Summertime is nearly over, and that means school is just around the corner! As the new academic year dawns, it's time to gear up for the exciting journey of learning and growth. As parents, one of the most crucial aspects of preparing your children for the school day is ensuring they have a nutritious and satisfying lunch to fuel their active minds and bodies. The list can seem endless, from new backpacks and clothes to school supplies and lunch boxes.
Once school starts, you'll also get back into the routine of prepping and packing school lunches daily to provide your children with healthy, nourishing meals. This checklist embodies the values of health, convenience and sustainability. With the right cookware tools and items, you can pack your kids' lunches in a breeze and prevent food or liquids from spilling everywhere!
What to Include on Your Back-to-School Lunch Checklist
As you prepare to send your scholars on their educational journey, you must equip them with the tools for a successful day. Their lunch is one area that often gets overlooked but affects their overall learning experience. To ensure your child's lunchtime is a delightful and nutritious experience, we've compiled a comprehensive checklist of must-haves. From groceries to reusable containers, we've got you covered.
1. Essential Grocery Items
Stock up on wholesome and nutritious grocery items that will fuel your child's active mind and body throughout the day. Choose a balanced mix of fresh fruits, crunchy vegetables, protein-rich snacks and whole-grain goodies. Incorporate an assortment of options to keep their taste buds excited and engaged.
Here are some essential items kids of all ages will love adding to your list — you can substitute any of these items for your children's preferences or allergies:
- Deli meat
- Pepperoni slices
- Hardboiled eggs
- Cherry tomatoes
- Bell peppers
- Dark chocolate chips
- Sandwich bread
- Condiments for sandwiches — mayo, mustard, etc.
- Assortment of nuts — cashews, almonds, walnuts, (if allowed)
2. Insulated Lunchboxes
When you send your child off to school, an insulated lunchbox is a reliable and practical solution to keep food at the right temperature until it's time to eat. Of course, you'll need your child's opinion on the color and design they'd like best!
Here are some tips for choosing an insulated lunchbox:
- Size: Consider the size and capacity of the lunchbox, ensuring it can accommodate the portion sizes needed for the intended meals.
- Insulation: Check the insulation rating and the claimed duration the lunchbox can retain temperatures. Check reviews or product descriptions to gauge real-world performance.
- Features: Look for additional features like extra pockets for utensils or napkins, adjustable straps for easy carrying or options that can be folded or collapsed when not in use for added convenience.
3. Thermos Containers
A thermos is ideal to have on hand if you like to make warm, home-cooked meals for your kids' lunches. You can send them to school with pasta, spaghetti and meatballs, soup, homemade chili and so much more. You can even surprise them with a sweet treat by filling their thermos with delicious hot chocolate during the winter!
Some features of thermos containers to look out for include the following:
- Double-Walled insulation: Thermos containers, typically stainless steel, are constructed with double walls. The space between the two layers is a vacuum, which minimizes heat transfer by conduction and convection. This vacuum insulation creates a highly effective barrier that prevents heat from escaping or entering the container.
- Heat retention: A thermos container's primary purpose is to retain its contents' temperature. When you pour hot liquids or place hot food into the thermos, the heat is trapped inside, preventing it from cooling quickly. Similarly, when you pour cold liquids or add chilled food, the thermos helps maintain the low temperature for an extended period.
- Leak-proof and spill-resistant: Many modern thermos containers are designed with leak-proof and spill-resistant features. This ensures you can safely transport soups, stews, beverages or other liquids without worrying about accidental spills or leaks in your bag.
4. Reusable Water Bottles
Getting a reusable water bottle is a fun way to reduce plastic waste and allow your child to pick out a fun new item for school. They are eco-friendly and sustainable alternatives to single-use plastic water bottles and can be refilled and reused multiple times, helping reduce plastic waste and its negative environmental impact. If you have several children in school, picking out a unique water bottle makes it easier to know which one belongs to them.
5. Reusable Ice Packs
On the topic of reducing waste, reusable ice packs are a convenient and simple way to keep your child's beverage or fruit plate cold. They are an eco-friendly alternative to single-use ice packs or traditional ice cubes, which can be wasteful and messy. If you don't have an ice maker at home, these ice packs mean you don't have to keep buying bags of ice at the store or filling freezer trays.
6. Convenient Kitchen Tools
Most of the work for packing school lunches occurs during the prep. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, cutting up fruit and adding in snacks for a well-rounded meal can be time-consuming. You can make this process easier by getting some kitchen tools that help you slice and cut ingredients in seconds!
For instance, you might get an apple core cutter that makes perfect slices instantly or a mandolin that can perfectly cut your cucumbers and carrots into bite-sized pieces. If you're someone who likes to make cute shapes out of food for your child to enjoy, there are tools for that too!
Though most common packed lunches are filled with finger foods like fruit and cheese or sandwiches, sometimes you might make a hearty meal that requires utensils. Getting smaller, compact utensils that can fit nicely in your child's lunchbox can help you save space when packing instead of trying to fit regular silverware.
8. Silicone Food Storage Containers
Have you ever made a delicious home-cooked meal for your child and been devastated when you find out their food leaked out into their lunchbox? This means all your hard work was wasted, and your child had to buy lunch or share with their friends. To prevent this type of accident from happening — and to keep your food as fresh as possible — it's important to add some sustainable silicone food storage containers to your list.
These eco-friendly containers surpass typical plastic storage lids that warp over time or fit poorly and make your food stale.
Be Prepared for Back-to-School With Kitchen Storage Products From Xtrema
At Xtreme, we understand the significance of providing nourishing, healthy meals for your family, especially when packing lunches for your little ones. We believe in empowering parents like you to make thoughtful choices for your children's nutrition and well-being. By choosing to pack lunches from home, you save money in the long run and gain valuable control over what your child consumes during school hours.
With our reusable and eco-friendly food storage containers, you can quickly and easily pack a wide variety of meals that are sure to bring a smile to your child's face, from pasta to sandwiches to yogurt and everything in between. Browse our food storage containers today or check out our other kitchen essentials.