School Lunch Supplies

DSC02678For those of you still searching for the perfect school lunch gear for your kids, here are some of the go to items that I used to create and transport my toddler’s lunches last school year. You can see the fresh, healthy and fun lunches and some of the gear in the A Better Lunchbox section of this site.

Drink Bottle

  • Foogo by Thermos Stainless Steal 10oz Straw Bottle
    These work wonderfully. I’d pour milk from the fridge in each morning to put in her lunch bag. It stayed cold through lunchtime. Never a problem. Though I did also always include an ice-pack in her lunch bag to help ensure the milk and her lunch stay cool – a good idea in general. We use these when we go out sometimes too and want her to have cold milk or water. They last long and are easy to clean (as long as you don’t let it sit with milk in it overnight)Available through may sources. The link above it to Amazon.com for a reference.

Lunch bag

  • Sugar Booger Lunch Sack
    Used all year and still in great shape. Never got stinky. Crumbs and drips are easy to clean out as needed. I like the design as I could keep the bento box style lunch containers I used flat…meaning my cute designs would remain cute till unveiled at lunchtime. Some reviewers on Amazon said that mold developed, but honestly, we haven’t even seen a hint of mold or odors. And I did include an ice-pack every day. Perhaps the type of ice pack matters. I chose one with an exterior pouch to minimize condensation. The lunch bag has been great for us. I should note that I did use two lunchbags when I sent her to school with a warm lunch item. I’d put a thermos of the warm food with a serving container (with lid) and spoon in one bag, and then her cold milk and fruit or cold veggies in the other. I want to be sure the hot/warm items stay warm and the cold items stay cold. I’m keeping an eye out for a better solution for those days, but my method works.

Ice pack

  • Kids Konserve Squiggle Sweat-Free Ice Pack
    Love this. In all honesty the outer cover does get a little moist, but nowhere near as wet as other ice packs can get. We did have to replace it once a few months ago. I banged it on something else in the freezer and cracked the plastic. But still love it.

Reusable napkins

  • Custom from downhomeamy on Etsy
    Ilunchtimenapbloglunchtimenap3blog love the napkins Amy made for us. I had ordered some snack pouches from her (also a great buy!) and loved her designs. She worked with me to use her cocktail napkins as a foundation, adding a waffle backing (like on her bibs) and cute designs of my choice from her collection. She even added Sofie’s name to the underside. They are absorbent and machine washable. They have survived the last year very well. We even use them at home as we try to cut back on paper napkins. To see a photo, check out my Eating out with a Toddler – Essential Gear article. But whether you order from Amy, somewhere else, or make your own, please do include a napkin (helps to start with good habits early!) and make it reusable – no need to add another paper napkin to the trash every day. (photos from downhomeamy’s blog)

Lunch Containers

I like bento style containers. Multi-tier ones allow my to include different types of food in a very space efficient way, usually nest for storage and they are so fun! Take a look through last year’s lunch photos on my Facebook page. Check out the Shopping Links below for some online selections.

Silicon cupcake liners

  • May 18 2011These make great dividers in bento boxes, or any other container you wish to sub-divide. Just be sure to get good quality ones – they will look better, work better and last longer.

Rice mold

  • May 31 2011I used a simple rice mold to create fun shapes for her lunches. They made the rice into finger food at the same time. Here’s a link to the one I used most of the time on Amazon. If you search on Amazon you’ll see a number of other cute options. Any bento supply store will have a selection as well.

Sandwich cutters

  • May 24 2011Any metal cookie cutters should work well. Simpler shapes will be easier to work with. Experiment with the cutters you already have in your house! There are now also special sandwich cookie cutters on the market now. Search on Amazon and you’ll find a few. These will help decrease on sandwich waste since they are designed to be almost the same size as bread. I will note though that you have to have the right size bread for them to work, they can be a tight fit. But less waste is good.

Vegetable and cold cut cutters

  • The small metal cutters work so well for cutting through thin and thick deli meat and even tough vegetables like carrots. If I cut my daughter’s carrots and cucumber slices into flower shapes she’ll eat twice as many whether it be in her lunchbox or at home. In fact, the other night I had put some cut cucumber on her plate while we got the rest of dinner ready and she at two helpings of the cucumbers before we got the rest of the food out! Here’s an article I wrote which includes the technique and where to buy the cutters.

Shopping Links:

  • Amazon – ever growing selection of bento boxes and supplies. Also a good place to get insulated containers (Foggo), lunchbags and other lunch making supplies.
  • From Japan with Love – very cute bento supplies
  • Japanistic – cute bento supplies and other Japanese products
  • J-list – nice bento box selection (just note the site also carries more adult oriented Japanese products)
  • Daiso – bento boxes and supplies
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