Here are 5 tools I have found most helpful in packing lunches that have ample space for the kids’ food, don’t leak, and keep the hot stuff hot and the cold stuff cold:
- Simple time-saving lunch boxes like these from EasyLunchboxes, EverydayJun or PlanetBox.
- Reusable snack and sandwich baggies like these from Lunchskins or SnackTaxi.
- Reusable stainless steel water bottles like these from Kleen Kanteen.
- Reusable ice packs such as these from Kids Konserve.
- Leak-proof thermoses for hot items like this one from Foogo.
You might also find these other posts with ideas for what to pack for lunches helpful:
In our kids’ lunches, we usually pack a main course such as a sandwich, soup or salad, along with a fruit and/or vegetable, cheese and/or yogurt or kefir, water, and a small dessert. We often pack healthy dinner leftovers in the kids’ main lunch compartments, such as this kid-friendly Mango and Black Bean Salad.
Do you have any tips or favorite tools or products to make packing lunches go smoother in your house? Please share a comment below.
Recipe: Mango and Black Bean Salad
A quick & easy rice and bean dish
- 1 cup quick-cooking brown rice (about 2 cups prepared)
- 15 oz. canned black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 – 1 1/2 cups fresh mango, cut into 1/2-inch chunks, or use frozen
- 1/4 sweet yellow onion, such as Vidalia, finely diced (about 1 cup)
- 1/4 cup scallions or chives, green parts only, finely chopped
- 1 lime, juice only, about 2 Tbsp.
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)
- 1/4 tsp. salt, or more to taste
- 6 large Boston or butter lettuce leaves (optional)
- 6 whole wheat tortillas (optional)
- Cook the rice according to the package directions. Remove the rice from the heat. (If you want to serve this salad immediately rather than allowing it to chill for a while, put the rice in the freezer for 5 minutes to cool it.)
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the beans, mango, onions, scallions, lime juice and cilantro (optional). Add the rice, season it with the salt, and toss gently. Chill it for at least 10 minutes (an hour or more is ideal) and up to 24 hours.
- Serve the salad on its own or wrapped in large lettuce leaves, warm tortillas, or both.
- Tip: If you don’t like raw onions, sauté the onions first until they are lightly browned. If you have picky eaters, put some of the beans and rice aside before combining all the ingredients and let them have simple black bean and rice burritos with mango on the side.