Tips & Lifestyle

Surviving on lunchboxes

September 08, 2014
Surviving on lunchboxes

Summer is over, kids are back-to-school since a few weeks already and we now need to get and stay organized in the kitchen to make sure we eat healthy even though we are all trying to fit everything we want to do in 24 hours. Part of that reality is planning lunchboxes for the kids while eating properly. You will find below a few tips to help you out making great lunchboxes quickly and easily.

Using the right container

This may sound silly or trivial. However, having your meal for lunchtime wrapped properly will make it easier to carry around, reheat if required and will make sure you do not end up with some mashed food at the bottom of your bag that does not look that yummy. You will not wrap a bologna-mustard sandwich the same way you’ll bring leftovers of yesterday night’s stew.

With so many sizes of containers and lunchboxes available on the market today, it is easy to find the perfect one for your needs. First of all, are you bringing a snack or a whole meal? Will you bring your container back to wash it and reuse it or will you dispose of the wrapping?

Personally, I have a big preference for microwaveable plastic containers. Getting many of the same size ensures they are easier to store in the cupboards and in the freezer. The ones I use are about 5”x 5”x 1½”. These will hold the traditional sandwich very well and avoid it gets crushed by other items in your bag, as well as holding the perfect meal portion for any leftover you want to reheat. They are great for hot or cold food. And they will fit in most lunchboxes.

The thing with mismatched plastic is that a few may be hard to cram in your lunchbox. And they need to be brought back every night to be washed. Using a permanent marker to write your kids name on it will help for it to get back home when brought to school.

Having the right lunchbox helps too. The brown paper bag may be great for takeout, but it can’t be used more than once or twice. Getting a lunchbox with a size that will be big enough to fit a few plastic containers, not too big or too small is an investment: if it is convenient to use, you’ll use it often.

Preparing in advance

A great tip to help you not always just shove in a bag any pre-wrapped snack that lies in your pantry along with a frozen meal in a cardboard box that will leave you hungry until supper is to plan some time during the week to cook. Either that, or cook double the quantity. For example, if you are a family of 4, cook like if you will be 8 for dinner, it does not take much longer. Put the 4 unused portions in plastic containers in the freezer, to be eaten later. It is quick to grab one to take it to school or work. And budget-friendly in the long run!

The same way you don’t cook the same food every night, you won’t have the same thing for lunch every day! And you don’t have to eat the same thing as last night either. Hello variety! Another advantage is that you can control your portions and you know what is in what you eat. Less preservative, less salt, less sugar… Homemade tastes so much better!

Eating different snacks every day is also healthier and fun. Get your knives and wood cutting boards out, and pre-cut fruits or vegetables to keep in the fridge until you are ready to eat them. No matter if you prepare tomorrow’s lunchbox or if you snoozed too many times this morning, it will help you have your lunchbox ready in a snap!

It is easy to fall into the trap of almost always bringing the same stuff over and over again. Bo-ring! Eating is one of life’s pleasures, enjoy it to the fullest!  

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