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36 AWESOME Lunchbox Hacks for Back To School!

Comments (50)
  1. Lynn Fiedler says:

    I have found a small business called Clean Pack. Their lunch cases are superior to things I’ve seen in the stores. It’s Clean Pack, W4939 Wolf Road, Black Creek, WI. 54106

    You’ll love them

  2. Sommer says:

    These are great ideas! Thank you so much for sharing!

  3. Tionna says:

    These are so great! Thanks so much for sharing, excited to start using some of these this year.

  4. Kris Hahn says:

    My daughter is on the autistic spectrum and incredibly picky. She always takes a thermos for her lunch; we actually have couple that she rotates through (they made great birthday presents!). She likes pasta and meatballs –but not together!! Because her diet is so limited, I try to make the things she does eat a little bit healthier. I buy Wacky Mac, other veggie pastas or high fiber pastas and make a large pot in the beginning of the week. She is 11 and knows how to use the microwave so she can put some in a bowl heat it up and dump it in one of her thermoses. I have a meatball recipe that she loves; and I make 6 lbs of meatballs at a time and freeze them. Whenever I make them for dinner, I make enough that there will some for her lunch for 2 or 3 days that week. I also buy packages of frozen turkey meatballs that we can just pull 2 or 3 out of the bag , heat them in the morning and put them in the thermos. My daughter also puts ketchup on everything; we either use a salad dressing container or extra packages of ketchup that we get when we ask for ketchup at a restaurant. Then she can put it on at lunchtime so it doesn’t make her food cold before then.

  5. Lakesha Piziali says:

    On number 7 you have to use skewers for meat and cheese… the stick pretzels work well!

  6. Marilyn C says:

    Kids don’t use microwaves at school.

  7. Aileen says:

    Pretzel sticks in place of toothpicks or skewers

  8. Kate says:

    Your cheese role-up sounds very similar to my kid sushi. We put down a layer of cream cheeseon the tortilla then add lunch meat, a cheese stick & a layer of crushed Doritos. Rollitup slice it and put it in the lunch box.

  9. Amber says:

    My children’s school allows peanut butter for school lunches and even with snacks as long as no child in the class that year has a peanut allergy and if a child does that just don’t allow peanut butter or nuts in that class. Which makes sense its not going to hurt that child if they don’t eat it just like all the other foods children r allergic to we can’t ban everything every child is allergic to but w the hacks I love them and will definitely use alot of them for I have a very picky eater who packs pretty much everyday.

  10. Mary says:

    What thermos are you using? I’ve tried several kinds. I put boiling water in them and let it sit to heat up. Pour the water out and then put the food in. But my son has said the food isn’t hot enough.

    1. Passion For Savings says:

      I use the actual Thermos brand – and the small short one. If you are also putting an ice pack in that same lunchbag, wrap a small handtowel around the thermos. I think that really helps so the ice pack doesn’t directly touch the outside.

  11. Karen says:

    I am an elementary teacher and so I see lots of ways that parents pack lunches. One of my favorites is a dad who packed his son’s hot dog. He cooked it, put it in the bun, and then wrapped in foil. He then popped the whole thing in a wide mouth thermos. It was warm still at lunch time. I know because I had to open the thermos :) It might be easier than packing two separate parts (hot dog in thermos and then bun in the bag)
    For my own lunch, I highly recommend getting a small personal crockpot called the lunch crock (about 20 bucks at Target or on Amazon) makes having a hot lunch a breeze!
    Thanks for sharing the mac and cheese idea! You are my new personal favorite!

  12. Angela says:

    I love these suggestions! I wish I could save this on my pinterest board so I can come back and reference it! Did I miss the pin button somewhere? :)

    1. Angela says:

      Nevermind! I got it saved! Thank you!

  13. Np says:

    Be careful with freezing water bottles. Not all are designed for this; I’ve lost a few favorite ones doing this because they’ll crack. Check to see if they are freezer safe first

  14. Kat says:

    Your list is great, and I would think most folks could figure out what to replace for PB and still use your hacks. I love all your suggestions!! Thanks for sharing.
    (Our schools just have a nut-free table as well, so PB and nuts are allowed in the rest of the lunchroom).

  15. Alane says:

    When my kids felt that they had “outgrown” having notes from Mom in their lunches, I developed a code that I printed on the inside of their lunch bags so they could see it but nobody else could. ML_VM means Mom Loves (child’s initial) Very Much. They never complained about this and I think they secretly liked it.

  16. Shanon Kerr says:

    Agree about the peanut comments. Absolutely banned here… Even substitutes are banned. Some good ideas but let’s try to reduce the plastic trash and not use plastic utensils or ziplocks.

  17. Katri says:

    Thank you so much for this list! As was stated above, our last three schools were all allowed peanut butter and nuts just in the lunchroom. The harder thing has been to find healthy snacks that don’t contain nuts since they can’t have them in their classroom.

    I have never seen a microwave that the kids are allowed to use. I will have to ask around on that one. My kids love Mac and cheese!

  18. Mindy says:

    Our schools are not nut free. Our kids can take anything they want to eat. My kids live on peanut butter. We live in North Mississippi. Great tips! Thanks for the ideas!

    1. Becky says:

      Agreed! I think we’d starve if the schools banned peanut butter.

