty sure she only ate all of the veggies because I was there encouraging her. I told her the cucumbers’ and carrots’ feelings were hurt because she wasn’t picking them, and it worked. :)

100 Days of Real Food School Lunch

Time to pack up! I’ve told my girls numerous times to put that lid back on securely in case a little bit of yogurt is left in there. When my older daughter recently forgot and came home with a mess I had her clean the lunch bag herself so I am pretty sure it won’t happen again (at least anytime soon).

100 Days of Real Food School Lunch

Putting the lunch box, ice packs, and water thermos back in the bag is easy enough for a 5-year-old.

So that’s all there is to it! And since I know some will be wondering :) ….

For more school lunch ideas check out my most recent School Lunch Roundup post.

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  1. |

    We use these same Ziploc containers and found ours at Kroger–they put them on sale regularly AND there are coupons. I got each pack of two for $1.50… making them $0.75/each!! And, after two years of steady use, they’re holding up great. Even if I’d had to replace them after a year, for that price, I can afford it. (i.e. if someone left it at school or whatever)

  2. Sallie |

    This seems to work great for little girls, but I have to wonder about it being able to hold enough food for a 14 year old boy. His typical lunch might include a full sandwich, half a cucumber, grape tomatoes, carrot sticks, a yogurt, a string cheese, an apple or an applesauce, and a bottle of 100% juice plus his 32 ounce water bottle. Would this container be even close to big enough? With two PE classes plus sports he never comes home with any food, so cutting down his portions isn’t really an option.

  3. Elizabeth Heard |

    First of all, I just shop at container store and whole food, I have no financial connection. I watched this video and got the cube for my 8th grade twins. It works great! They pack their own lunch and I think they really love the container. I thought I’d pass it on. Also, I think their lunch boxes are very reasonably prices.

  4. Meredith S. |

    Thank you so much for this post it was exactly what I was looking for! my son just started kindergarten and this answered a lot of questions and anxieties i had about sending him to school with a packed lunch. Thanks again!

  5. |

    I think overall these are one of the best choices for lunches, because they are lightweight, easy to store (stack) and easy to wash. Plus, when they start to get dinged up, you can recycle them. :) Just got myself a fresh 2-pack from amazon yesterday!

  6. Alicia |

    I know this is late, but I am, finally, giving Primal Pit Paste a shot. Just got it today and am crossing my fingers that it works for me. Is your husband still using the product and does it still work well?

    • Assistant to 100 Days (Amy) |

      Hi Alicia. While I do not keep track of their grooming habits :), I’m fairly certain that the Pit Paste is being used and loved. ~Amy

  7. Joanna |

    Went over to the Land’s End website to see about purchasing the lunch boxes you use. It seems like every commenter says that within 6-8 weeks the lining in these bags starts to come apart at the seams. I was just wondering if you had every experienced this happening with the ones you’ve purchases? I’ve bought many of the other products you’ve recommended, all of which were fabulous, so I trust your opinion, but just wanted to double check since so many people seem to be having such a big issue with these lunch boxes.

    • |

      Hey Joanna – We are on our second set of these lunch boxes in about 3 years, and that’s because Lisa washed the first set in the washing machine. The label states not to do that, and the liners did come apart at the seams as a result. If you follow the cleaning instructions I’d assume much longer life (years). Perhaps the other commenters used them differently then we do (stretching to accommodate larger items maybe?), but regardless I wouldn’t totally discount their opinions. Hope that helps! – Jason

  8. Holly |

    What an awesome idea to have her clean her own lunch box when she doesn’t put the lid back on! I have to wash my daughter’s a few times a week. Why have I been doing it???

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