Today I am excited to share some great school lunch packing tips from my friend Laura Fuentes with MOMables! We all know that we should be packing our kids a variety of colorful, wholesome, healthy foods they will love, but sometimes that is just easier said than done. And that’s exactly why Laura, mom of three kids ages 7-years-old and younger, came up with an idea for helping parents make this a reality.
She developed a meal planning planning service with the school lunch box in mind, ensuring that anyone who followed along could kiss the “Sandwich Rut” goodbye. And, as I’ve mentioned before, aside from this paid meal planning service Laura also has a blog and facebook page where she continuously shares super creative and fun food ideas. It’s honestly one of my favorite Facebook pages to follow – so thank you Laura for sponsoring today’s blog post (and for always keeping my Facebook news feed interesting)!
If you decide to try out the MOMables meal planning service you’ll get 5 real food lunch ideas, a prep-ahead sheet, and a shopping list – all of which can help any busy parent feed their kids a variety of foods – for only $6.50 per month! Their Classic plan has built in gluten-free, nut-free, and vegetarian substitutions; while the Grain Free meal plan is completely gluten-free and limits dairy and legumes. So there is an option for everyone!
Now, back to all those fabulous little MOMables tips I was telling you about. Here are 7 quick fixes from Laura for those unwelcome lunchbox dilemmas!
School Lunch Dilemmas Solved
by Laura Fuentes with MOMables
- Dilemma #1: Food won’t stay hot in the thermos.
Many people email me weekly asking why their children’s food is cold by the time they open up their lunchbox. I mean it’s in a thermos right? It should stay hot, at least until my child’s lunchtime. This isn’t necessarily true. Remember that you are not heating up the food to eat now, you are heating it so that it can be safely eaten 3-5 hours later. So the key is to really heat your child’s lunch before putting it into a thermos, that way it is still nice and warm come lunchtime! To find out how long it is safe to keep food hot in a thermos, click here.
- Dilemma #2: Soggy crackers.
Many moms tell stories of how their children come home unhappy with their lunch, solely because it was a soggy mess when they went to eat it. An easy fix to this is separating wet foods from dry foods. For example, when you are adding ham and cheese, along with crackers, to your child’s lunch they should be kept in separate air-tight containers or compartments. If separated, the crackers don’t absorb the moisture from the ham and cheese, which is responsible for your child’s soggy food.
- Dilemma #3: Mushy grilled sandwiches.
I also get many comments about how grilled sandwiches don’t stay hot and then become soggy. An easy solution to keeping anything hot is again – the thermos! As far as grilled sandwiches go, remember that the goal of grilling is to marry the flavors. So, first grill your sandwich in order to combine all of the ingredients so they compliment each other. Then allow the sandwich to cool down to room temperature (or chill it) and pack it in the lunch box instead of the thermos. By allowing the sandwich to cool down, it eliminates steam build up in the lunch box, which is the culprit for soggy sandwiches.–
- Dilemma #4: Not enough time to pack.
As a mother of three, I completely understand the pressures of time. It takes time to get the kids up, dress them, feed them, and get them off to school on time. What about making their lunches!? Planning ahead is so important and that’s one of the best parts about MOMables – it gives you a plan. I strive to let you know what you need ahead of time and what you need to pre-pack the night before. At the very least, you have a great idea of what you need to do in order to assemble your children’s lunch the morning of.
- Dilemma #5: You run out of food options.
Another great tip that saves moms every week from stressing out from lack of ingredients to put into their children’s lunches is by using leftovers from dinner from the previous night. Usually people run out of ingredients when they don’t have a solid plan for the week. Again, MOMables lunches helps you plan dinner around the ingredients included in your kid’s lunch. For example, say a staple in your kid’s lunch is chicken. Now you know that you can incorporate chicken into your dinner and use extra leftover chicken in your kid’s lunch! Simple, right?
- Dilemma #6: Picky eaters.
Almost every week I hear moms saying “I’m not sure a meal plan will work for my pick eaters, but I am completely out of ideas.” Planning for picky eaters can be very difficult whether you do it on your own or use a meal plan. The easiest way to not get overwhelmed and to stop being a short order cook is to start with the foods your kids will eat and generate ideas from there.
- Dilemma #7: Soggy cheese.
I have got another great, and simple, tip to help your children’s cheese sticks stay nice and fresh come lunchtime! Many moms are tired of seeing cheese sticks come home uneaten in their child’s lunchbox because they are soggy and “gross.” An easy fix to this is to freeze the cheese sticks (or pre-cut pieces of cheese)! In the morning add the frozen cheese stick to your child’s lunch and by lunchtime it will thaw and be nice and cool and fresh. Check out how I freeze my cheese here. MOMables offers tons of ideas like this to keep your child happy while also not breaking the bank or the little time you have to put your child’s lunch together.
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