Most of you are at least one week—four for us!—into the new school year. With all of the excitement comes even more fun for some, and for the rest–the dread of packing school lunch. My husband says he doesn’t mind packing lunches. Sometimes I enjoy packing Scarlet’s lunch. And sometimes I wish she would eat the hot school lunch offered. Every year I search high and low for the newest (and nutritious) lunch products that help make life easier, while serving up a lunch that kids will actually want to eat!
New Grab-and-Go Foods for the Lunch Box
Applegate HALF TIME lunch kits: Pre-packaged lunches get a makeover in these HALF TIME lunch kits. I’ve even bought a few to have on hand for the days I’m playing single mom when my husband is traveling. (Can you say, ‘pass out on the couch from sheer exhaustion by the end of the night’?) Varieties include Turkey & Cheese and Ham & Cheese, made with Applegate Naturals meats, American cheese, Stonyfield YoKids Squeezers, and Annie’s Homegrown crackers. They also contain either Annie’s Organic Bunny Graham Friends or Annie’s Organic Berry Patch Fruit Snacks. Toss in your kid’s favorite fruit or vegetable and they’ll be good to go. Available nationwide at fine food retailers such as Target and Safeway. ($4.99)
Naturipe Washed and Ready-to-Eat Snacks: Fresh, washed and ready-to-eat juicy blueberries? Sign me up! My Naturipe friends sent me these life-saving, first-of-its-kind blueberry packs to try out on my family. They are so easy and so convenient. Just grab a pack from the fridge, tear it open and dig in. Pop them into lunch boxes in a second or serve them up for ravenous little mouths after school. Each pack delivers vitamin C, fiber, and beneficial antioxidants called anthocyanins, which contribute to the berry’s blue color. And all for just 20 calories per pack. These packs for pint-size learners are available nationally at Walmart and Safeway, among other food retailers ($2.99 for the 3-pack, $.99-1.29 for the single pack). This post was sponsored by Naturipe.
Harvest Snaps: These better-for-you baked snacks offer 5 grams protein, 4 grams fiber and are low in sodium and fat. They are also gluten-free. The Snapea Crisps are comprised of 70% peas and Lentil Snaps are comprised of 65% lentils. These are a crunchy, baked alternative to chips.
New Gear to Make Lunch Box Packing Easier
To ensure that everything fits, it’s all about all-in-one lunchbox sets.
Rubbermaid LunchBlox: I love how these containers stack compactly to stay organized. These sets come in a variety of configurations with secure lid seals. The salad set keeps lettuce light and hydrated, nuts crunchy, and salad dressing tightly sealed, all in their own compartments. They are microwave, dishwasher, and freezer safe—yes! And BPA-free. The Blue Ice pack keeps lunches cool for hours. ($9.99-$16.99)
Pack-It: Our family has been enthusiastically using the Pack-It for three years. Just when I thought this cooler bag that keeps food cold for up to 10 hours couldn’t get any better, now it has a zipper closure to keep cold air in. I love how the gel ice packs are built right into the walls of the cooler, and with no gel leakage. You just wipe it to clean, fold it and freeze the entire bag. How cool is that? ($19.99)
What’s New with Tried-and-True Lunch Box Staples
SuperButters: Sunflower seed butter is a staple in our house, since school snacks must be nut-free. Plus, it just plain tastes good. These SuperButters offer a new spin on sunflower seed spread, made with flaxseed and chia seed. Find them on Amazon ($5.99-6.99).
Dick and Jane Educational Snacks: These all-natural, nut-free cookies are wholesome treats, made with whole-grain flour as the first ingredient and good ole’ sugar. One of the coolest parts is that they are imprinted with educational tidbits like numbers, Spanish-English and state capitols. They are also great for classroom treats and parties. Available through Amazon.
Images courtesy of respective food companies.
Disclosure: Naturipe compensated me for my time to write and include them in this post. I received all of the other products as free media samples to test out on my family.
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