  19. Leslie says:

    Yes, our school still allows peanut products in the lunch room only. We have allergy tables & the children that sit there can have a friend join them for lunch everyday. No nut items for snacks though.

  20. Erin says:

    I have a hard time with my ice packs sweating and creating condensation thru the sandwich box, making the sandwich soggy…(even with the ice pack not directly touching the sandwich box). Do you have any suggestions for this? This list is fabulous, thank you!

    1. Stephanie says:

      Create a reusable cloth pouch for your ice pack it would absorb the moisture and keep the rest of the lunch dry.

      1. Decklyn says:

        Clean socks work great too!

  21. Brittany says:

    ALL are Great ideas! Thank you for sharing! My surrounding schools along with my daughter’s, allow peanut butter and nuts. If there is an allergy you have to notify the school. Thankful we don’t have to ban peanuts/peanut butter in our lunches.

  22. Rachel says:

    Thank you so much for this list! We’ve homeschooled up ’til now, so I’m stumped at what to do if one of my kids doesn’t want what’s offered for lunch. They got into a great charter school in our area that has a registered dietician in charge of lunch. She’s so amazing that if a child likes a lunch she will give the recipe to them so they can make it at home. It’s a scratch made cafeteria, how rare is that these days! That being said, I know there will be days when my kids won’t want what’s offered. This takes a lot of stress off of me!

  23. Jessica says:

    These are fantastic ideas! I can’t wait to try them.

  24. Meredith says:

    My kid’s school is nut free for snack time, but not for lunch. They have a food allergy table for children who habe allergies to sit at for lunch. But the cafeteria only serves sunbutter!

  25. Courtney says:

    Love the list. I do lot of this already. Just a couple of quick things to add. (My kids school does allow peanut butter as they have peanut free zones-so I have a trick) 1) slice your apple with apple corer, take core out, put peanut butter in center of Apple then wrap in Saran Wrap, peanut butter keeps it from turning brown, and they can peel a piece off then dip in peanut butter. My kids, even teenagers, love this!
    2) use pretzel sticks for skewers! No need to ask permission and it’s edible!
    Thanks again for the list!

    1. Becky says:

      That’s a great idea with the apple. I’m going to use it, thanks!

  26. Ann says:

    She suggests peanut butter 5 times these hacks are not only for school but can
    be used at home also, for those that don’t go to a peanut free school as well.

  27. Jenny says:

    Great ideas, but are there any schools out there that still allow peanut butter with all the allergies? It’s been banned from my kids’ school for years.

    1. My Kids School does still allow peanut butter but only in the lunchroom and they have Peanut-Free Tables, so I am guessing that every school is different in how they handle that issue.

    2. Becky says:

      I don’t know of any schools that ban peanut butter in the US. I can’t imagine that would work. PBJ sandwiches are so common in our country that they say the average American eats 1,500 before graduating high school.

      1. Kris Hahn says:

        Many preschools and daycares ban it and sometimes elementary schools depending on the severity of the students with peanut allergies. Younger kids can sometimes inadvertently get it on clothing or furniture that other kids could come in contact with, eat something that their peers brought to school, or sometimes smelling it is enough to cause a life-threatening reaction. Most schools figure that by the time the student is in middle school or high school they know enough about their allergy to advocate for themselves.

  28. Laura says:

    While I appreciate any helpful hints at making a busy mom’s life simpler, I am amazed at the number of times this particular list mentions peanut and tree nut products. Due to the number of children with severe anaphylactic reactions to these products, all of the schools that I am aware of in my geographic area have banned these products. This ban even extends to children’s sports clubs, dance schools, etc. Given the life threatening potential of these products, I am amazed that any school with young children would continue to allow these products. Perhaps a more useful list would be 36 creative lunchbox hacks that you would be allowed to send to school with your child.

    1. Angela says:

      It’s easy to sub another product in place of peanut butter. Some allow Sunbutter, a pretty tasty alternative.

    2. Nancy says:

      Perhaps you should just use the ones that are useful to you and allow others to do the same.

    3. Becky says:

      Actually, milk allergies are the most common cause of anaphylactic reactions, not nuts. Besides, peanut protein can’t really go air born in peanut butter because it is such a high percentage of oil. Banning peanut butter doesn’t really do anything.

      Here, peanut butter isn’t banned in schools, although there is a peanut-free table offered for kids who need it. There are no kids with allergies in my son’s class at all, though, so there are no restrictions on snacks for parties or anything. My daughter has gone to little community parties where peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are served. I can’t believe they’d ban such a staple item at all clubs and events in your community like that!

      1. Kim says:

        They do ban it and the typical allergic reaction to peanuts is immediately life threatening. The reason for banning it (or having allergy tables) is because just skin contact of peanut butter from where another child got it on the table is enough to cause an allergic reaction in some children (like my son.)

    4. Kate says:

      SunButter, SoyNut Butter, Apple Butter, Maple Butter…the options are pretty varied! I’m all for protecting the kids with allergies, but our kids’ school allows peanuts in the cafeteria only (not in classrooms). BUT if they DID ban PB, I would use SunButter or SoyNut Butter. It’s pretty simple.

    5. Tori says:

      Not here. Kids with nut allergies sit at the ends of the tables. Use the ones that are appropriate for you and just scroll on past the others!

  29. Allison says:

    There are schools out there that are NOT nut free? Sign me up!

  30. Daniele says:

    Brilliant! Thanks for sharing!

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