It’s back to school season. Back to school means different things for many of us this year in the face of COVID-19. Some students will be returning to physical schools, however, and for those families, it’s time to stock up on new gear. Don’t forget about school lunch as you create your shopping lists. Whether your family has decided between school lunch or lunch from home, there will likely be an occasion where your child could use these lunch supplies. Parents have a lot of cool new products to choose from to ensure that their child’s lunch is not only nutritious and safe, but also looks appetizing at lunch time. For this month’s Nutritious Nudge, I created a list of lunch supplies and considerations to help parents with their back-to-school shopping.
Your little luncher will need an insulated lunchbox and/or bag to safely store and transport their packed lunch to school. Have you considered a bento-style box? They have separate compartments that help you pack a balanced meal and keep foods separated. Some manufacturers of these boxes sell insulated bags that their bento box fits in, but you can also just check the dimensions of lunch bags as you shop to make sure it’s big enough to fix the style lunchbox you choose.
Proper hydration is an important habit to instill in children at an early age. Keeping a good water bottle by a kid’s side at school can help with that. A see-through water bottle can show your them how much water is left and might even encourage them to drink more. Just make sure whatever you choose is BPA free. Extra credit if it is leakproof as well!
Think of a cookie cutter, but for fruits and vegetables! These mini shape cutters can make nutritious foods more exciting for kids. You can also use them to form sandwiches, pancakes, waffles, or quesadillas into fun shapes. Choose shapes that appeal to your kids and have them help prep their lunch by using their preferred cuts of the day.
Silicone Baking Cups
These reusable and easy to wash cups come in a variety of colors. They can help you portion and divide foods easily in a packed lunch. They add a pop of color and bring attention to the different foods that form your child’s balanced lunch.
You can personalize your child’s lunch through utensils as well. Pick up a dinosaur set for your amateur paleontologist or cute animal food picks and forks for your animal lover at home. Colorful chop sticks are another option to consider as well. No takeout required!
Besides preventing crunchy foods like salads from getting soggy, cool condiment containers can make a nutritious dressing a whole lot more exciting. Encourage your child to eat more fruits and vegetables by serving a dip in a container of their choosing.
These are less exciting, but one of the most important supplies on this list. Don’t forget to stock up on reusable ice packs. They are available in a variety of colors. Choose a slim version so you have space to fit two in your child’s insulated lunch bag. I usually pack one below and one above my son’s bento box in his lunch bag to keep his food at a safe temperature until lunch time.